The 2022 season will welcome a new team in North Wales formed between Wales National County and the North Wales Cricket League to be known as Wales National County (North).
Despite the encouraging development of the national county side under Cricket Wales stewardship last year, the number of North Walian players that have represented Wales at senior level over recent years has been few and far between. Ben Roberts (2016-2018), former Glamorgan seamer Dewi Penrhyn Jones (2012-2015) and current Glamorgan captain David Lloyd (2010-2014) are the three most notable names over the last decade with sporadic appearances from the likes of Joshua Andrady (2019), James Claybrook (2012), and current Leicestershire seamer Roman Walker (2018).
It is no secret that the geography of Wales poses greater challenges than most other national, and first-class counties put together – none greater perhaps for the selection committee than gauging the standard of players between those in the North Wales league compared to those in South, West and East leagues. Currently, the long standing and prestigious Welsh Cup represents the best opportunity for clubs from around Wales to face off against each other.
Proposals and ongoing dialogue to bring a representative side in-house have been bubbling underneath the surface since the end of last season, after Russell Penrhyn-Jones (father of Dewi) assembled a group of players to play in a number of games against neighbouring counties – Staffordshire 2nd XI among them which culminated in a close two wicket win at St Asaph.
The team will now form a formal part of the national pathway, with it being administered by Cricket Wales through the national county with the close support of the North Wales League and Penrhyn-Jones himself. The main aim of the side is to to provide a layer of competitive cricket between club cricket and national counties cricket in the region, and in turn preparing players for the demands that national counties cricket encompasses.
CAPTION: The North Wales side that played Staffordshire last year, who will now be known as Wales National County (North).
A full fixture list can be found below which includes games against Cumbria, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Northumberland and Shropshire in a six team tournament, whilst it is hoped the side can welcome Munster in a two day game in late June – details are still to be confirmed.
The team will be sponsored by Watkin Property Ventures (WPV) and 360 Groundcare for the 2022 and 2023 seasons and their support has gone a considerable way to ensuring the forming of the side.
Based in Bangor WPV is a private, family run business who have been active in the construction, development, investment and finance industry for more than two centuries. They provide development finance and loans to new and established property businesses, allowing them to fund residential and commercial development in addition to identifying and acquiring sites, selling them to other investors and occupiers. As a business they have a proud record of supporting a plethora of charitable projects and initiatives within the local communities where they work.
To find out more on Watkin Property Ventures click here.
360 Groundcare are providers of Turf, Ground and Vegetation Management covering North Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. They specialise in remedial and reinstatement works, providing organic and sustainable solutions; bringing together aesthetic with ecology. Their works include the management and renovation of sports pitches for a wide range of professional and amateur sporting facilities, including educational institutions; remedial and reinstatement works for wedding Venues and Country Estates; site preparation following completion of property development projects; vegetation management for local authorities and Public Highways and much more.
To find out more on 360 Groundcare click here.
Commenting on the forming of the side, Head of Talent Pathway for Cricket Wales said: “this is fantastic step in the right direction for cricket in North Wales. Not only will it be something for players in the area to aspire towards, but it will give them the best shop window possible to stake a claim for future selection for the full national county side. There is nothing better than representing your country at any level and this gives players the best opportunity to do that. Our thanks must go to Russell in the first instance for leading the way on this, to the North Wales League for their support and most importantly to our sponsors, without whom this would not be initially possible.”
Chairman of the North Wales League Allan Senior also commented: “Cricket in North Wales grows stronger with the formation of this team and everyone involved with cricket in our league in excited about its development.”
IMAGE: The new Wales NC (North) shirts for 2022 season, sponsored by Watkin Property Ventures & 360 Groundcare.
Full Fixture List
1st May: Internal Warm Up Game (St Asaph, 50 overs)
17th May: Cumbria (A - TBC, 50 overs)
25th May: Staffordshire (St Asaph, 50 overs)
8th June: Staffordshire (A - Milford Hall, x2 T20)
21-22nd June: Munster (Bangor, 2 day)
26th July: Cheshire (Colwyn Bay, 50 overs)
2nd August: Northumberland (Bangor, 50 overs)
3rd August: Northumberland (Bangor, x2 T20)
TBC Date: Shropshire (A - Ellesmere College, 50 overs)
29th-30th August: Shropshire (A - Ellesmere College, 2 day)