CALLUM Taylor has paid tribute to the Newport’s cricketing Knights as he prepares to make his first-class debut for Glamorgan.

The Welsh county’s coach Matthew Maynard is set to make changes to his team for the game against Northamptonshire after batting struggles in the Bob Willis Trophy.

Taylor, who was Newport-born but raised in Australia, looks poised to slot into the middle order after impressing in pre-season.

The 22-year-old returned to Wales to play for the Spytty Park side in 2016 and his exploits earned a chance with Glamorgan, with director of cricket Mark Wallace vouching for the qualities of his Newport teammate.

The off-spinning all-rounder was nominated for the second XI player of the year and young player of the year awards in 2019.

Now he is poised to prosper from Glamorgan’s spluttering form with the bat after they salvaged a draw against Gloucestershire last week.

Taylor has reaped the rewards of heading to Spytty Park to play for the 2016 and 2018 South Wales Premier League champions.

"Newport is definitely my cricketing home in Wales,” said the son of former Pontypool flanker and captain Matthew.

South Wales Argus:

“After my school coaches Stephen Baker and Ross Wallace helped me massively over in Australia, the Knight brothers (twins Mike and Dave, pictured above) at Newport got me over and helped me.

"It was a sense of coming home for a gap year, but there were a lot of Glamorgan people around Newport and it worked in my favour.

"It would mean the world if I get a debut, me and my family are really excited."

If selected, Taylor will aim to prosper at a ground which is known to be conducive for spin bowlers and where Kiran Carlson famously took five for 28 on his first-class debut in 2016.

“I think I’ll probably bat in the middle order and maybe bowl some part-time off-spin. Depending on the make-up of the team I may bowl a little bit more, especially if it does spin which it can do there.

“Kiran took five wickers on his debut a few years back so hopefully I can live up to his expectations if I’m called upon.”

Glamorgan have drawn two and lost one of their Central Group fixtures so are not in contention for the final with two rounds remaining.

Michael Hogan needs one first-class wicket to hit the 600 milestone and returns after being rested against Gloucestershire.

Glamorgan (from): N Selman, J Cooke, K Carlson, B Root, C Cooke (captain, wicket-keeper), C Taylor, T Cullen, D Douthwaite, G Wagg, K Bull, T van der Gugten, M de Lange, M Hogan.

South Wales Argus:

Glamorgan have confirmed the signing of Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie for this summer’s Vitality Blast.

The 29-year-old, who hit a one-day international century against England earlier this month, will be available for the entire South Group campaign.

Balbirnie said: “I’m very pleased to see the deal go ahead - it’s a fabulous competition, and having spent a few years in Cardiff during my university days, it’s a city I know pretty well.

“I’m just looking forward to heading across and getting going with Glamorgan.

“It’s a tournament I’ve watched a lot and have many friends who have played in it over the years, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play with new people and learn from different coaches, as well as to play in a different tournament in different conditions.”

Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace said: “Andrew is a fantastic player with a strong record in the one-day formats and was in great form during the recent series against England.

“He is also very used to playing in our conditions and will add a lot of experience and class at the top of the order.”