Greg Smith is set to make his Wales debut on Sunday against Oxfordshire, as Wales make three changes to the squad that came away from Bangor honours even against Bedfordshire. The former Derbyshire and Essex all-rounder joined Wales as assistant player/coach in the off season and will be eager to help the side improve upon a solid, yet unspectacular start to the NCCA T20 competition.
With only one team progressing from a group of five, teams that manage to string back to back victories on the same day inevitably put themselves in the box seat from the off. That's exactly what Oxfordshire did to Berkshire last week at Falkland with Sussex youngster Harrison Ward smashing 74* and 130 to create a gap at the top of NCCA Group 4 already. Whilst there is much to play for, with three rounds of double headers still to come, Wales can ill afford to allow Oxfordshire to repeat the 2-0 score line if they have aspirations to progress beyond the group for the first time.
CAPTION: Honours even at Bangor CC in North Wales last weekend against Bedfordshire.
Wales will be heartened by a number of individual performances from last weekend, most notably from Glamorgan spinner Prem Sisodiya who collected 4-37 across both games and proved difficult to get away with his control. Sam Pearce (4-41 across both games), Kieran Bull (2-16) and Richard Edwards (5-37 across both games) all chipped in with vital assistance whilst Connor Brown and Lorenzo Machado both looked in good touch with the bat. Head Coach Darren Thomas will be hoping the firepower of Tom Bevan, Steve Reingold and skipper Pearce can hit their straps and cause Oxfordshire's bowlers some headaches.
Reflecting on last week Thomas commented, "we're disappointed with 1-1 if we're being honest. That probably says a lot about the standards we as a group set ourselves. We were good in patches but you can't afford to give the opposition a sniff - we did, and Bedfordshire took advantage of that. We're still very much in the hunt, but Oxfordshire have just shown how dangerous a side they are meaning we will need to be at our best to come away with two results."
CAPTION: Glamorgan Academy seamer Ben Morris could make his NCCA T20 debut this weekend.
Glamorgan duo Lukas Carey - who almost rescued a win for Wales in the first game last week with a brisk 24 off 9 balls - and Andy Gorvin are unavailable with professional duties in the 2nd XI which opens up slots for veteran seamer Aneurin Norman and young pacer Ben Morris. 31 year old Norman is among the leading appearance makers for Wales across all formats in recent history and evidenced his value to the side in the pre-season fixture against Herefordshire a fortnight ago, whilst 18 year old Morris marked his Wales NC debut last year with five wickets in the three day competition. Morris featured in the one day cup semi final against Berkshire last year and is likely to make his national counties T20 debut as part of the travelling 12.
Game 1 at Wormsley (the home Sir Paul Getty's picturesque estate in High Wycombe) commences from 11am on Sunday.
Wales NC squad from: SJ Reingold (Stanmore), CR Brown (Lansdown), L Machado (Neath), GM Smith (Penzance), TR Bevan (St Fagans), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), SJ Pearce (Bridgend/Warminster), RD Edwards (Neath), KA Bull (Potterne), AJ Norman (Mumbles), P Sisodiya (Cardiff), BJ Morris (Abergavenny).