Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Saturday 24th July Reports
1st XI Report The Romans went to Carmarthen in search of gold. Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI travelled down the Via Julia Marittima in search of a victory. This would have put them third in the South Wales Premier Cricket League Division Two and in the mix to challenge for the Championship. It was not to be, a heavy defeat by seven wickets being the margin of the home side’s victory.
It comes as a surprise of many that the first recorded cricket match in Wales took place near Carmarthen at Cwmgwili in 1783. The very name of the present club, Carmarthen Wanderers, signified their lack of a home ground and they played the South Wales Hunts at Cowbridge regularly in early September. The Wanderers eventually joined the South Wales Cricket Association just a short time before Cowbridge using the Carmarthen Athletic RFC ground before settling down at the Trinity fields.
It was there that Cowbridge batted first. It proved to be slow progress but nevertheless Ben Wright (56) and Tom Merilaht (29) put on a solid 60 only for a slump to 111-4 put the visitors under some pressure. Jack Cropper (29) and Keiron Alison (34 not out) gave the innings a degree of impetus and the score of 183-7 seemed competitive.
Alas it was nothing like it. The home batsmen got their innings off to a flyer and they cantered to victory in 34 overs. Quite what would have been the outcome had Rhys Davies, Brett Hounsell and Matt Smart been able to take their places in the starting line-up. The Cowbridge XI were disappointed by their performance at Carmarthen and will be looking to make amends at home to Newbridge next week. JRB
The New Mound Members might wonder at the extension of The Mound and what the plan is for it. The idea is to put a flight of steps on the ground-facing slope with disabled access from the rear. A plinth will cover the new top with seating placed on it. A safety fence will ensure users will not fall off the platform. The project will be complete by the end of the year, but it is highly likely that for the remainder of this season access to the existing seats will be from the car park. The benefits of doing this are to save a significant cost, which carting away the soil would have created. Furthermore, it can be used as a players’ sitting area or spectator facility and tidy the area, which has rather let down the adjacent surrounds. JRB Saturday 17th July Reports 1st XI Report By defeating Ynysygerwn by six wickets on Saturday, Cowbridge Cricket Club’s first XI moved up to fourth in Division Two of the Premier League and kept their, admittedly slim, chance of being crowned champions alive.
Bowling first without Rhys Davies and Tom Williams, the all-round skills of Brett Hounsell and Matt Smart had the opportunity to take centre stage with 4-17 and 2-11 respectively. The Ynysygerwn total of 120 was clearly disappointing for the visitors. Led by an innings of strokes of the highest quality by Aman Gandhi (55 not out), it was little more than a practice session.
Cowbridge’s 1st XI travel to the bottom placed Carmarthen. The next four matches are against clubs placed lower than them in the league. Lose one and the season is over in terms of Championships. Win these four and who knows what might happen. JRB 2nd XI Report On Saturday, the 2nd XI recorded an excellent win away at Neath. Overlooking Neath rugby field and with an outside birthday party going on, the atmosphere was excellent with music being played throughout.
Cowbridge ended up fielding first and there were 2 quick wickets; a slip catch by Andrew Walker and a well taken grasp by Martin Jennings at mid-wicket, both from the bowling of Joe Russell. In fact with great keeping by C. Jones and fielding throughout, Cowbridge took 7 catches and 1 stumping. Joe Phillips was the only player to bowl someone out.
The Cowbridge bowlers were Joe Russell and Riley Tona, who both took 3 wickets, and Joe Phillip, Ben Smart and Martin Jennings, who all took one wicket each. Neath were all out for 170 in what seemed a chaseable total.
In the first 2 balls of the Cowbridge innings, C.Jones dismissed their opener for 4 and let him know about short pitch deliveries. Unfortunately, a great delivery got his outside edge on the next ball.
Will Harris and Theo Walker started to build an innings but unfortunately got out when both were starting to look settled.
Joe Russell added 22 and a great innings from Umar Rafique of 43 helped build the total. It was then left for Martin Jennings to see the game through with some excellent play and some great singles run with Riley.
