Wales name young squad to kick off NCCA T20 campaign


Wales NC have named their first squad ahead of the opening round of NCCA T20 group stage games on Sunday 28th April. Herefordshire are the visitors to Ceredigion as Llandysul host their second game of national counties cricket after their first outing in 2022.

2023 wasn’t a fortunate one in the format for Wales who largely played second fiddle to the weather before finishing 2nd in their group behind Berkshire. With the competition having undergone a revamp – there are now five groups of four as opposed to four groups of five – the opportunity to progress out of the group appears more attainable for all teams with the top two and a few best placed thirds reaching a Super 12 stage before reaching the coveted finals day.

Player/Head Coach Brad Wadlan – taking charge of his first T20 campaign for Wales having been red ball coach last year – has not been afraid to back youth naming four potential debutants in the matchday squad. 19 year old Ollie Rayner, fresh from a move to Usk from local club Chepstow impressed during the team’s pre-season tour to La Manga as does Cardiff MCCU and former Hampshire academy all-rounder Jude Wright. There is a place in the side for 23 year old Adam Sylvester who has recently returned to playing club cricket in South Wales. The Sylvester name is not an unfamiliar one in Wales NC history with father Ryan and Uncle both featuring on the honours boards – Jamie (1992-2002) remains the highest run scorer in Wales NC championship history with over 3000 runs and a mere 72 wickets (joint 6th) to his tally. A South Walian at heart, Adam made his first class debut against Glamorgan in Cardiff in 2022 and remains on the hunt for a career in the game. Teammate and fellow pacer Asim Hameed makes the squad but is not expected to feature in this round of matches.

Wales will be delighted to welcome back Glamorgan compatriots Henry Hurle and Prem Sissodiya who both have healthy availability across the competition. Hurle (who featured against Oxfordshire last season) signed his first rookie contract over the winter with the Welsh county whilst left arm spinner Sissodiya is no stranger to donning the dragon having turned out in 2021 and 2022. A swashbuckling double hundred in the South Wales Premier League last season will serve as a stark reminder of his power hitting capabilities in the lower order.

CAPTION: Eyes will be Glamorgan and England U19 keeper/batter Henry Hurle who looks set to feature across the NCCA T20 campaign. Credit: CIAC Images.

Supplementing the youth of the squad will be the Swansea duo of Wadlan and Steff Roberts whilst there is room for the eye catching Milo Ayres at the top of the order and North Walian and St Asaph captain Will Ryan in the middle. Both make NCCA T20 debuts but featured during other formats in 2023. Skipper Sam Pearce – fresh from an outstanding season down under in Victoria for Kew Cricket Club – returns to lead the team in this format. 2024 will be his sixth season at the helm in at least one format. Unavailable for the initial start to the season is Harry Friend and left arm pacer Joseph Davies – son of former Glamorgan seamer Andrew – due to academic studies.

Herefordshire are a new addition to Wales’ group this year having finished 3rd in their respective group last season. Whilst their squad is yet to be confirmed pending a set of warm up games against Buckinghamshire yesterday they look set to rely on the experienced Matt Pardoe and Nick Hammond in the middle order with James Rudge leading the bowling attack.

CAPTION:  Captain Sam Pearce, fresh from a stellar winter down under, will have an important role to play with ball and bat during the competition. Credit: CIAC Images.

For Wales and Wadlan the new season marks a fresh start. He commented:

“We’re really excited to get going in Llandysul. It’s been a long winter planning and preparing so now it’s time to put performances out in in the middle. Herefordshire are always a well organised side so I’m expecting two tough games to start the campaign. With that said, I feel we have a very balanced side and the lads are hungry to do well. Having Prem available for all six games will no doubt add to us. His experience in the T20 Blast will be valuable and with Henry Hurle available too gives us some real firepower up top.

We have a number of exciting players in the side so it’s over to them to go and put in some match winning performances.”

 Game 1 commences at 11am with Game 2 at 2.30pm. Admission to Llandysul is free with the game likely to have live stream capability.

Wales NC from: SH Roberts (Swansea), M Ayres (Bedminster), HE Hurle+ (Cardiff), WL Ryan (St Asaph), BL Wadlan (Swansea), JA Wright (St Fagans), OB Rayner (Usk), SJ Pearce* (Lansdown), P Sissodiya (Cardiff), AR Sylvester (Swansea), JA Davies (Bridgend), JC Harding (Taunton St Andrews), A Hameed (Swansea).

Herefordshire CCC (expected squad) from: BJ Chapman Lilley, JS Johal, OJ Walker, MG Pardoe*, NA Hammond, D Khan, LJ Powell+, JW Rudge, CS Williams, J Holling, ADJ Hines, RBS Venkataraman         


**BEHIND THE DRAGON - Wales NC will be releasing their own Netflix style documentary later this summer which provides a deep and authenitc insight into what happens behind the scenes in national counties cricket. You can watch the trailer here: 

**To follow Wales NC on Play Cricket follow: and be sure to follow @WalesNCounty on X for updates!


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