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National Counties Trophy preview - Week 5

25 Jun 2022
National Counties Trophy preview - Week 5

Fifteen sides will be battling for seven places in the National Counties Trophy quarter-finals in the final round of group matches on Sunday. 

Only Cambridgeshire, who sit out the final round, have already qualified for the knockout stages of the 50 overs competition leaving plenty of issues to be resolved elsewhere. 

Groups Two and Four are the most intriguing with all five counties in each still holding a mathematical chance of reaching the last eight. Those include Bedfordshire (Group Two) and Wiltshire (Group Four) who will be monitoring events from afar as they have already completed their group programme. 

Matters are more straightforward in Group One, where the winners of the Cumbria v Northumberland match at Keswick will secure a quarter-final place, and in Group Three where Cheshire face Suffolk at Didsbury in a straight shoot-out to decide who will finish second to Cambridgeshire. 

Suffolk will field a much-changed side as opening batter Nick Browne, who made a half century in each of their two completed games, is required for LV County Championship duty by Essex this weekend and Essex batter Josh Rymell and Northamptonshire left-arm spinner Freddie Heldreich have been recalled by their senior counties. 

Darren Ironside and Jacob Marston are injured and Tristan Blackledge, Dominic Manthorpe and Alex Quinn are unavailable. 

Opening batter Josh Frame, a product of Suffolk’s youth system, will make his senior county debut, and Paddy Sadler his first appearance in three years. Alex Oxley and Darren Batch have also been recalled with Adam Mansfield deputising for Marston behind the stumps for his first appearance of the season having become Suffolk’s white ball coach. 

Cheshire give a debut to Bowdon seamer Rob Lord and there will be a first appearance of the season for batter Tim Hughes on his home ground. 

Cumbria are missing the unavailable Gary Pratt, who made a century in each of their previous two matches, so JJ Fielding, who has been playing regularly for Lancashire’s Second XI, deputises. 

Nathan Waterston replaces James McGown in Cumbria’s other change. 

Northumberland welcome back seamer Matty Scott who made his debut for Nottinghamshire Second XI this week against a Lancashire side that included Fielding. 

Captain Matt Brown returns to the side for his first Trophy appearance of the season. 

Group One leaders Oxfordshire take on Lincolnshire at Aston Rowant where Oxford off-spinner Eliot Matthews could make his debut. 

Oxfordshire also have Gloucestershire left-arm seamer Luke Charlesworth available this weekend. 

Lincolnshire, who cannot progress to the quarter-finals, welcome back Joe Kendall, Jordan Cook and Mason Hildrith. 

Holders Berkshire complete their Group Two programme with a trip to North Mymms to face Hertfordshire seeking the win that would secure a quarter-final place. 

Berkshire have named the side that defeated Bedfordshire last week and have included wicketkeeper/batter Ben Moffat, a product of their youth system, in the squad. 

Hertfordshire welcome back former Essex batsman Kishen Velani back as they also attempt to make the last eight. To do so they will need to beat Berkshire and hope that Devon do them a favour by beating Cornwall at Sidmouth. 

Devon need to win to have any hope of progressing themselves and have captain Jamie Stephens and Somerset seamer Ned Leonard back in their squad. 

A win for Cornwall would guarantee them a place in the quarter-finals. 

In Group Four, three counties have four points and two of them – Dorset and Wales NC – meet at Wimborne in a match that will determine who tops the group and has a home tie in the quarter-finals. 

Dorset include former Somerset staffer Sam Young and left-arm seamer Brad Currie while Wales have Tom Bevan, fresh from two centuries for Glamorgan Second XI, available. 

Seamer Jason Foulkes, who took six wickets for St Asaph in a National Club Championship match against Nantwich last Sunday, also returns along with Glamorgan staffman Steve Reingold. 

But pace bowler Ben Morris and off-spinner Tegid Phillips miss out as they are required for Second XI Championship duty by Glamorgan. 

Calculators are likely to be required at Gerrards Cross where Buckinghamshire host Staffordshire and the winners need to boost their net run rate sufficiently to overtake Wiltshire. 

Buckinghamshire have stiffened their batting line-up by recalling High Wycombe opener Elliot Callis in place of leg-spinner Stephen Croft in the one change to the side beaten by Dorset two weeks ago. 

Staffordshire have made five changes to the side that was trounced by Dorset last week with Moddershall & Oulton all-rounder Dan Richardson back in the county ranks for the first time in three years. 

Former Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire batsman Riki Wessels, who was unavailable last week, adds further experience along with James Cox, Toby Bulcock and Paul Byrne. 

Norfolk’s match against Shropshire at Manor Park will decide who finishes bottom of Group Three. 

Norfolk  have Nottinghamshire all-rounder Sam King available and include Ethan Metcalf for his seasonal debut having played one National Counties Championship match last season. 


National Counties Trophy 

Sunday June 26 (11am) 

Group One 

Keswick: Cumbria v Northumberland, Aston Rowant: Oxfordshire v Lincolnshire. 

Group Two 

Sidmouth: Devon v Cornwall, North Mymms: Hertfordshire v Berkshire. 

Group Three 

Manor Park: Norfolk v Shropshire, Didsbury: Cheshire v Suffolk. 

Group Four 

Gerrards Cross: Buckinghamshire v Staffordshire, Wimborne: Dorset v Wales NC.

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