National Counties Cricket Association

National Counties Cricket Association

Young Eyes Revenge in Trophy Semi Final - Interview

14 July 2023
Young Eyes Revenge in Trophy Semi Final - Interview

Wiltshire will have revenge in mind when they face Berkshire in Sunday’s National Counties Trophy semi-final at the South Wilts club in Salisbury. 

The last time Wiltshire reached the last four of the 50-overs competition was in 2019 when they were beaten by four wickets by Berkshire at Finchampstead. 

Berkshire went on to win the competition that year and head to Salisbury on the trail of a fourth successive title having beaten Cumbria in the last three finals at Wormsley. 

Wiltshire have never won the Trophy but have reached the final three times - in 1993, 2005 and 2012 – and they hope that having a home semi-final for the first time since they were beaten by Lincolnshire at Corsham in 2010 will bring out at the crowds and give them a useful advantage. 

“We haven’t had a home semi for a while and the last time we got to the semi-finals was 2019 when Berkshire beat us at Finchampstead,” said Wiltshire captain Ed Young. 

“We will certainly be looking to use home advantage and get the better of Berkshire as they got the better of us last time. 

“South Wilts is a nice place to watch cricket and we get decent support down there. It’s quite a central venue in the county as well. 

“There has been a lot of noise on social media promoting the match and we are just hoping that the weather stays fine and we can put in a good performance.” 

Wiltshire reached the semi-finals with three wins out of their four group matches – their only defeat being against Dorset in a local derby at Dorchester – followed by a four wickets victory over Hertfordshire at Hertford in the quarter-finals two weeks ago. 

Three of the wins have been secured by expertly-paced run chases but a six runs victory over Wales NC at Warminster showed that Wiltshire are also capable of a defending a total. 

“The Trophy wasn’t something that we put our efforts into before the season started. It’s just how it’s happened,” Young said. 

“We’ve had Tom Cullen come in which has been a real bolster to the team and the squad. That probably helped contribute to some of those early wins. 

“But, in general, we have played some really good cricket. Some young guys have stamped their authority on the team and they are becoming established National Counties players now. 

“For the first time in my time as captain we have been able to play the same 11 in successive games so there is a commitment from the players and a willingness from them to get stuck in and perform. 

“Winning those first three games gave us the belief that we could go far in this competition. 

“Against Staffordshire Josh Croom bowled fantastically well both in the power play and in the death overs. He has really kicked on this season and he’s been getting top five batters out and then coming back and bowling really well at the end of the innings. 

“In the semi-final it was a very good pitch at Hertford. Even though they were 100 without loss they weren’t going at a rate that was damaging us. 

“We were controlling the game which is all you can ask for if you are not taking wickets. When they tried to put their foot on the accelerator they took some risks and we took our catches. 

“They probably got 20 or 30 more than expected because their number seven came in and got 42 off 20 balls or something. 

“But the guys did incredibly well and we always knew that 280 - although a decent total - if we got stuck in and were positive and scored at a decent rate we were going to win. 

“That’s where someone like Harry Broderick, who came in and got 42 off 20 balls as well, completely changed the dynamic of the chase. 

“We were really happy for him because he has been quiet with the bat but been very good with the ball, especially against Wales where he defended the last over. 

“It was important to win that Wales game because it instilled the belief that we can bat first as well. 

“The general consensus is chasing is more preferred in knowing what you need to get and it probably suits our batters a bit more. 

“But defending a total against Wales was important because if you are going to get to the later stages of a tournament you can’t do it just having one skill. We know that whatever happens at the toss we can win from any position.” 

The acquisition of Cullen has proved a shrewd one with Young, the former Gloucestershire batter/left-arm spinner, moving quickly to recruit his former Potterne team-mate after he had been released by Glamorgan at the end of last season. 

“I played with Tom when I was at Potterne from 2014 to 2018. Unfortunately for him he lost out on his contract at Glamorgan but it meant there was an opening for him in our side,” Young said. 

“I thought he was a good person to get in in terms of experience. He has been a prolific run-scorer at this level for years now. 

“What it has meant is that we have had some very solid performances from our middle order with Jack Mynott at number three and Ben Draper also scoring runs consistently.” 

As Trophy holders, Berkshire are likely to go into Sunday’s match as favourites but they have wobbled on occasions this season, losing heavily to Staffordshire in the semi-finals of the National Counties T20 competition, losing heavily to Hertfordshire in their first Trophy group match and being frustrated by Devon who held them to a draw in their opening Durant Cricket National Counties Championship match this week. 

“Berkshire have been prolific for years now and they still are,” Young said. 

“But I feel that there is opportunity for us. They do have a lot of experience and explosiveness – Euan Woods, Dan Lincoln and Andy Rishton – people who have been playing National Counties for a long time now. 

“But them losing a couple of games does show that it can be done and it does provide a bit of belief for other teams that if you do play good cricket and put them under a bit of pressure, they can lose.” 

Wiltshire are still waiting to hear whether Warwickshire will make left-arm seamer Croom and left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott available for the semi-final. 

Croom has just had his trial period at Edgbaston extended by another month and his availability for the semi-final will depend on his workload. 

Lintott, who was recruited by Warwickshire from Wiltshire three years ago, was not required for this week’s County Championship match Canterbury and Warwickshire are not involved in Saturday’s Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston. 


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