It's a big weekend for Wales this Sunday, as they head into the penultimate round of the NCCA T20 group stage with plenty of work to do to keep their aspirations of reaching a first finals day alive.
Both Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire have managed to do what Wales have not so far during the campaign, which is to win both games across a day (against Buckinghamshire and Berkshire respectively) which leaves both teams sitting on 6 points with Wales close on their heels on 4 with two rounds of fixtures remaining. With Beds and Oxon facing off against each other on bank holiday Monday (after Oxfordshire play Bucks on Sunday), Wales will be hoping points are dropped by both sides as the Group 4 table begins to take shape after this week one way or the other.
First and foremost though, Wales have it all to do themselves against Berkshire - their first match up since the One Day Trophy semi final last year which saw Berkshire triumph by 62 runs at Port Talbot. Berkshire, without the retired Chris Peploe and Richard Morris haven't started the T20 as planned with a 0-2 loss to Oxfordshire in the first round of games - they do however, remain the most competitive team in national counties cricket and given their track record of success over the last ten years will be determined the get their campaign back on track. Former Middlesex batter Dan Lincoln reminded everyone just how dangerous he can be with a 45 ball 90 against Oxfordshire whilst season all rounder Andy Rishton remains highly capable with bat and ball.
CAPTION: Wales will looking to avenge their one day cup semi final defeat last August.
Wales showed signs of what they're capable of last week at Sir Paul Getty's Wormsley Estate with a resounding 8 wicket win against Oxfordshire in Game 2, led by belligerent 64 from Tom Bevan. Consistency with the bat across the day was the issue for the second week in a row as they succumbed to 98 all out in reply to Oxfordshire's 132-7 in Game 1. Despite that, the efforts from the bowling group in the competition up to this point has been nothing short of excellent with Prem Sisodiya, Richard Edwards, Sam Pearce, Kieran Bull and Ben Morris all playing key roles in not allowing a score higher than 133 so far. Glamorgan staffer Sisodiya is unavailable this week having been called into the first team squad for the County Championship trip to Derbyshire which paves the way for Callum Taylor to return to the Wales line up on his home ground. Taylor has played the first three championship games for Glamorgan this season but makes a first appearance of the season for Wales since the one day trophy quarter final last year against Herefordshire.
There is also a first time appearance for all rounder Dan Douthwaite. The 25 year old, former Cardiff UCCE student, received a late call-up to Manchester Originals in The Hundred last year in the absence of Jamie Overton and has already made 29 T20 Blast appearances for Glamorgan since he signed his first professional contract in 2019. Assistant player-coach Greg Smith keeps his place in the matchday squad after making his debut at Wormsley last week as does Aneurin Norman.
Game 1 gets underway at Newport from 11am, with Game 2 commencing at 2.30pm. Spectators are welcomed and admittance to the ground is free.
Wales squad from: TR Bevan (St Fagans), SJ Reingold (Stanmore), CR Brown (Lansdown), CZ Taylor (Newport), L Machado (Neath), GM Smith (Penzance), DA Douthwaite (Swansea), SJ Pearce (Bridgend/Warminster), RD Edwards (Neath), KA Bull (Potterne), BJ Morris (Abergavenny), CL Herring (Pontarddulais), AJ Norman (Mumbles).
CAPTION: Callum Taylor (right) looks on with Connor Brown during last year's one day cup quarter final.