Could this be the greatest thing ever to happen to North Wales cricket?

The North Wales side that played Staffordshire last year, who will now be known as Wales National County (North). Back row L to R: Matty Ryan (St Asaph), Sam Rimmington (Llandudno), Dan Parry (Brymbo), Harrison Jones (Northop Hall), Will Higginson (Northop Hall), Dan Evans (Llandudno), Morgan Murray-Williams (Pwllheli)
Front Row L to R: Joe Howell (Llay), Jason Foulkes (St Asaph), Will Ryan (St Asaph – captain), Jack Gower (Menai Bridge). Players named with clubs they represented at the time.

It surely has to be one of the best things ever to happen to cricket in North Wales.

The formation of a new North Wales representative side for the 2022 season is fantastic news for the game in this part of the world.

The team is intended to bridge the gap between the Wales National County and the North Wales Cricket League and will be known as Wales National County (North).

Sort of a cricket version of rugby union’s RGC – a flagship team for North Wales.

A full fixture list has been drawn up confirming Wales National County (North) involvement in a six-team tournament this summer.

A statement from Cricket Wales said: “Despite the encouraging development of the national county side under Cricket Wales stewardship last year, the number of North Walian players that have represented Wales at senior level over recent years has been few and far between. 

“Ben Roberts (2016-2018), former Glamorgan seamer Dewi Penrhyn Jones (2012-2015) and current Glamorgan captain David Lloyd (2010-2014) are the three most notable names over the last decade with sporadic appearances from the likes of Joshua Andrady (2019), James Claybrook (2012), and current Leicestershire seamer Roman Walker (2018).

“It is no secret that the geography of Wales poses greater challenges than most other national, and first-class counties put together – none greater perhaps for the selection committee than gauging the standard of players between those in the North Wales league compared to those in South, West and East leagues. 

“Currently, the long standing and prestigious Welsh Cup represents the best opportunity for clubs from around Wales to face off against each other.  

The new Wales NC (North) shirts for 2022 season, sponsored by Watkin  Property Ventures & 360 Groundcare.

“Proposals and ongoing dialogue to bring a representative side in-house have been bubbling underneath the surface since the end of last season, after Russell Penrhyn-Jones (father of Dewi) assembled a group of players to play in a number of games against neighbouring counties – Staffordshire 2nd XI among them which culminated in a close two-wicket win at St Asaph.

“The team will now form a formal part of the national pathway, administered by Cricket Wales through the national county with the close support of the North Wales League and Penrhyn-Jones himself. 

“The main aim of the side is to provide a layer of competitive cricket between club cricket and national counties cricket in the region, and in turn preparing players for the demands that national counties cricket encompasses.”

A full fixture list includes games against Cumbria, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Northumberland and Shropshire in a six-team tournament.

It is hoped the North Wales side can welcome Munster in a two-day game in late June – details are still to be confirmed.

The team will be sponsored by Bangor-based Watkin Property Ventures (WPV) and 360 Groundcare for the 2022 and 2023 seasons and their support has gone a considerable way to ensuring the forming of the side.

Matt Thompson, head of Talent Pathway for Cricket Wales, said: “This is a fantastic step in the right direction for cricket in North Wales.

Not only will it be something for players in the area to aspire towards, but it will give them the best shop window possible to stake a claim for future selection for the full national county side.

“There is nothing better than representing your country at any level and this gives players the best opportunity to do that. 

“Our thanks must go to Russell in the first instance for leading the way on this, to the North Wales League for their support and most importantly to our sponsors, without whom this would not be initially possible.”

Chairman of the North Wales League Allan Senior added: “Cricket in North Wales grows stronger with the formation of this team and everyone involved with cricket in our league is excited about its development.”

Wales National County (North) fixture list 2022

1st May: Internal warm-up game (St Asaph, 50 overs)
17th May: Cumbria (A – TBC, 50 overs)
25th May: Staffordshire (St Asaph, 50 overs)
8th June: Staffordshire (A – Milford Hall, x2 T20)
28th-29th June: Munster (Bangor, 2 day – TBC)
26th July: Cheshire (Colwyn Bay, 50 overs)
2nd August: Northumberland (Bangor, 50 overs)
3rd August: Northumberland (Bangor, x2 T20)
TBC Date: Shropshire (A – Ellesmere College, 50 overs)
29th-30th August: Shropshire (A – Ellesmere College, 2 day)

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