Wales head into the NCCA One Day Trophy quarter final on Sunday, looking to secure their first semi-final place in the competition since 1996.
Bedfordshire were the opponents 25 years ago, as Barry Lloyd’s side went down by 95 runs at Lancot Park despite contributions from Andrew Harris (44), Kristian Bell (44), Alex Barr (2-46) and Jamie Sylvester (2-45). Wales have enjoyed five quarter final appearances since then (2004, 2005, 2011, 2013 and 2015) but progressing further than that has proved difficult.
After a strong showing in the group stage which included wins against Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire, Wales welcome Group 2 runners-up Herefordshire to Port Talbot CC – the first time the South Wales Premier League club has hosted national counties cricket.
A big part of the team’s success this year has been consistency of selection, with only 12 players being used thus far. Inevitable changes are afoot for Sunday however with skipper Sam Pearce due to play his fourth T20 Blast game of the season for Glamorgan, after breaking into the side last month and experienced all rounder Greg Holmes is unavailable. St Fagans captain Andrew Gorvin is set to lead the side in Pearce’s absence.
Glamorgan have released off-spinning all rounder Callum Taylor back to the national county team which provides a welcome boost. 23 year old Taylor last played for Wales in 2019 and has since featured prominently across all formats for Glamorgan since he signed his first professional contract later that same year. Academy batter Morgan Bevans, all rounder Muji Ilyas and seamer Tomos Jones will all be in contention to fill the final spot on the match day.
PHOTO | Callum Taylor last payed for Wales NC in the summer of 2019.
Head Coach Darren Thomas is excited, but conscious of not underestimating Herefordshire. He said, “the group are really looking forward to Sunday. We know they have some really dangerous players and have been playing some positive cricket recently. Nothing changes from the statement I made in the group stages about my belief in our group – if we play to our potential we can beat anyone. We have a good balance of players who understand and have played to their roles extremely well so far, so just a case of ensuring that continues. We know Port Talbot will be a very good cricket wicket and with a good forecast in store, we’re hoping to get some good support.”
Gorvin added, "we can't wait. We've played some excellent cricket so far this summer and we want to continue that. It's a blow to lose someone of Sam's calibre, but he deserves to be around the Glamorgan setup and hopefully he continues to do well in that environment. It's great to be able to bring in a top player like Callum, alongside our regular group. I think playing more or less the same 12-13 players has really helped us stick together as a team and will stand us in good stead for the challenges Herefordshire will throw at us."
PHOTO | Skipper Andrew Gorvin will be hoping to continue the team's good form.
Herefordshire are led by former Worcestershire batter Matt Pardoe, and experienced all rounder David Ball. They beat table toppers Devon and Wiltshire in Group 2 to secure their quarter final spot. The winners of Sunday will play the winners of Devon and Berkshire on Sunday 8th August.
Entry to Port Talbot this Sunday is free and spectators are welcome to attend. Play starts from 11am.
Wales NC vs Herefordshire at Port Talbot from: AW Gorvin*, TR Bevan (both St Fagans), SJ Reingold (Neath), CR Brown, OMD Kolk (both Lansdown), CZ Taylor, MM Ilyas, MJ Bevans, (all Newport), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), AJ Norman (Mumbles), TD Phillips (Cardiff), RD Edwards (Port Talbot), TL Jones (Bridgend).