Warwickshire have given some of their promising youngsters their first taste of senior county cricket in the Minor Counties Championship and Staffordshire have benefited from their contributions.
"Matt Davison came in and got wickets against Bedfordshire, Ethan Brookes played against Cumberland, Dan Mousley has played for us and Rob Yates played last year."
Rob Yates, who has established himself as a Warwickshire first team regular this season, played two matches for Staffordshire last year, and batsman Dan Mousley – who made his Warwickshire debut earlier this season – plus Warwickshire pathway players Ethan Brookes, Matt Davison and Manraj Johal have all played Minor Counties cricket this year.
Davison’s match-winning bowling against Bedfordshire last month has secured him a call-up for Warwickshire’s Second XI while Johal, a 17-year-old seamer who plays alongside Ali at West Bromwich Dartmouth, took three wickets in the second innings of this week’s win over Norfolk at Longton.
“Matt Davison came in and got wickets against Bedfordshire, Ethan Brookes played against Cumberland, Dan Mousley has played for us and Rob Yates played last year,” said Ali.
“Manraj Johal came in and made his debut against Norfolk and bowled really well in the second innings.
“So we have a strong relationship with Warwickshire at the moment , it’s working really well and it benefits both counties.”
The win over Norfolk secured Staffordshire the Eastern Division title and they will now play Western Division champions Berkshire in the four-day final at Banbury starting on September 15.
Berkshire will be attempting to win the Championship for a record-equalling fourth consecutive season and Ali knows that a side that can call on England Under-19 internationals Jack Davies, Tom Scriven and Euan Woods, Middlesex T20 player Dan Lincoln and former Middlesex slow left-armer Chris Peploe will pose a formidable challenge.
“Getting to the final is massive for us. We have been close for the last four years and we have got what we deserve now,” Ali added.
“We have been disappointed over the last few years because we have played some really good cricket but I’m over the moon that we have now got to the final.
“Berkshire are top opposition and it’s going to be tough game. They are a strong side, they’ve won the competition for the last three years, but I’m sure we will give them a hard game.”