The home team racked up the extras and Cowbridge saw the game over the line. A great win and performance where fielding and bowling shone. The batting was then methodical and cleverly orchestrated to chase down with 2 wickets to spare. Andrew Walker Saturday 10th July Reports 1st XI Report In a tense finish, and thanks to two stand out performances, Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI achieved a narrow victory over the South Wales Premier League Division Two Championship leaders, Chepstow, at The Athletic Ground last Saturday. Leadership of the division passed to unbeaten Clydach and Cowbridge remain fifth.
It was a day when the tension mounted as the match progressed reaching a climax that matched Sir Henry Newbolt’s poem ‘Vita Lampada’. It may not have had the ‘bumping pitch‘, Hugh Williams’ pitches are never ‘bumping’, and by the time the last Cowbridge batsmen were at the wicket, the ground was bathed in the golden glow of a midsummer early evening, rather than a ‘ blinding light’. It had not always been like that as the match began under gloomy skies and a heavy atmosphere.
Surprisingly, Chepstow decided to bat first but as the clouds did not unfurl until towards the end of the Chepstow innings, it turned out to be a poor call. By the time the sun had put its hat on, the damage had been done by Rhys Davies.
Conditions were ideal for Davies’ brand of swing bowling but having the ability to exploit them is quite another. Rhys has skills aplenty and having returned to cricket after a career as a professional golfer, his bowling, which took him to the verge of first-class cricket, is rediscovering its old skills match by match. In the last three fixtures, Rhys has conceded just 46 runs off 30 overs. This time it was 3-12 off his ten overs, but his work was not done. Chepstow were restricted to 156 all out but Cowbridge then proceeded to make a total mess of their innings. Only Ben Wright was able to come to terms with the Chepstow spinners as the home team slumped to 103-8.
It would require one of the tailenders to keep Ben company and in Rhys Davies the team had its man. Rhys kept his end up for 53 balls adding 13 himself as he and Ben took the score from 103 to 142 when a calamity of a mid-wicket misunderstanding saw Rhys run out. With Cowbridge needing 15 for victory, Sam Russell arrived as the last batsman. The tension mounted as Sam took a single off the last ball of the forty eighth over, not ideal as it was Ben Wright at the other end. Nevertheless, in the forty eighth not only did he keep the visitors attack at bay but picked up two more runs backwards off square leg.
Twelve to win, twelve balls to be bowled and Ben Wright, the league’s leading run scorer, on strike facing the seventh choice Chepstow bowler. It really was no contest. A dot ball was followed by a piercing of a gap at midwicket for four runs. Another four followed next ball as Ben helped a delivery which was drifting down the leg side to the fine leg boundary. Then came the victory with Ben again threading the ball between two Chepstow fielders who were patrolling the leg side boundary. JRB 2nd XI Report Cowbridge 2nd XI lost a nervy game by just 7 runs away to league highflyers Chepstow on Saturday.
Having chosen to field, an excellent all-round bowling performance restricted the home side to 148 all out. Skipper Joe Russell returned superb figures of 4-46, ably supported by Umar Rafique with 3-16, Rhydian Harris with 2-25 and a stunning run out from livewire keeper Carwyn Jones. Young bowlers Joe Phillips and Will Harris bowled miserly spells without the reward they deserved. The ground fielding was of the highest calibre with Matt Wood pouching a terrific catch whilst Owain Scholey, Theo Walker and Ben Smart were active in keeping the run rate down.
Chasing 149 to win, the top order struggled against accurate seam bowling on an awkward sloping track. Reduced to 5-2, the team just could not string a meaningful partnership together against a particularly good bowling side, despite the heroics of Matt Smart who made a gutsy 71. In the end, a young Cowbridge side containing 5 teenagers slipped to 141 all out.
Despite the loss the game was played in excellent spirits and with plenty of good cricket. The 2nd XI continues to develop and become more competitive, and results will surely follow with displays such as this. Ian Harris Saturday 3rd July Reports 1st XI Report On the third man boundary at the Penarth Athletic Ground sits a striking art deco house of the type often featured in the Poirot series on television. On Saturday, it was not on the links but on the cricket ground that the murder took place as Cowbridge’s 1st XI were slain by the locals.
