There’s a general agreement that The Hundred has downgraded the Royal London Cup. The impact on a tournament responsible for unearthing future 50-over World Cup stars is plain on all 18 counties.
But while many might see weakened squads, 2nd XI and fringe players can see an opportunity. On a hot day in Cardiff, the sun shone on the likes of Steven Reingold, Connor Brown and Lukas Carey. All of whom have been regular faces for Glamorgan 2nd XI.
There’s no easy way to put it other than to say Wales had Glamorgan by the collar and that the latter played catch-up all along.
Opting to bat first on a dry pitch with variable bounce, Glamorgan kept losing wickets at regular intervals before being shot out for 202 with eight balls to spare. Tom Cullen top-scored with 41 with extras contributing the next highest – 29.
In response, Wales were cruising comfortably with a 105-run stand between Connor Brown (67) and Steven Reingold (44) for the second wicket and were well placed to see their side home until the 32nd over. Brown’s dismissal precipitated a collapse that saw Wales lose five for 40.
Carey, Wales National County’s number eight, refused to be discounted and wrestled back with a 24-ball 29, hitting three boundaries and a brace of sixes to seal a three-wicket win.
Despite fielding a team of semi-pro players, Wales wore the tag of being the underdogs gracefully and simply rode the wave of momentum that saw them qualify for the semi-finals of the National Counties Trophy on Sunday.
As for Glamorgan, such a performance should surprise no one. For a side heavily reliant on a few batsmen, the absence of David Lloyd, Chris Cooke, Daniel Douthwaite and Colin Ingram was always going to demand more from a younger, fairly inexperienced squad. Subsequently, it also demands patience from the viewers and it’s a virtue that has often been put to test over the years as few have endured.
So what did we glean from Tuesday’s showcase fixture? It depends who you ask. Edward Bevans, on air for BBC Radio Wales, was scathing in his assessment.
“Glamorgan did not deserve to win that game,” he said. “They were very pedantic and [as for] their approach with the batting, they got out to some bad shots. If it wasn’t for some of the batsmen, they would have been bowled out for under 200. No excuses for Glamorgan. They have to improve.”
As they should if they are to topple Warwickshire on Thursday, a Division One county no less.
We learnt that Cullen is an able batsman and a more-than-reliable back-up to Chris Cooke behind the stumps. And that Carey could soon be back in Glamorgan colours and perhaps the door is left ajar for batsman Connor Brown, who was released last season.
Also that Kiran Carlson has his task cut out over the next month or so but it will be intriguing to see how he marshals his troops and will have to try to get the best out of what’s available to him.
Tuesday’s loss may have exposed a few gaps but for the open-minded and far-sighted, it was a win for Welsh cricket.