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2018 Cricket season preview

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THE Pembroke County Cricket Club season gets under way on Sunday (Apr 22) with a full programme of fixtures scheduled across the five divisions.

The season, set over eighteen fixtures, has several new rules invoked; the biggest innovation sees sides batting first possibly able to gain 29 points even if they don’t win the game. Pembrokeshire has traditionally rewarded winning sides with 30 points, 20 for winning and ten bonus points, five available, one for every two wickets taken and then up to five points for batting, in the top divisions at 40 runs and in the lower divisions 30 runs.

Current holders of the James Morris Memorial Cup as first division champions are Carew, who were controversially demoted following the end of the 2017 season shenanigans on the final day, which also saw skipper Brian Hall banned from the game for the 2018 season, half of which is suspended.

With the village sides absence from the top echelon, close neighbours Cresselly have moved swiftly to strengthen their side, the arrival of Johnston all-rounder Dan Sutton the key acquisition. Skipper Neilson Cole will have an array of batting talent to go alongside the George Cole Cup winner, who scored 936 runs last season for Johnston, 318 more than new team mate Iwan Izzard in second place.

Sutton should open the innings with Adam Chandler, who himself rattled 469 runs, the Doves filling their top order places with veterans Simon Cole, Phil Williams, former Glamorgan opening batsman Dan Cherry (319 runs from 6 innings), Alex Bayley and Matthew Morgan, returning home from London.

Their bowling options will utilise Sutton and last season’s opening pair of Neil Gregory (25 wickets) and Dan James (20 wickets) alongside Tom Arthur on a track prepared by groundsman Dick ‘The Dog’ Arthur. Cole will also have a spin from Simon Cole another veteran in Ryan Lewis (20 wickets) and Mike Shaw. Steffan ‘Boxer’ Jenkins leads the second XI in the division below, their first fixture an intriguing one as they travel down the hill to Carew, with his sister Megan Arthur leading the third team challenge from the picturesque Castle Ground.

Whitland skipper Iestyn Scourfield has also recruited well for the 2018 season as former players Steffan James and Owain Evans have returned to the fold from South Wales Premier League side Carmarthen Wanderers.

Whitland – Duggie Morris Cup winners 2017

James will become available on his return from University in Leeds by the end of May, with Evans slotting into the top order and doubling up as wicketkeeper for Scourfield, who took 26 wickets last season.  This will compensate for the loss of all-rounder Scott Newton, on a year sabbatical travelling around Australia.

Another all-rounder, Jonathan Thomas (356 runs) will be a rock around which their game plan is built once rugby commitments pass as the seasons overlap, alongside Matthew ‘Titch’ Davies who will be understudy to his skipper bringing experience with his medium pacers and batting.

Scourfield can also call upon other veterans Wayne Howells (389 runs), Wil Spreadbury (375 runs), Dylan Blain and Greg Sleep. Supporting Scourfield with the new ball maybe his cousin Gethin, after a successful season last year. Wayne Jones continues as skipper of the stiffs in the second division and veteran former Club Captain Mark Lee leads the third team in division five.

Neyland will be led once again by County skipper Sean Hannon from his wicket-keeping berth, with Patrick Bellerby (445 runs), Paul Murray (434 runs) and Ashley Sutton, when rugby commitments allow the key run gatherers, alongside youngsters Geraint Rees and all-rounder Scott Jones.

Nathan Banner will be an asset if he is available for all the games as Hannon will continue to have veteran Andrew Millers talents at his disposal, as he topped the bowling chart last season with 37 wickets with his canny off spin, supported by another key all-rounder Nick Koomen who took 19 wickets in 2017.

Seamer Henry Durrant should share the new ball with seventeen year old Jamie Smith, who burst onto the scene last season. Bellerby is also a top class fielder for the all whites who work hard and pride themselves on their high standards, as he snaffled six catches in the Harrison Allen Final victory last year.