Having won the toss and decided to field first, rightly so given there was rain about, Cowbridge’s bowling attack was rendered toothless by the placid pitch. Cowbridge’s problem is that currently their bowling unit is leaking too many runs. Of the bowlers used on Saturday, Rhys Davies was once again a model of consistency conceding just 20 runs from his ten overs, while Tom Williams’s economy rate was 3.75. The spinners, Cameron Jeffers and Aman Gandhi, were at 4.2 and 4.5, respectively. Had the whole attack been able to keep to these figures, Cowbridge would have been chasing a score shy of two hundred. As it was, Penarth were able to get to a score of 237-3. The good work that had made the home side struggle was lost at the end of the innings as Penarth garnered 77 runs in the last ten overs.
However, it was not the size of the score that defeated Cowbridge. Had one of the much-vaunted top three of the Cowbridge order managed to get in and play a major innings, of which they are all capable, the need to score at 4.75 runs an over would not have been a problem. However, when Chris Willey was out and the scoreboard read 14-4, the big four gone, it was all over as a contest.
For the top batting to fail two weeks running is inexplicable. They have exhibited their qualities time and again in recent seasons. Jack Cropper (21) showed that batting was not impossible and a 57 run tenth wicket partnership by Rhys Davies (26) and Sam Russell (27) took Cowbridge to 134 all out.
The two defeats in the past two weeks have resulted in Cowbridge slipping from second to fifth in the league with eight weeks to go. The divisions leaders, Chepstow, will visit The Athletic Ground on Saturday. Should Cowbridge defeat the visitors, it would really put the cat amongst the pigeons. JRB 2nd XI Report On Saturday, we saw Cowbridge’s 2nd XI chase down Penarth’s total in what was the first win of the season.
Penarth scored 213 all out. The opening partnership had put on 69 before Umar Rafique took the first wicket. There was excellent fielding throughout the Penarth innings by this young Cowbridge side, with 3 great catches by Ben Smart, Theo Walker and Owain Scholey.
Cowbridge showed they were equally adept with the ball in hand, with the pick of the bowlers being Matt Smart 9-3-21-2, Joe Russell 8.4-1-39-3 and Will Harris 9-2-31-3. Scholey started the innings off well with 29, but Cowbridge were soon 59-4 with one of the Penarth bowlers taking 4 wickets with some slow, indifferent bowling. A couple of the times the batsman lost the sight of the ball above the sightscreen before coming down onto the wicket. A rapid 18 from C. Jones upped the score before further quick wickets meant Cowbridge were 99-7. Smart was 20 not out at this stage and brought Harris to the crease. This wicket was not given up with some powerful and clever stroke play by Smart who finished 80 not out from 68 balls, with 2 balls being returned from the garden houses. This had spectators quickly moving their cars from the side car park to save them from being hit. Harris was astute in his approach with a supporting role before hitting 14 from over 42. He ended with his top senior score of 32 not out off 54 balls. 115 was put on for the 8th wicket to win the game with 9 balls to spare in an excellent partnership.
Congratulations to the 2nd XI for a great win and run chase. This mix of young and senior players is starting to become an exciting watch. Andrew Walker Saturday 26th June Reports 1st XI Report In every cricketer’s memory bank, there are matches that the player would prefer to be able to press the delete button and remove them from their consciousness. For those that played in the Cowbridge 1st XI’s nine wickets defeat by Clydach at home on Saturday, this will not be a match to dwell upon.
Clydach came from the west bringing with them leaden clouds which made it a day to bowl first. The new ball did enough for the two Clydach opening bowlers to suggest that they had played an important part in the Tawe Valley team remaining unbeaten to the halfway point of the season.
The Cowbridge wickets fell at 0 then at 21,21,22 and 27. The damage was done. In the lower order, Heath Webb (13), Matt Smart (17 not out) and Cameron Jeffers (18) showed that once the elements had obeyed the admonishment of William Blake’s lyric of Jerusalem, ‘O clouds unfold’, batting became a good deal easier. Nevertheless, on what was now a sun filled afternoon and the ground the epitome of a green and pleasant land, Cowbridge could only get to 118.
Cowbridge’s total was never likely to trouble the visitors who reached for the loss of one wicket.
