It's almost 'lights out and away we go' for the start of the NCCA T20 competition which gets underway in earnest on Easter Sunday, with Wales hosting Bedfordshire at Bangor.
Wales have named a 12 man squad for the trip to North Wales which includes three Glamorgan staffers in Lukas Carey, Andy Gorvin and Prem Sisodiya. 24 year-old seamer Carey made just the solitary appearance for Wales last year but delivered the hammer blow to his current employers as he took 3-39 and clubbed an unbeaten 29 during a tense, two wicket win in the NCCA 50 over showcase game. Prior to that Carey's last appearance was in 2016 against Devon on his home ground of Pontarddulais.
Seamer Gorvin will make his first appearance for Wales as a professional cricketer, having been rewarded for an excellent national counties and 2nd XI campaign last year. The St Fagans all rounder was a key figure in Wales 50 over white ball success last year. 23 year old Sisodiya is no stranger to T20 cricket having opened the bowling for Glamorgan over the last two years in the T20 Blast. The left arm spinner from Cardiff has collected 18 wickets for Glamorgan in T20 cricket with an impressive economy rate of 7.44.
Former Glamorgan professionals Connor Brown and Kieran Bull make the 12 having impressed in the pre-season games against Cardiff UCCE and Herefordshire last weekend, whilst Steve Reingold and Tom Bevan complete the batting all rounders in addition to skipper Sam Pearce. Pearce, who also made a handful of T20 Blast appearances in 2021, issued onlookers a fresh reminder of his abilities against Herefordshire with a belligerent assault of 55 not out 26 balls after Wales had slumped to 60-6 in a stand worth 78 with Greg Holmes.
Reliable seamer Richard Edwards - who collected 10 wickets in 4 games last weekend - leads the bowling attack with Carey and Gorvin. There is also a place in the final 12 for newly registered Lorenzo Machado who made his competitive debut over the pre-season weekend. Newly signed Greg Smith, Sam Jardine, Tomos Jones, James Brehaut are among those to miss out, whilst Aneurin Norman and the academy duo of Ben Morris and Ben Kellaway are unavailable.
Whilst selection has provided several headaches, Head Coach Darren Thomas believes the team are in good shape. He said:
"We're ready to go. We had a really productive weekend against Cardiff UCCE and Herefordshire and it was a good opportunity for us to sharpen up one or two aspects of our game for Sunday. We know Bedfordshire have some capable players but we feel that we can compete with the best teams in this competition if we can hit the heights we've seen over the last year. We've got a good blend of youth, experience and quality in the 12, but also across the wider squad and it's just a case delivering when it matters."
Bedfordshire have yet to name their squad for the trip to Bangor, but are sure to feature the likes of Matt Coles, George Thurstance, James Kettleborough and Tom Brett who remain key performers heading into the season.
CAPTION: Head Coach Darren Thomas is quietly confident Wales can give any team a run for their money in 2022.
Game 1 commences from 11am with Game 2 starting at 2.30pm.
Wales squad from: TR Bevan (St Fagans), SJ Reingold (Stanmore), CL Brown (Lansdown), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), GC Holmes (Cardiff), SJ Pearce* (Bridgend), AW Gorvin (St Fagans), LJ Carey (Pontarddulais), RD Edwards (Neath), KA Bull (Potterne), P Sisodiya (Cardiff), L Machado (Neath).