Their 2nd XI will again be captained by Paul Miller and the third team by Sam Laugharne, grandson of first team scorer John. Another club stalwart Ian Milsom is lead groundsman at the Athletic Ground, son Ben Mathias-Milsom assisting and wicket preparation down to Rob Bellerby.

Haverfordwest, the oldest Club in Wales have batsman Dan Potter at the helm for the sixth season, with all-rounder Simon Holliday committing himself to the Club once more following much pre-season debate on his unhappiness with the wicket.

Former assistant groundsman Martin Thomas has returned to nurture the Racecourse grounds, as Wales XL (40 Club) skipper Holliday (453 runs and 23 wickets) will have another veteran in Ben Field at the top of the order alongside young all-rounder Kieron O’Connor.

The availability for a full season of Adam Raymond and Nigel Delaney is doubtful giving Sean Williams the opportunity to cement a place in the absence early season of teenager Nikhil Mathias and University student Dan Cole. The opening attack should feature Adam James after a curtailed 2017 through injury and left arm quickie Johnnie White, who took 25 wickets in his first season in the top echelon.

Adam James: Returning from injury for Haverfordwest

The opening bowlers’ brother, Ashley James is missing the start of the campaign due to work commitments so much of the workload will be borne by new Club Treasurer Chris Phillips and youngster Archie Thomas, as veteran all-rounder Nigel Morgan has been pencilled in to lead the second team. Paul Maggs will once again skipper the third team in Division three and Jason Phillips will be turning the spuds as skipper of the fourth team, where he hopes son William will become a regular, in division five.

Kilgetty have lost last season’s skipper Ian Poole on a regular basis, as he concentrates on his fitness for the forthcoming inaugural Over 50’s World Cup in Australia. New skipper will be Ross Hardy, who will open the innings and perform with the ball having taken 18 wickets last season.

Young all-rounder Kurtis Marsh became a key player at Kingsmoor on their return to Division 1, scoring 457 runs and taking 18 wickets with his off spin, which earnt him a deserved County call up and he will also be a key player if they wish to avoid the worries of last season.

Former Wales age group opening bowler Jack Parkinson, when rugby commitments allow and Kyle Marsh will be names on the team sheet, alongside new wicketkeeper Dafydd Bevan who has moved down A477 from Carew to take over from the gloves from Geoff Marsh. The Ground will again be manicured by Ian Poole, with all-rounder Andrew Evans leading the second team in Division 5.

Lawrenny will once again have opening batsman Brad McDermot-Jenkins as skipper hoping to build on his accumulation of 304 runs last season, alongside Joe Kidney, the left hander plundering 301 runs at the top of the order.

Simon Cole: In action for Lawrenny last season

The skippers dad Ian Jenkins will continue for another season alongside fellow veteran and former Wales opening bowler Rob Williams (18 wickets), Steve ‘Clew’ Lewis and wicketkeeper / batsman James Buckle. Simon ‘Chiefy’ Cole will be the heartbeat of the side alongside all-rounders Harry Thomas and teenager Ryan Morton, a name to watch as he establishes himself in the side, alongside Matthew Lewis. The second team, Alec Colley Cup winners last season will continue to be skippered by veteran wicketkeeper / batsman Huw Griffiths with the ground work undertaken by first team scorer Malcolm Thomas and Chris Jenkins.

St Ishmaels have a new skipper for the season, top order batsman Phil Cockburn (395 runs) taking over from Peter Bradshaw (376 runs), who will continue to open the batting for the peninsular village side. Veteran Andrew Williams will feature heavily with bat and ball for ‘Tish’ alongside Jonathan and Andrew Pawlett and Andrew Palmer who both took 29 wickets last season.

Daniel Flynn, third in the County bowling charts with 34 wickets will lead the spin attack alongside all-rounder Daniel Howells, stepping up as number two to Cockburn. Jordan Millich should make a mark as he has become accustomed to rigours of the first division and the arrival of talented twins Harry and Jack Nicholls from rivals Herbrandston will strengthen the side, Jack taking the gloves for the ensuing season. Veteran all-rounder Robbie Thomas leads the second team in division four, with Mel Williams the leading light on the Recreation ground alongside Kevin Bowen.

