Friend set to open batting as Wales face Herefordshire

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18 year old Harry Friend has been drafted in to open the batting for Wales in their final championship game of the season against Herefordshire at Eastnor Castle starting on Sunday. The Glamorgan academy batter made his solitary appearance in 2019 against Dorset at North Perrett and experienced a tough start in national counties cricket bagging a pair on debut.

That seems a distant memory however, as the Monmouth School pupil has been in fine form this season, notching up centuries across school and county age group cricket in addition to two fine hundreds for Newport in the South Wales Premier Cricket League. He has featured in Glamorgan's 2nd XI on occasion also.

PHOTO: Harry Friend (Monmouth School, Wales U18s & Glamorgan Academy batter) makes his first appearance of the season.

Wales will be hoping to put the disappointment of Sunday’s One Day Cup semi final behind them and end the season on a high. Despite an excellent bowling effort with the ball led by Sam Jardine (4-30) and Tegid Phillips (3-39) which restricted Berkshire to just 180 in 40 overs, the spin duo of Luke Beavan and Chris Peploe proved too much for Wales. Only Oskar Kolk (41*) provided any resistance in the middle order after a steady opening stand of 45 between Tom Bevan and Brad Wadlan.

Sunday won’t be an easy encounter however, against a Herefordshire side that are in pole position for promotion to Division 1 of the Western Conference. Wales can count themselves somewhat unfortunate not to be in contention this year as they remain unbeaten in red ball cricket – having enjoyed the better of the first three games against Cornwall, Devon and Shropshire weather has prevented a full game from being completed. It will be the third meeting between the two sides this year, with Wales coming out on top on both games – a pre-season friendly and the NCCA One Day Cup quarter final last month.

Off spinner Tegid Phillips – arguably Wales’ stand out bowler across all formats this year is unavailable with academic studies, whilst Sam Jardine is also unavailable alongside the likes of Andy Gorvin and Steve Reingold who remain on Glamorgan duty. Youngster Ben Morris retains his place in the seam bowling attack after an outstanding five wicket haul on debut in the last match at Abergavenny and Muji Ilyas drops out with Connor Brown returning after missing the Shropshire encounter. Veteran seamer Aneurin Norman has shaken off a muscle strain – he played in Sunday’s semi final – and continues to hunt down 100 championship wickets, which would make him only the third bowlers in Welsh history to achieve such a feat. He remains on 96 to date.

PHOTO: Aneurin Norman can still reach 100 championship wickets this season, requiring another 4 in this game.

Play starts at Eastnor Castle at 11am and attendance is free.

Wales NC vs Herefordshire from: SJ Pearce* (Bridgend), MJ Bevans (Newport), HLA Friend (Newport), Connor Brown (Lansdown), Oskar Kolk (Lansdown), GC Holmes (Cardiff), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), AJ Norman (Mumbles), KA Bull (Potterne), TL Jones (Bridgend), BJ Morris (Abergavenny), 12th man (tbc).

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