CRICKET MATTERS National Counties team news

NCCA-Logo MasterDevon wicketkeeper/batsman Matt Thompson will find himself in the unusual position of playing against his paymasters in today’s National Counties Championship Western Division Two match against Wales NC at Sandford. 

Although Thompson has played for Devon since 2010 his day job is head of talent pathway for Cricket Wales with a key part of his job being the development of the Wales NC side. 

Thompson has done such a good job that Wales have reached the semi-finals of the National Counties Trophy in 25 years and earlier this week they defeated Glamorgan by three wickets in a Showcase fixture at Sophia Gardens. 

Thompson can be proud of the work he has done with Wales but his job over three days from Sunday will be to stop them winning. 

“Sunday's going to be tough,” Thompson said. “With my work role, I know first-hand just how good the Wales side is and how dangerous we are – and that is clear from the one-day trophy and the performance against Glamorgan this week.” 

Thompson would normally be involved in selecting the Wales team but on this occasion he excused himself from those duties. 

Devon will be without North Devon seamer Jack Popham who suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s Trophy quarter-final against Berkshire. 

Dan Goodey and Matt Golding are also unavailable because of work commitments and slow left-armer Fahad Sabir (groin) and captain Jamie Stephens (knee) are also doubtful. 

Devon have recruited former Glamorgan and Wales seamer Kazi Szymanski who could make his debut against his old county. Syzmanski, who still plays in South Wales for Swansea, has not been able to break into Wales’ squad this season. 

Szymanski’s former Glamorgan team-mate, off-spinner Kieran Bull, will make his first appearance for Wales since 2013. 

Swansea batsman Steffan Roberts has also been included in the squad and will make his Wales debut if he is named in the side. 

Wales are missing Andrew Gorvin and Steve Reingold, whose excellent Trophy form has earned them promotion to Glamorgan’s Royal London One Day Cup squad. 

Greg Holmes, who dislocated a finger against Glamorgan, and batsman Muji Ilyas, are also in Wales’ squad. 

Oxfordshire begin their Western Division One campaign against Cheshire at Banbury where Marcus Campopiano, who has been playing for Sussex Second XI this season, will make his debut. 

Tom Haynes, who has featured in Oxfordshire’s National Counties Trophy side already this season, will have his first taste of three-day cricket for the county. 

James Coles and Harrison Ward are both on Royal London One Day Cup duty with Sussex. 

Cheshire have made four changes to the side involved in the rain-affected draw with Dorset two weeks ago. 

Didsbury all-rounder Steve Green will make his Championship debut with Sam Perry, Chris Sanders and Andy Jackson returning to the side. 

Jake Gordon of Bashley Rydal will make his Championship debut for Dorset against Wiltshire at Wimborne. 

Gordon, who has played Trophy cricket for Dorset this season, replaces Harry Fisher in the only change to the side that drew with Cheshire. 

Will Wade, who made a half century in the Showcase match against Gloucestershire, Neil Clark and Uzair Qureshi will make their seasonal Championship debuts for Wiltshire. 

Wade replaces Cameron Steel, who had been playing for Wiltshire while on loan with Hampshire from Durham. He has now joined Surrey on a permanent deal. 

Former Glamorgan all-rounder Graeme Wagg will captain Shropshire in their Western Division Two match against Herefordshire at Shifnal. 

Wagg was appointed Shropshire’s white ball captain this season but will lead the three-day side in the absence of Sam Whitney, who is recovering from a shoulder injury. 

Shropshire have included two academy prospects, Shrewsbury left-arm seamer Lewis Evans and Bridgnorth seamer Charlie Walker, in a 12-man squad. 

Sentinel all-rounder James Shaw, who made his debut in the Trophy match against Cumbria last month, could make his first Championship appearance. 

Herefordshire are without Worcestershire Academy batsman Henry Cullen who impressed on his debut in the win over Devon but is unavailable having been called into the Super Fours tournament at Loughborough next week. 

Alex Hinkley will make his first Championship appearance of the season with Awais Mohammed making his county debut in place of David Ball. 

National Counties Championship 

July 25-27 (1100 starts, weather permitting) 

Eastern Division One 

West Bromwich Dartmouth: Staffordshire v Lincolnshire. Manor Park: Norfolk v Suffolk. 

Eastern Division Two 

Carlisle: Cumbria v Northumberland. Bishop’s Stortford: Hertfordshire v Bedfordshire. 

Western Division One 

Wimborne: Dorset v Wiltshire 1300 start/rain delay 
Banbury: Oxfordshire v Cheshire

Western Division Two 

Sandford: Devon v Wales MC
Shifnal: Shropshire v Herefordshire

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