GLAMORGAN’S abbreviated season starts on Saturday when they travel to Taunton to play the first of their five group games for the Bob Willis Trophy against Somerset, last year’s County Championship runners-up to Essex.

Head coach Matthew Maynard, who held the same position at Somerset for three years, is looking forward to returning to his former club, and described the occasion as “a challenge against a county who have been up there with the best in recent years. I want the team to be highly competitive, so that and at the end of the four days we will have an idea of where we stand.

“We will hope to field our best team for every game, and will only rotate our seam bowlers for the next game - as we did last year," he said.

"If they have been in the field for lengthy periods and bowled a lot of overs.”

Unlike many other clubs, Glamorgan decided not to play any pre-season games against county opposition, opting to concentrate instead on intra-squad games over two weeks.


“Despite the long wait, we have prepared well, and we find that this is the better preparation”, Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace said.

“By adopting this method, we have given our players the opportunity of putting their names forward for a place in the side. We began by holding two T20 games, and these were followed by a two-day game and ending with a three-day encounter at the start of this week.”

With their overseas player Marnus Labuschagne and T20 batsman Colin Ingram absent, the club suffered another disappointment when their experienced all-rounder David Lloyd broke a bone in his foot during practice.

Lloyd will be assessed next week but could miss the entire Bob Willis Trophy series. Seamer Tim Van Der Gugten will also miss the opening games with an ankle strain.

There will, however, be opportunities for the younger players, and one who has caught the eye is 17-year-old batsman Harry Friend, who also bowls, and is a product of Monmouth School.

Friend has been coached for the past four years by Steve James, the former Glamorgan and England batsman, who watched him score an unbeaten 67 to win the game against a strong Glamorgan attack last week.

“It was a most impressive innings”, said James. “Especially the way he coped with the likes of Marchant De Lange and Graham Wagg, two of Glamorgan’s experienced bowlers.”

Glamorgan have also signed wicketkeeper Alex Horton, who is a year younger than Friend, on a five-year contract.

Wallace, who made his Glamorgan debut at 17, said: “Alex has been on our Pathway Programme since he was 10, and has a real talent for one so young. We would not have given him a contract if we didn’t think he had the ability to play first-team cricket.”

Glamorgan’s Bob Willis Trophy opener is set to be played behind closed doors with no spectators allowed into the ground and only officials and a reduced media set to watch on.

There will, however, be a limited number of spectators elsewhere at the Kia Oval and Edgbaston for the start of the red-ball competition with domestic cricket given the green light to lead the way in a pilot scheme for the return of crowds in public venues.

While there are no plans for further pilot scheme matches to be played at present Glamorgan, as a Test arena, is set to closely monitor developments in south London and Birmingham.