National Counties Cricket Association

National Counties Cricket Association

National Counties T20 2024 - Preview - Week 1

26 April 2024
National Counties T20 2024 - Preview - Week 1

There will be some familiar faces in unfamiliar surroundings when the new National Counties season gets underway with the opening round of T20 matches on Sunday.

It has been a busy winter of signings and transfers across the 20 counties with Cumbria’s recruitment of former Lancashire captain Steven Croft and Norfolk’s capture of Worcestershire batter Josh Cobb among the more eye-catching.

Croft, who captained Lancashire to the Vitality Blast T20 title in 2015, retired from first-class cricket during the winter but is still contracted by Lancashire for T20 cricket and is also now a member of the coaching staff at Old Trafford.

He is playing league cricket for Blackpool, his hometown club, and will make his National Counties debut for Cumbria in Sunday’s double-header against Northumberland at Jesmond.

England Under-19 batter Harry Singh, one of the batters Croft has responsibility for developing at Lancashire, is also in line to make his debut for Cumbria.

Cobb will make his National Counties debut in Norfolk’s matches Lincolnshire at Great Witchingham – a new venue for the county as work is being carried out on the pitches at their Manor Park headquarters.

Cobb was twice a Vitality Blast winner – with Leicestershire in 2011 and Northamptonshire in 2016 – and joined Worcestershire during the winter on a white ball contract.

He has yet to make his debut for Worcestershire but will make his first appearance for Norfolk on Sunday.

Norfolk will also give a debut to former Northamptonshire Academy wicketkeeper/batter Charlie Hood and will have Tom New in charge as coach for the first time.

New retired as Norfolk’s professional at the end of last season and has succeeded the long-serving Chris Brown – now Ireland’s slow bowling coach – as county coach. Batter Sam Arthurton will combine his playing commitments with a coaching role.

Lincolnshire introduce Sheffield Collegiate’s Tom Currie who has played for Yorkshire’s Academy side over the past two seasons.

Former Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and Somerset seamer Jack Brooks is back with Oxfordshire where his county career started 20 years ago.

Brooks last played a competitive match for Oxfordshire 15 years ago but has been named in their squad for Sunday’s matches against Shropshire at Wormsley.

Sussex pair Zach Lion-Cachet and Harrison Ward, both products of Oxfordshire’s youth system, are also in the squad.

Oxfordshire will face a familiar figure in seamer Ollie Currill, a key member of their T20-winning squad of 2022.

Currill signed for Shropshire earlier this week and will make his debut for his new county against his old one.

Former Worcestershire batter Jacques Banton will also make his debut for Shropshire as he tries to find a route back into the first-class game.

Two members of the National Counties XI that won the Dream 11 European T10 Championship last October have switched counties.

Batter Cameron Hemp has moved from Wales NC to Buckinghamshire and will make his debut for them in Sunday’s double-headers against Bedfordshire at High Wycombe.

Bedfordshire have recalled batter Pat Harrington for his first county appearance in five years

National Counties all-rounder Tommy Sturgess, a member of the Cornwall side beaten by Staffordshire in last season’s National Counties final, has joined Berkshire.

Sturgess’s Berkshire debut will be delayed as he is trialling with Northamptonshire and so will miss the double-header against Hertfordshire at Wargrave.

Berkshire have included four potential debutants – Matt Dalrymple (Henley), Yash Lakhani (Slough), Sully Akhtar (Datchet) and Rhys Lewis (Wargrave) – in a 13-man squad.

All-rounder Archie Harrison, who was released by Derbyshire at the end of last season, will make his debut for Hertfordshire with West Herts’ Tom McCormick making his first competitive appearance.

Hertfordshire have also signed former Glamorgan batter Callum Taylor but he is not due to return from a winter in Australia until next week.

Former Leicestershire all-rounder Jacques du Toit, whose last National Counties appearance came for Cumbria two years ago, has re-joined Northumberland and will have his first outing for them in seven years against Cumbria.

Wicketkeeper Chris Youldon also returns to Northumberland’s side after an absence of eight years with Ross Whitfield and Harry Crawshaw, who were both released by Durham last season, also in the squad.

Other players to have moved across the National Counties are James Cox (Staffordshire to Cambridgeshire), Ben Claydon (Suffolk to Cambridgeshire) and Mark Smith (Cambridgeshire to Suffolk).

Claydon and Smith will be in opposition when Cambridgeshire take on Suffolk at Exning,a home match for them even though the ground is in the county boundary of their visitors.

Suffolk will give a debut to Alex Maynard of Bury St Edmunds and Halstead’s Josh Wells has been recalled for his first county appearance in nine years.

Kiel van Vollenhoven, who made two List A appearances for Warwickshire in 2021, is a newcomer in Cambridgeshire’s squad.

Former Kent all-rounder Alex Blake has been signed by Cornwall as a professional and has been named in their squad for the Tamar derby against Devon at St Just.

Blake played two National Counties Championship appearances for Cornwall and so enjoyed his first experience of National Counties cricket that he is back for more.

Wadebridge seamer Callum Wilson will make his first appearance for Cornwall since 2015 in a match that has been switched from waterlogged Werrington.

Devon’s new-look squad includes three potential debutants in Connor Gilbert, Charlie Sharland and George Addy, all of whom have links with Exeter University.Scotland and Sussex left-arm seamer Scotland and Sussex left-arm seamer Brad Currie has been included in Dorset’s squad for their double-header against Wiltshire at Wimborne.

Wiltshire have Warwickshire left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott available for the season opener and have named three debutants in their squad in Hampshire Academy batter Tom Cheater, Sarisbury’s hard-hitting left-hander Nathan Feltham and Alfie Johnson, who has county Second XI experience with Gloucestershire.

Staffordshire begin their title defence against Cheshire at Checkley where two recent recruits, all-rounder Reeve Evitts and Hishaam Khan, are in line for debuts.

Cheshire have Sam Perry in charge of their T20 side which includes four debutants in Kevin Carroll (Brooklands), Dan Wilson (Northern), Xander Selby (Bowdon) and Josh Boyden (Wigan).

Wales NC also have four newcomers in their side for Herefordshire’s visit to Llandysul.

Former Hampshire Academy all-rounder Jude Wright, Usk all-rounder Ollie Rayner and the Swansea pair of Asim Hameed and Adam Sylvester are all potential debutants.

Herefordshire include all-rounder Luke Tulacz and Daniyal Khan for their competitive debuts. Tulacz began his career at Brockhampton but now plays for Halesowen while Khan plays his club cricket for Dorridge.

National Counties T20

Sunday April 28 (11am)

Group One: Northumberland v Cumbria (South Northumberland), Staffordshire v Cheshire (Checkley).

Group Two: Cambridgeshire v Suffolk (Exning), Norfolk v Lincolnshire (Great Witchingham).

Group Three: Buckinghamshire v Bedfordshire (High Wycombe), Berkshire v Hertfordshire (Wargrave),

Group Four: Oxfordshire v Shropshire (Wormsley), Wales NC v Herefordshire (Llandysul).

Group Five: Cornwall v Devon (St Just), Dorset v Wiltshire (Wimborne).

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