Johnston have lost Sutton to Cresselly and last season’s skipper Lee Summons (532 runs) has stood down from post but remains with the Club, alongside his father John. All-rounder Chris Fitzpatrick has taken the helm but will be without veteran bowler Richard James due to work commitments and possibly his son Gary will also miss the majority of the season.

Second team skipper and groundsman Steve James son Nathan will be thrust to the forefront of the side alongside youngster Lewis Boswell and his elder brother, wicketkeeper Liam, the team sheet also holding the names of brothers Ross and Daniel Dewstowe, both of whom could make an impact in the top division alongside Chris Goodridge.

Newly promoted sides Llangwm and Burton have stuck with the captains which led the promotion charge from last season. Burton will have Richard Jones chirping instructions from behind the wicket to cajole the best out of veteran opening bowler Jon Scale (22 wickets), with Luke Hayman also taking 22 wickets last season to go with his 347 runs.

Key all-rounder Morgan Scale’s off spinners took 23 wickets and he stroked 347 runs with the Davies brothers, James and Jon featuring in the attack for Jones. Top run gatherer Jonathan Venables (369 runs) alongside Hayman’s younger brother Toby on return from injury and opening batsman Martyn James (327 runs) will form the basis from which Burton can score heavily. Dan Griffiths will again skipper the second team in division four, with his grandad Brian ensuring the ground is in tip top condition alongside Dai Goodridge.

Dan Jones Cup winners Llangwm have bowler Ollie Davies (28 wickets) leading the side, with former skipper Joseph Kiff (414 runs) acting as his deputy. All-rounder Chris Inward is available all season after his foray to Carmarthen Wanderers last year as he, Mathew Kiff (33 wickets) and teenage all-rounder Noah Davies (29 wickets and 447 runs) will vie for the new ball.

Veteran wicketkeeper Wil Beresford (430 runs) will open the innings with Davies, as top order batsman James Venables returns to full fitness.  Richard Brock and his cousins Luke and Huw complete a potentially strong batting line up alongside all-rounder Phil Llewellyn (26 wickets).

Youngsters Toby Asson, when he returns from University and Ewan Griffiths should have a golden opportunity to perform as the Pill Parks side have veteran bowler Sean Thomas leading the second team in Division four after promotion last season. Ian Gow will continue as head groundsman assisted by Julian Platten, new club vice chairman Simon Richards, with Jeremy Brock.

County Club Chairman Paul Webb said: “We wish all as cricketers, umpires, scores and supporters the very best for the forthcoming season, where cricket will be the winner. I’m hoping we have competitive and spirited matches across all five divisions as we provide cricket for 49 teams.”

Paul Webb: Wished everyone well for 2018

Webb, in his second year as Chairman of the County Club, plies his trade with Cresselly and is also skipper of the Welsh Over 50’s team, will continue to attend as many matches and grounds as he did in 2017, hoping he and his wife Janice receive a friendly welcome.

He will also be a County Selector for the forthcoming season where Pembroke County have fixtures arranged starting on Sunday (May 13) when the Wales XL (40 Club) are welcomed to Kilgetty.

The week after the South Wales League come to Lawrenny with the return fixture at Llandysul on Sunday (June 10).

Pembroke Dock play host to Wales U17’s on Thursday (July 5), Glamorgan 2nds making the trip to Cresselly on Tuesday (Aug 7) and the MCC being entertained at Whitland on Wednesday (Aug 15).

The prestigious Harrison Allen Bowl Final will be held on Saturday (July 28) at Cresselly with the other major cup competition finals being the D R Morris Cup: Sunday (July 15) at Burton CC, Alec Coley Cup: Sunday (Aug 12) at Pembroke CC, Ormond Youth Cup: Sunday (Aug 26) at Carew CC and the Ormond Youth Plate: Friday (Aug 3), at Lawrenny CC.