The result resulted in Cowbridge slipping to fourth from second in the league table, which is now Chepstow 129, Ynystawe 117, Clydach 114 and Cowbridge 100. 2nd XI Report The Second Xl played away at St Fagan’s on Saturday. The match was shortened due to overnight rain, which meant a delayed start. However, a big congratulations should go to Nav and Umar who still arrived early to complete an extended warm up.
Cowbridge captain Joe Russell won the toss and fielded first. The captain and Riley Tona opened the bowling and they combined with an excellent slip catch from the bowling of Tona in the 4th over. There was then a partnership of 112 for the second wicket with one of the St Fagan’s openers, who had not previously reached a 50 in senior cricket, batting for 133 off 98 balls. The 3rd and 4th batsman both chipped in with 23 runs but Cowbridge’s ill-discipline, with short deliveries and 30 wides, was their undoing. St Fagan’s reached 250-7. The pick of the bowlers was Umar Rafique, who finished with figures of 6-0-26-2. Will Harris also had excellent economy of 4.57 an over in 6 overs. The other wickets fell to a great run out by Joe Russell and he and Riley also took 2 wickets each.
Cowbridge’s reply ended on 21.2 overs getting 78 all out. Only 3 batsmen scored double figures with Joe Russell top scoring with 20 off 15 balls. Umar Rafique ended up 12 not out. Cowbridge will mark this as an anomaly amongst recent excellent batting displays. This is a young side that is developing, and this can be considered a learning week.
19th June Reports 1st XI Report MASSIVE STAND SETS UP VICTORY A seemingly under strength Cowbridge Cricket Club 1st XI chased 249 at Ynystawe and won in a canter by nine wickets. The Premier Two leaders took a beating such that the only compensation afforded to the home side was that the result was not overly delayed. The shellshocked home XI had plenty of time on Saturday to go to whatever social activity is legal in their village.
Having set Cowbridge a target of 249 in 50 overs, there was an opening stand of 224 with Ben Wright getting 124 not out and Aman Gandhi 98. Cowbridge got home in just 39 overs. To nobody’s surprise, the delightful small ground, fast outfield, and excellent pitch proved to be a perfect stage for a run chase. This charming ground bears no comparison to its previous incarnation as part of the Lower Swansea Valley copperworks belt. According to an eisteddfod entry in late Victorian times, when the devil chanced upon it, he thought he was close to home given all the fume and stink.
Ben Wright certainly enjoyed the opportunity. Getting his second hundred of the season, he made 128 not out off 113 balls including nineteen fours and four sixes. The concern that Cowbridge’s Skipper Christopher Willey might have harboured was that they were to chase a large total without their rock, Ben’s usual partner opener Tom Merilaht, who was absent nursing a hamstring injury. As it turned out, Aman Gandhi played a beautiful 98 off 105 balls, made up of 13 fours and 3 sixes. It was an outstanding innings with several thrilling drives through extra cover. After four weeks of giving glimpses of exquisite stroke play, Aman played an innings that his pedigree, T20 international cricket for Kenya, suggested he would be capable of.
The stand was 224. The two Cowbridge batsmen had begun in cautious mood, falling well short of the five runs an over required. However, by the time fifty came up they were at the ten overs mark and the hundred saw both batsmen at 51 apiece. The two hundred came up and was passed with no more attention than passing through a request stop on an express train. By now, battered by Ben and Aman, the locals had given up. Had they possessed a white flag they would have raised it.
Earlier, the Cowbridge bowling attack, without Tom Williams and Brett Hounsell, restricted the home side to 248- 9. Again, Cameron Jeffers bowled his leg breaks with miserly efficiency and was the pick of the Cowbridge attack with 2-39. It was as though the other bowlers took a hammering with Rhys Davies 0-48, Sam Russell 2-56, Aman Gandhi 1-45 and Matt Smart 2-57.
The result puts Cowbridge second, nine points adrift of Chepstow. At the start of the season, Cowbridge would have taken this position coming up to halfway. The Premier Two Championship would be worth winning in its own right, but it is also the gateway to Premier One and the fulfilment of a dream to play at the very highest level. JRB 2nd XI Report The 2nd Xl were at home to an exceptionally good Cardiff side who sat top of the league and featured many previous first team players.
