Championship Preview as Wales draw Hereford in One Day Trophy QF


Wales will play Herefordshire in the NCCA One Day Cup Quarter Final on Sunday 18th July, after other results in Group 4 yesterday (Berkshire beating Buckinghamshire) meant Wales finished top of the group. 

The NCCA draw means Wales will be at home, with Port Talbot Cricket Club playing host. It will be the first time the South Wales Premier League club has hosted National Counties cricket since its inception in 1963. 

Before that though, Wales must first focus their attention on their championship campaign starting with Cornwall, who visit Pontarddulais on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. 

Back in 2019 the NCCA announced changes to the structure of the 3-day format, moving away from the traditional Eastern and Western divisions and instead adopting a Division One and Division Two approach to match the best performing red ball National Counties against each other more often. By finishing in the bottom five of the Western Division in 2019 (2020 championship cricket did not take place due to COVID-19), Wales find themselves in the new Division Two and will be looking to challenge for an immediate promotion to the top tier. 

With Cornwall, Shropshire, Devon and Herefordshire as their opponents this season, Head Coach Darren Thomas and skipper Sam Pearce will be eager to improve upon Wales' red ball record which has flattered to deceive since the mid 1990's. A 2nd placed finish in 1997 and 2013 remain the highlights, with normal service being between a 6th and 10th finish in the old Division of 10 - a 3rd place in 2004 being a pleasant exception to the rule. 

Given the excellent performances of the team thus far this year, it seems there is very much cause for optimism. Skipper Pearce has enjoyed his first Glamorgan CCC call up, featuring in three T20 Blast games over the last week, as well as being named in the Championship squad this week. Glamorgan Academy off spinner Tegid Phillips has also been named in multiple Blast squads this season. St Fagans skipper Andrew Gorvin has proved to be an invaluable member of Glamorgan's 2nd XI across all formats (as has the unavailable Steve Reingold), and Cardiff CC captain Greg Holmes' return to National Counties cricket has been pivotal. Aneurin Norman remains the experienced veteran and is set to make his 43rd championship appearance - Norman is just four wickets away from reaching 100 championship wickets and sits third on Wales' all time wickets list. 

All too often though, it has been Wales' batting that has suffered in recent years, but with the experience of Connor Brown, Oskar Kolk and Cameron Herring in the middle order alongside Holmes, there appears to be a welcome degree of stability. There is a place in the 15 man squad for academy and Cardiff UCCE batter Morgan Bevans, who has also featured heavily for Glamorgan 2nd XI this season, as well as Umar Malik whose form has produced two league hundreds this season. 

Tomos Jones deservedly finds himself in the squad after unluckily not breaking into the side this season thus far. Jones, alongside left arm compatriot Alex have been causing havoc for Bridgend Town this season taking 18 and 20 wickets respectively. There are squad inclusions for youngster Ben Kellaway - who impressed on debut in 2019 against Dorset with 60 - and Callum Nicholls. 

Wales are waiting to see who out of the 15 will be required for Glamorgan duty.

Cornwall will look to the likes of former Essex and Derbyshire staffer Greg Smith to kick off their campaign on a positive note. Smith amassed just shy of 9,500 runs across all formats in professional cricket in 318 appearances. He has 298 wickets to boot as well. 

Play starts at 11am each day at Pontarddulais with spectators welcome. Admittance to every day is FREE. 

Wales Squad vs Cornwall from: SJ Pearce*, TL Jones (both Bridgend), U Malik, GC Holmes, TD Phillips (all Cardiff), MJ Bevans (Newport), CR Brown, OMD Kolk (both Lansdown), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), AW Gorvin, TR Bevan, CR Nicholls (all St Fagans), AJ Norman (Mumbles), RD Edwards (Port Talbot), B Kellaway (Chepstow).


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