THE cream of cricketing talent in North Wales will be heading north for their next encounters.

Wales National County (North) go to Jesmond Cricket Club later this month to tackle Northumberland over two days of action.

A 50-over match with Northumberland Development is scheduled for July 31, with T20 contests taking place the following day.

“We are not going up as second rate to Northumberland, who are a good county,” said team manager Russell Penrhyn-Jones.

“They will have four or five players that will have played Durham the day before.

“We’re going up with a group that’s a lot younger.

“We will have an average age of around 22.”

It’s another key spell in getting players noticed for the Minor Counties scene and first class cricket, stressed Penrhyn-Jones.

“There’s a message and the message here is we have got to be a springboard for players who want to go on and play first class cricket,” he added.

“We want the likes of Archie Sussex, Will Norman and Matt Jones to be able to play Minor Counties cricket and go on to play first class cricket."

Blazing a trail for these younger players have been Harrison Jones and Will Ryan.

The North Wales duo were members of the Wales team that turned out in Brymbo for a three-day West Division Two clash with Shropshire.

Rain meant that much of this match was washed out, but Penrhyn-Jones stressed: “Exposure is representative cricket.

“Then when you play representative cricket and score 100, people’s ears will flip up.

“It’s great news Will Ryan and Harrison Jones got in the Wales set-up.

“That would have never, ever happened if we hadn’t done Wales National County (North).

“It should set the juniors up and their parents up that there’s a pathway here.”

And Penrhyn-Jones has stressed that the talent is already in the region to make the step-up.

“There’s lads in our region who could play for Glamorgan seconds but they’re not getting the opportunity,” he said. “I’m passionate about it because I know where this needs to go.”

Cross-border contests have become the norm for North Wales cricketers over the last couple of summers, but these have all been against development line-ups.

However, Penrhyn-Jones says it’s time for players in the region to come up against stronger county sides.

“We want to test ourselves against Staffordshire,” he said.

“We have asked Staffordshire if we can have a game against their first team.

“We beat their development team and we comfortably won that game.

“We’re getting to that point to see exactly where we are.”

It’s going to be a quieter weekend for Northop Hall in the Liverpool Competition.

Hall, who played twice last weekend, pay a visit to Fleetwood Hesketh in Division Two tomorrow.

In the Shropshire League, there’s a Division Two trip to Shifnal seconds for Chirk to look forward to.