The postponed 2017 Jubilee Cup final between Harrison Allen Bowl winners Neyland and Division one Winners Carew will take place at the Athletic Ground, Neyland on Sunday (June 17).

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Pembrokeshire claim Wynne Lloyd Final victory

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THE Wynne Lloyd Inter-District Youth Cup Final went the way of Pembrokeshire who beat Ceredigion 36-28 in a thrilling game at Parc Y Scarlets on Sunday (May 20).

It was first blood to Pembrokeshire who scored the opening try of the game through Jack Tucker but the conversion was wide.

Ceredigion then answered back as Iestyn Evans scored the try before Dylan Morgan added the extras to put Ceredigion 7-5 ahead.

The action was back and forth and Pembrokeshire soon went back ahead as Gino Setaro (Whitland) scored and Dan Evans added the extra two points.

Pembrokeshire began to pull away as Jack Broadhurst (Narberth) scored their third try of the game with the conversion going in off the post from Evans.

Geraint Powell (Narberth) then increased Pembrokeshire’s lead with Evans again sending the conversion through the posts to give his side a 26-7 half time lead.

Ceredigion fought back at the beginning of the second half as Iwan Bowden scored the try and Dylan Morgan added the extras.

Morgan then scored a try of his own and converted to bring Ceredigion back to within five points with the score at 26-21.

They then took the lead as Dylan Davies scored the try that brought them level and Dylan Evans then added the extra two points giving Ceredigion a 28-26 lead.

Whitland’s Dan Evans put the Pembrokeshire side back ahead with a penalty from 40 metres out and they led by a single point with time running out.

As Ceredigion pushed for a late try that would have seen them claim victory, it was Pembrokeshire who got the final score of the game as Prop Cole Barry (Haverfordwest), who had been on the field for eighty minutes, went over for the try and Evans put the seal on the victory with another conversion.

Nigel Owens was the man in the middle for the game and afterwards he Tweeted: “A pleasure to referee Ceredigion Yth 28 v Pembrokeshire Yth 36. Top quality game of rugby with some class players on both sides. Well done all, a credit to rugby.”

Also running the line were Pembrokeshire’s Thomas Carew and Ross Grieve.

Ceredigion Coach Justin Lloyd said: “It was a great occasion to be a part of for Ceredigion as we’ve only been set up for a few years and we’ve done really well to get to the final.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game against a strong Pembrokeshire side but I am super proud of the performance.

“Any neutrals who were watching the game would have seen a game played in Scarlets style. Both teams weren’t afraid to take any risks.”

Pembrokeshire coach Kenny Davies added: “It was a hell of a game of rugby and a great advert for west Wales rugby. Playing at Parc Y Scarlets with Nigel Owens being the referee made it an excellrnt occasion for all involved.

“We started the game well and were leading 26-7 at half time but they came back into it to lead. We then had a 40metre penalty from Whitland’s Dan Evans and we finished strongly to win it.

“Thanks to everyone involved, including Ceredigion, and I hope the players got a lot out of it”.

Photos by Darren Harries

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Cricket: Division 1 round up

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TOP of the table Neyland earned a fifth win of the season as they declared on 258-3 before bowling Johnston out for 72 on Saturday (May 16).

Nick Koomen and Henry Durrant were in unstoppable form as they both finished on unbeaten centuries before they were called in.

Johnston struggled in their reply as Andrew Miller took five wickets for the loss of 19 runs while Gary Lloyd also took two wickets for the loss of 21 runs.

 

WHITLAND scraped home by the finest of margins in their game at Burton as they reached their target with just one wicket still in hand.

Burton batted first and posted an excellent total of 220-4 from their 45 overs thanks in part to Richard James who top scored with 95 and Toby Hayman who batted well for his 50.

Whitland’s Matthew Davies took two wickets but conceded 65 runs while Steffan Jones (1-44) and Iestyn Scourfield (1-43) were the other wicket takers.