Cowbridge were put into bat first on an overcast day at the Athletic Ground. After an early loss, Jonathan Webb and Theo Walker put on 33 for the 2nd wicket with both being dismissed within 2 runs of each other after looking in good form against good bowling. The middle order of Joe Russell, Naveed Younas and Will Johnson were all out with the score on 62-6. That brought Rhydian Harris and Will Harris to the crease. Rhydian hit some ferocious shots in his 26 off 37 balls to take the score to 107-7, before getting out caught at slip by the spinner. Will Harris totalled 26 in 99 balls only getting out on the final ball of the innings when trying to score a boundary. The youngster batted with determination making sure batting points were amassed and using all the overs, which frustrated Cardiff. In his innings there were also 2 fours that were eloquently put away. The 9th wicket put on 39 runs, with Will being supported by Joe Phillips (13 years of age) who scored 11 not out in 30 balls to record his highest senior score with 2 excellently struck fours.
Cowbridge scored 154-9. In reply, Cardiff got the score for 1 wicket after a loss in the first over with the score at 0-1. Joe Russell bowled a great delivery to dismiss the opening batsman, caught by Jonty behind the stumps. The hard-hitting partnership of 159 by Kirtley and Kett of Cardiff saw them home after 24 overs. Will Harris was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 6-2-20-0 with Cardiff only scoring 3.33 an over off him.
With a good mixture of senior and junior players, the future looks bright for Cowbridge. They have now competed against the top 2 sides of the division in the last 2 weeks and gave a good account of themselves. Next week the 2nd Xl is away at St. Fagans. Andrew Walker 12th June Reports 1st XI Report TOM’S TON SETS UP BIG WIN A Tom Merilaht century was the basis of Cowbridge 1st XI’s home victory by sixty-three runs over Gorseinon on Saturday. It was a particularly sweet success for Cowbridge - there has been a feeling that there was a score to settle going back to 2018.
This air of unfinished business had hung over the fixture since the visitors had won the last game played between the two clubs in 2018. Having lost that game at Gorseinon, Cowbridge had to settle for the league runners up spot by just six points. Most galling was that later that season, Cowbridge had been denied the opportunity to win a championship decider by a late August monsoon.
Saturday could not have been more different. The Athletic Ground looked at its splendid best bathed in glorious warm sunshine. Just like last week it would be a good toss to win, fifty overs in the field with temperatures in the eighties is no fun for a team batting second. However; it was the perfect backdrop for Cowbridge’s famed pair of openers, Tom Merilaht and Ben Wright to provide a perfect start.
This they did with some glorious stroke play. Ben showed that he had lost none of the class that gave him eighty-four first class appearances for Glamorgan. It seemed to take everyone by surprise when on 66 he was caught. However, Tom continued in his unflustered way. It is not often that the artful nudger gives his wicket away and once he had settled in he provided the rock that the later batsmen could anchor to. Tom’s century, his fourteenth, took a good deal of courage as he pulled a hamstring when he had scored eighty.
Of the rest of the batsmen Aman Ghandi gave a further glimpse of his undoubted ability by getting in but again failing to make it out of the teens. The skipper, Chris Willey, made an impressive thirty-eight. Although when the openers were together a score in excess of three hundred seemed possible, the Cowbridge total of two hundred and sixty-six seemed highly satisfactory.
Gorseinon’s reply began in a positive mode with Keiron Howells, one of the league’s leading run scorers, scoring twenty-four. With the score at thirty-seven in quick time, Howells was then caught behind off Tom Williams. This caused Howells to behave in a petulant and unwelcome fashion, declining to accept the decision of the Umpire. Eventually Howells left the field of play but much to the amusement of the Cowbridge supporters he carried on his tirade from the team encampment.
Thereafter the Cowbridge bowling saw to it that the visitors scoring rate declined and they collapsed from thirty seven for one to sixty-five for five. Despite the lower order restoring some dignity to the score, the last three wickets fell for less than ten runs. This win puts the leading league positions Ynystawe 91, Chepstow 89, Cowbridge 81, Clydach 77. Cowbridge play Ynystawe next Saturday away and will welcome Clydach in a fortnight. That will be halfway through the season, but for Cowbridge it will be the results over the next two weeks that will count. JRB
2nd XI Report WHAT A DAY FOR THE SECONDS On Saturday, Cowbridge 2nd XI played on the main pitch at Newport with Cowbridge put into field. After some great opening bowling, Newport were reduced to 8-2. At that point, there was a long stoppage whereby the Newport captain wanted both his player umpires out in the middle. This was agreed by both captains where Cowbridge would also have 2 of their team for their innings. This created a tense atmosphere throughout the game.
