CRICKET MATTERS National Counties showcase day

NCCA-Logo MasterCallum Taylor will find himself playing against Wales NC just 48 hours after he helped them reach the semi-finals of the National Counties Trophy for the first time in 25 years.  

Taylor took important wickets on his seasonal debut for Wales to help them defeat Herefordshire in Sunday’s quarter-final at Port Talbot but his team-mates will become opponents in today’s 50 overs contest against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Taylor has been included in Glamorgan’s squad for the match, one of nine showcase fixtures between first-class and National Counties that have survived following a number of recent cancellations due to COVID-19 protocols.  

The fixtures will give the National Counties the opportunity to do what it says on the tin – to showcase the wealth of talent immediately below first-class level, which is already evident in the number of National Counties players playing first-class cricket, which is around 25 per cent of players involved in any round of county matches, and for England – nine of the squad for the recent One Day International series against Pakistan were products of the National Counties system.  

Glamorgan are an excellent example of how the pathway system can work. Nine members of the squad they have named to face Wales have been developed through National Counties cricket with Taylor being one of five who have played for Wales plus Joe Cooke (Hertfordshire), Jamie McIlroy (Herefordshire), Billy Root (Suffolk) and James Weighell (Northumberland).

Wales have made two changes to the squad that was named for the Herefordshire quarter-final with Greg Holmes returning and Tomos Jones replacing the unavailable former Glamorgan all-rounder Aneurin Norman.  

Although Sussex do not share a border with any of the 20 National Counties, they have developed a productive relationship with Oxfordshire with whom they have had a formal partnership since 2013.  

Sussex fund coach Alan Duncan, who heads up Oxfordshire’s Emerging Players Programme, an initiative that is now reaping rewards with Harrison Ward and James Coles stepping up from regular National Counties cricket to Sussex’s first team in recent weeks.  

The partnership will be further strengthened on Tuesday when Sussex host Oxfordshire in a Showcase match at Hove.  

Cornwall include debutant Rob Mutch (Callington) in their squad against Somerset at Taunton.  

Former Worcestershire opening batsman Olly Westbury, who made his debut in last week’s National Counties Championship match against Wales, is set to make his one-day debut.  

Somerset’s side includes Lewis Goldsworthy, who played for Cornwall in their National Counties Trophy opener against Dorset.  

Goldsworthy is one of eight players with National Counties experience in the squad with 18-year-old paceman Sonny Baker also a product of Devon’s youth system.  

Herefordshire captain Matt Pardoe will be back on familiar territory when he leads out the side against Worcestershire at New Road.  

Pardoe had three seasons with Worcestershire before moving into sports coaching at Sherborne School in Dorset and becoming a heavy run-scorer for Herefordshire. 

Worcestershire Academy batsman Henry Cullen, who impressed on debut in last week’s National Counties Championship victory over Devon, is also in Herefordshire’s side along with former Worcestershire all-rounder Zain ul Hassan.  

Wiltshire captain Ed Young will face his former county Gloucestershire at Bristol having played four seasons for them until 2013.  

But Wiltshire have lost the services of opening batsman Cameron Steel, a regular in their side this season, who has joined Surrey from Durham.  

Dom Bess, the England and former Devon off-spinner, will captain Yorkshire against Northumberland at Scarborough. 

Showcase Matches  

Tuesday July 20 (11am unless stated)  

Northampton: Northamptonshire v Bedfordshire
Chelmsford: Essex v Cambridgeshire (2pm)
Taunton: Somerset v Cornwall
Sedbergh School: Lancashire v Cumbria
Scarborough: Yorkshire v Northumberland
Hove: Sussex v Oxfordshire
Bristol: Gloucestershire v Wiltshire
Cardiff: Glamorgan v Wales NC behind closed doors 

Thursday July 22 (11am) 

Worcester: Worcestershire v Herefordshire 

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