Glamorgan are making use of the Neath club ground for the second year and will play games against Durham and Warwickshire this week. Both Durham and Glamorgan come into this game on the back of wins, having lost their first matches. Durham sit above Glamorgan thanks to a superior run rate, based on their record-breaking total of 427/9 against Sussex. It was Durham’s highest ever total in one-day cricket and the seventh highest total ever by an English county since one-day cricket began in 1963. The total was the result of a 194 run second wicket partnership between Alex Lees (144) and David Bedingham (102), following an opening partnership of 135 between Lees and Graham Clark (72). The batting is undoubtedly Durham’s strength having lost a number of their bowlers to the Hundred, but they have brought in South African quick, Migael Pretorius to bolster their attack. He will be hoping to start making a mark as his 18 overs so far have conceded 123 runs, taking just two wickets.
Durham lost to Worcestershire in their first game and Glamorgan suffered a similar fate three days later. They bounced back on Sunday against Derbyshire, chasing down a target of 299, with seven wickets and 17 balls to spare. Colin Ingram completed an undefeated century, with each of the other batters making a contribution. Unfortunately, Ingram had a recurrence of a calf injury during his innings and will miss at least the next two matches. A concern for Glamorgan this season has been spin options, but in the last two games captain Kiran Carlson and 19-year-old Ben Kellaway have stepped up with their off spin and between them have bowled 31 overs and taken 8 for 165. This allows the selection of the extra batter alongside four seamers. The coaching staff have indicated that they will be rotating the seam bowlers and Timm van der Gugten and Ruaidhri Smith have come in, with Jamie McIlroy rested. Sam Northeast will replace Colin Ingram in the starting XI.
The last time these two teams met in this competition was the 2021 final, where Glamorgan came out on top by 58 runs, thanks to a strong all-round performance. Carlson top scored for Glamorgan with 82, but he and Billy Root are the only Glamorgan survivors from that game. Both teams have stronger batting than bowling attacks, but the addition of van der Gugten and Smith will add a bit of extra pace to that of Glamorgan.
Two One-Day cup games were played at Neath last summer and despite the small ground, the first innings scores were just 177 and 228. However, in chasing down Hampshire’s total of 228, Tom Bevan did score 134 from 103 balls. The encounter this week will likely be determined by whether one of the bowling attacks can get on top of the strong opposition batters, if the weather allows.
Durham have the slight edge given the strength of their batting, but the toss and the weather may become an important factor in the result.
Timm van der Gugten had an excellent start to his Championship campaign with 37 wickets at 26.40. However, he has only taken three wickets in his last three Championship games and will be keen to get back into wicket-taking ways. With the possibility of rain throughout the day, conditions are likely to favour the bowlers, while any loose deliveries will be punished thanks to short boundaries.
Liam Trevaskis is the top wicket-taker in the competition so far with seven and an economy rate of 5.44. This includes a hat trick in the loss against Worcestershire. The slow left armer also had a successful competition last season with nine wickets and an economy rate of just 4.78. A product of the Durham Academy he has played for England under 19s and is a useful lower order batter, with a first-class average of 30.06. Durham will be looking to him to pin down the strong Glamorgan middle-order.
With McIlroy rested and Ben Morris left out of the squad, it is likely that van der Gugten and Smith will come in to bolster the seam attack. Zain ul Hassan is included as bowling cover.
Glamorgan squad (from): Kiran Carlson (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Andy Gorvin, Alex Horton (wk), Ben Kellaway, Sam Northeast, Harry Podmore, Billy Root, Prem Sisodiya, Will Smale, Ruaidhri Smith, Zain ul Hassan, Timm van der Gugten.
The only change to the squad from Hove is Luke Robinson replacing Brandon Glover. Glover did not play in that match and Robinson, a 29-year-old off-spinner, is yet to make his county debut.
Durham squad: Alex Lees (c), David Bedingham, Scott Borthwick, Jonathan Bushnell, Graham Clark (wk), Paul Coughlin, George Drissell, Oliver Gibson, Michael Jones, Ben McKinney, Migael Pretorius, Luke Robinson, Liam Trevaskis
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is for rain throughout the day. Hopefully the game will be completed, but it is likely to be a stop-start affair.
The pitch will offer some help for the bowlers and in both games last season, the side batting second was successful. Nevertheless, accuracy with the ball will be crucial given the relatively short boundaries.
Date: 8th August 2023
Ground: Neath Cricket Club, Neath
Odds (SkyBet): Glamorgan 6/5; Durham 8/13