The 3rd wicket was given LBW after 2 others were declined by the Newport umpires. After being 198-7, Newport accumulated 277 all out. There number 4 scoring 89 but was very fortunate throughout the innings. Another three LBWs were turned down as well as a run out. Newport only batted for 38.2 overs with Tona Riley 7.2-0-56-3, Joe Phillips 4-0-25-1, John Gilbert 8-0-52-3 and Martin Jennings 5-0-31-2. There was a great caught and bowled taken by John Gilbert which was celebrated by the whole team.
The Cowbridge innings started well in hot conditions. Umar Rafique and Jonathan Webb getting 23. That brought Theo Walker to the crease in the 6th over. Jonathan Webb scoring 25 and unfortunately departing with a cut shot that was caught low after looking in excellent form with the score on 50. That brought Jack Cropper to the crease in the 14th over. After a cautious start we ended up seeing one of the best partnerships at the club. Theo Walker was 21 off 85 balls and accelerated to 76 off 119 balls. Jack Cropper scoring at a run a ball to 50 and then accelerating to 135 not out off 98 balls. The partnership for the 3rd wicket was 206 between the youngster and his u13 coach. Theo was being intimidated by Newport to get him out early in his innings before the 12-year-old reversed this when accelerating with excellent sweep shots and cover drives to senior spinners and fast bowlers with Newport not knowing where to place fielders. Theo hit 10x4s in total with some that were one bouncers. The fast bowlers even bowled beamers, which were 3 in total at his chest and head with one duly removed from the attack, where on the free ball after being hit and needing assistance he smashed the next for 4 to mid-wicket. Jack played excellent shots throughout his innings and lost 3 balls straight over the bowler’s head. He amassed 18x4s and 4x6s in his innings with most being orthodox front foot shots. The pair played excellently together.
Needing 78 off 5 overs they went at the required run rate in the next 3 overs but unfortunately fell short in the last over by 14 runs. Theo was finally out with 3 balls left of the innings caught at mid-wicket and went off to a standing ovation. Nav faced 1 ball batting at 5 watching the 3rd wicket partnership for 31 overs in his pads, with Cowbridge finishing getting max bowling and batting points scoring 263-3.
What a day for the seconds who unfortunately fell just short in dramatic fashion. Andrew Walker 5th June 2021 Report A MAGNIFICENT MATCH
Rarely since it opened in 1896 can the Athletic Ground been the scene of a sporting encounter such as the one played out on Saturday. Having posted a seemingly impregnatable total of 324-4 Cowbridge finally fought off a determined challenge to beat Malpas by 20 runs. The result tells us only part of the story for it was a tale of two magnificent individual innings, a record breaking stand and record aggregates. The Club record for 5th wicket partnership was broken by Ben Wright and Heath Webb at 180 and the biggest aggregate of runs in a match was 636. However, the match was not settled until the last two overs, when Cowbridge had the game won and that was seven hours after this classic had started.
Hugh Williams had prepared a belter of a pitch and the multi striped outfield was like glass. The Volunteer Gardeners’ hanging baskets and flower borders set off the gazebos which caused the visiting umpires from Cheltenham to pay fulsome tribute to the way the ground had been transformed into one of the finest in club cricket. A perfect setting was matched by perfect weather and Chris Willey had no hesitation in electing to bat.
Cowbridge were without Tom Williams and Dan Frost from the previous week and gave debuts to batsman Keiron Allison and opening bowler Riley Tona.
The Cowbridge innings got off to an excellent start with the old firm of Wright and Merilaht putting on 62 before Tom was LBW for 27 and the score was 62. The middle order failed to provide Wright with a solid partner as Aman Gandi (13), Chris Willey (15) and Keiron Allinson (14) all failed to establish themselves after promising starts. However, this period of Malpas’ advantage was brought to an abrupt end when the 18 year old Llandaff Cathedral School pupil Heath Webb joined Ben Wright and the fireworks began.
