Duo in the frame to make Staffordshire debuts against Cheshire

Staffordshire County Cricket Club won the NCCA Twenty20 Cup last season.

Staffordshire could field a couple of debutants in their NCCA Twenty20 Cup opener against Cheshire this weekend.

Head coach Andy Carr has named a 12-man squad for Sunday’s double header, which will now be played at Checkley.

The matches were due to be staged at Knypersley, but their ground is unfit for play, so Checkley have stepped in at late notice.

And Staffs could give first county appearances to all-rounder Reeve Evitts and seamer Hishaam Khan.

Evitts, aged 19, has previously spent time on the Worcestershire Academy and featured for their second team.

He plays his club cricket for Kenilworth Wardens and is a seam bowler and top-order batsman.

Khan, meanwhile, joined the Staffordshire set-up over the winter.

The 24-year-old left-arm paceman has turned out for Kent 2nd XI and has signed to play his club cricket for Rolleston this summer.

Evitts and Khan join a Staffs squad who are looking to defend their T20 crown.

They won the competition for the first time in their history last summer to mark an impressive start to Carr’s reign as head coach and James Kettleborough’s captaincy.

All-rounder Nils Priestley was the star of the show for Staffs as they clinched the silverware.

He impressed in the group stages, but saved his best until finals day at Tring Park.

Priestley hit a stunning 147 not out in the semi-final success against Berkshire before compiling a half-century and being among the wickets in the final victory over Cornwall.

‘Good balance’

There is plenty of experience in Staffordshire’s squad for Sunday’s encounters.

Tom Brett, Liam Hurt and Michael Hill are all included, while youngsters Sam Atkinson, Rory Haydon and Callum Hawkins are also named in the 12-man party.

In last year’s meeting between the counties, Staffordshire beat Cheshire in the second group match at Nantwich after the first one had been called off due to conditions.

New players added to Staffordshire squad for 2024 NCCA season

Cheshire make the journey to Checkley under the captaincy of opening batsman Sam Perry.

Perry has taken over the T20 captaincy from all-rounder Nick Anderson.

Cheshire have also named a number of new faces in their side for the first match of the 2024 campaign.

And they welcome back hard-hitting opener Will Evans into the fold to take on their near-neighbours.

‘New look’

This season’s T20 Cup takes on a new format. Instead of the usual four groups of five, the sides have been split into five groups of four.

The top two in each section, plus the two best-performing third-placed teams, will progress to the newly-created Super 12s stage.

Four venues will host three teams, with the quartet of victors then progressing to finals day.

Following Sunday’s matches at Checkley, Staffordshire conclude their initial group campaign the following weekend.

They host Northumberland at Burslem on Sunday, May 5. They then visit Carlisle to play Cumbria on Monday, May 6.

Meanwhile, Cheshire entertain Northumberland at Toft and Cumbria at Oxton over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Staffordshire (from): James Kettleborough (cpt, Checkley), Sam Atkinson (Moddershall & Oulton), Tom Brett (Finedon Dolben), Reeve Evitts (Kenilworth Wardens), Callum Hawkins (Moddershall & Oulton), Rory Haydon (Leek), Michael Hill (Meakins), Liam Hurt (Flixton), Hishaam Khan (Rolleston), Zen Malik (Leek), Matt Morris (Westhoughton), Nils Priestley (Checkley).
Cheshire: Sam Perry (cpt, Alderley Edge), Will Evans (Colwyn Bay), Harry Dearden (Oxton), Kevin Carroll (Brooklands), Alex Money (Chester Boughton Hall), Luke Young (Hyde), Chris Sanders (Alderley Edge), Josh Boyden (Wigan), Dan Wilson (Northern), Rob Lord (Bowdon), Xander Selby (Bowdon).

Main image: Staffordshire head coach Andy Carr and captain James Kettleborough with the NCCA Twenty20 Cup. Picture: Alfie Shenton

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