The pair proceeded to put on 180 for the fifth wicket breaking the record for the fifth wicket previously held by John Bevan and Richard James of 120 set in 1970 against Pontllanfraith. This was a record was not so much smashed as obliterated. Indeed, as the innings came to its end Wright took total command and the pair put on 71 of just four overs. Wright ended on 164 not out, Webb on 46. The Cowbridge innings had amassed 324 for 4. Malpas would need to score the biggest total chasing a target that had been reached at Cowbridge batting second since the club began league cricket in 1970.
And they very nearly did it. A quite superb innings of 174 from the Malpas opener Ryan Ward was the cornerstone of a gallant reply. When the target run rate needed of 6.4 per over rose to 8.5 at 253-4 the challenge stuttered as two wickets fell. Nevertheless, Ryan Ward continued to keep the momentum going; despite the exhaustion he must have been feeling Malpas were still in the game and as the total required fell with two lucrative overs in the 41st and 40nd as long as he was there.
The game seemed on a knife edge, Malpas were getting their required 8.5 an over but then at 292 the seemingly indefatigable Ward finally fell to the experienced Matt Smart. It had been one of the finest innings seen at The Athletic Ground but to have witnessed two such innings was a privilege for the large group of spectators who rose and applause to Ryan Ward as he returned to the pavilion.
That was the effective end of the Malpas challenge as when Cowbridge had a lead of 33 with just two overs to go it was to all intents and purposes game over. Of the Cowbridge bowlers Rhys Davies 1-41 and Bermudian international leg spinner Cameron Jeffrers 1-49 kept the scoring rate down but it was Matt Smart whose spell of 3-74 was crucial. Aman Gandi also took three wickets and Riley Tona showed enough to suggest he will be a useful acquisition.
The day was ours and the points reflected the victory. The table of Division Two of The South Wales Premier League is now starting to take shape as the effect of the early season cancellations are having less of an influence as more matches are played. It is now after six weeks as follows:
Ynystawe 74, Chepstow 72, Cowbridge 61, Clydach 58, Penarth 57, Newbridge 48, Malpas 46, Gorseinon 46, Ynysygerwyn 41, Carmarthen 36 JRB 2nd June T20 Cowbridge T20 team won against Fontygary wearing their new club kit. 29th May Report After a long and miserable early season, Cowbridge’s 1st XI felt the sun on their backs and achieved their first victory in the South Wales Premier League. The scene of their victory was the Gwent valley town of Newbridge and their margin of victory was twenty-eight runs. Cowbridge made 183-7 and their hosts were bowled out for 157 having seemingly been coasting to victory needing just 40 with five wickets standing. The last five were dismissed for just 13 runs as the excellent Cowbridge bowling and fielding took control.
Despite having been founded in 1862, there was no history of Newbridge and Cowbridge playing each other until last season. The neighbouring rugby club enjoyed First Class status and international players including Dennis Hughes and Kenny Waters and one British Lion in Don Hayward. However, the town will forever be associated as the base of World Champion boxer Joe Calzaghe. Indeed, the cricket club could have done with Joe’s determination as they slumped to defeat.
The architect of the victory was once again the Laird of Llanmihagel, Tom Williams, whose 4-28 put extreme pressure on the Newbridge batsmen, none of whom scored more than 27 and for whom Glamorgan’s reserve wicket keeper, Alex Horton, and former all-rounder, Ryan Watkins, under performed.
It was also noteworthy that nine of the wickets to fall were caught, two of them particularly good efforts from Dan Frost and Rhys Davies.
Earlier, Cowbridge had set a par score which was commendable given the loss of two of their most esteemed batsmen in Ben Wright and Aman Ghandi with 19 on the board. Nevertheless, Chris Willey (36), Tom Merilaht (49) and Heath Webb (29) all scored well. Cowbridge’s reward was to be placed third in the Division Two table, but the picture that gives is a highly rain influenced one. The leaders, Ynystawe, have missed just one game, and the ninth club, Carmarthen, have only played one. Nevertheless, it is better to be towards the top than the bottom, even at this early stage of the season.
Cowbridge 2nd XI were at home to Malpas, who won the toss and elected to bowl. Jonty Webb and Theo Walker (u13) kept the opening attack at bay. Young Mr Walker demonstrated maturity with the bat, making an impressive 31. A few cheap wickets were lost in the middle overs before Naveed Younas made a quick 18. Joe Russell and Will Johnson (u13) batted out the rest of the innings, finishing on 31* and 18* respectively. Cowbridge finished on 162-5 off 45.
Joe Phillips (u13) and Will Harris (u17) opened the bowling and restricted the Malpas batsmen during the first 10 overs. Whilst Joe picked up a wicket with a cracking delivery, Cowbridge were unable to take anymore during the middle of the innings and the game began to slip away. Later in the innings, both Martin Jennings and Matt Wood picked up their first Cowbridge Cricket Club wickets. Martin Jennings also provided some excellent fielding for a run out; a one handed throw off the ground for a direct hit. Despite these highlights, Malpas finished 166-4 off 35.
Notwithstanding the result, there were a lot of positives on display. This was a young Cowbridge side that played well and will take confidence from the performance. 22nd May Report You have to go back to 1983 to find a season when the weather caused such havoc as it is doing this year. After the rain affected matches against Penarth on the opening Saturday, neither of the senior XIs have managed to get a ball bowled. That’s six matches. Last Saturday, Carmarthen Wanderers were due to visit The Athletic Ground but they did not travel as it was clear that however strong the drying conditions, they would not dry the saturated area of the Bear Field end.
The one side that has been lucky enough to play three matches is Ynystawe, who lead the South Wales Premier League Second Division with 49 points. Cowbridge are seventh with 24 points, the same total as Newbridge who Cowbridge visit next Saturday. It could turn out to an important game at the end of the season. 15th May Report THE MONSOON COMETH…. The cricket reports for this season are more meteorological than sporting. After a number of years which have been blessed by good weather, the South Wales climate has re-asserted itself.
The coldest April for a great many years has given way to the wettest start to May in recent memory. The impact on the men’s senior teams has been significant. Matches against Penarth were spoilt by rain and that has been it. Since then, two games for both the First XI and Second XI have been abandoned without a ball bowled. The home game against Carmarthen scheduled for Saturday must be in some doubt even almost a week away. The ground looks wonderful but don’t tread on it without wellies.
One thing that has been avoidable is that at Ynysygerwn on Saturday, the Umpires abandoned the game and left as soon as possible having collected their expenses. Their determination not to wait and see how the weather treated the Neath valley in the period leading up to the latest start time left both teams disappointed. One of the maxims of the ECB is ‘Get the game on’. It appears that it has yet to register in all parts of the game. 8th May Report CANCELLED 1st May Report COWBRIDGE MAKE DEBUT IN PREMIER LEAGUE A match that had been awaited from 1999 finally allowed Cowbridge to take her place in the SWPCL where Penarth squeezed home as narrow victors by two wickets. At 12.30pm all was set. One of the club’s legends, Douglas Davies who first played for Cowbridge in 1951, had presented club caps, the ground was in excellent order and the begonias had been planted. All was ready. Then just as the umpires were set to step over the line, so the rain chose to fall for the next hour and a half. Cowbridge‘s Skipper Chris Willey had lost the toss and unsurprisingly Penarth had put Cowbridge in.
This was of advantage to Penarth as in a shorter game, 39 overs in this case, there would be a significant bonus in knowing your target. Nevertheless, Cowbridge’s old firm of openers, Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht began in an enterprising vein, 42 in quick time before the loss of Wright for 22. By the time Merilaht (27) went it was 85 for 3. A lovely cameo of 18 from Aman Ghandhi warmed the teammates and spectators’ imaginations of plenty of elegant runs from the Kenyan student. What was needed was someone to take control and this came in the form of anther debutant, Brett Hounsell, a Cardiff Met student from Zimbabwe who had been recommended by Brad Evans, now resident in Harare. Brett batted as though the Cowbridge stage was his own and his 63 not out was the innings of the day.
172-6 was always going to be competitive and although three wickets from Hounsell kept a check on the visitors’ progress, it always seemed that Penarth were just ahead of the game. With just thirteen balls to go, Penarth got home but the Cowbridge side have done themselves little harm in their engagement on Saturday.