In reply, Burton took wickets at important moments as Jonathan Strawbridge was dismissed for 38 when he could have scored more.

Morgan Scale did his best to derail the Whitland innings with three wickets for the loss of 42 runs while Johnnie Scale (2-31) and Luke Hayman (2-34) both took two wickets.

Steffan Jones top scored for the visitors with 40 but it was Whitland’s final pair that were the heroes as they guided their side over the line with Matthew Davies scoring the winning runs.

 

CRESSELLY eased to a nine wicket win over St Ishmaels thanks to a half century from Adam Chandler.

Openers Peter Bradshaw and Jack Nicholas made a good start for the visitors putting on 35 runs for the first wicket. However, Tish soon slipped to 39-3 and Bradshaw and Harry Nicholas had to steady the ship and shared 45 runs for the fourth wicket in a good partnership.

Nicholas, who had hit four fours in a knock of 33, was then trapped leg before by Simon Cole. Bradshaw was finally removed as he was bowled by Matthew Lewis for a score of 42.

Lewis then took over as he had Palmer caught by Iwan Izzard for 19 and Kevin Bowen caught and bowled for a score of 6. The Cresselly bowled finished with excellent figures of 4-28.

Daniel Sutton and Adam Chandler shared 62 runs for the first wicket partnership as they made a good start.

Sutton was caught off the bowling of Jordan Milich for a score of 34 but Tish were unable to take any further wickets as Chandler (62 not out) and Simon Cole (36 not out) guided Cresselly to their target in the twentieth over.

 

HAVERFORDWEST remain unbeaten in Division 1 as they beat Kilgetty by seven wickets.

Kilgetty batted first but were all out for 139 as Johnny White (4-16) took four wickets before Town reached their target with time to spare.

Kurtis Marsh top scored for the visitors with 41 while Kyle Marsh added 26 runs while Lee Summons claimed three wickets for the loss of 62 runs for the home side.

Top run scorer Simon Holliday scored 62 before Lee Summons guided Town home, finishing unbeaten on 22.

 

LLANGWM kept their 100% home league record intact with a convincing 59 run victory over Lawrenny at Pill Parks with teenager Phil Llewellyn producing his maiden century.

It was a high scoring game as the home side blasted 276-2 with Llewellyn top scoring on 116. Noah Davies made 46 while Matthew Kiff finished not out on an excellent score of 83.

Brad McDermott Jenkins and Rob Williams claimed the wickets for Lawrenny but they struggled to keep the scoring down.

Williams then scored 60 in reply while Simon Cole added 69 runs but Llangwm’s bowlers were in superb form. Noah Davies took three wickets for the loss of 56 runs while Matthew Kiff also took three wickets.

Ollie Davies (2-37), Luke Brock (1-46) and Llewellyn (1-20) also took valuable wickets as they claimed an excellent win.

 

ON Saturday, May 26, Burton take on Cresselly while Kilgetty are at home as they take on leaders Neyland.

Lawrenny host Johnston, Tish play Llangwm and Whitland are at home as they take on Haverfordwest.

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Division 1 review: Neyland on top

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WITH four wins from four, Neyland are currently top of Division 1 of the Pembrokeshire League going into the fifth round of games.

Last week (May 12) it was Paul Murray who again starred for Neyland scoring 76 not out to help his team to a five wicket win over Cresselly.

Adam Chandler top scored for the visitors with 64 while Iwan Izzard scored 31 and Dan Sutton added another 30 runs as Cresselly posted 167-6.

Andrew Miller took four of the six wickets to fall and finished with figures of 4-34.

Nathan Banner added 37 runs for the home side but it was Murray who could not be stopped as Neyland earned a fourth victory in a row.

SIMON Holliday took his tally of runs for the season to 398 as he finished not out on 81 to help Haverfordwest to a nine wicket victory over Johnston on Saturday (May 12).

The in-form batsman also took two wickets as Johnston were bowled out for 125.

Johnston batted first after winning the toss but they were reduced to 68-8 with only four of their batsmen making it into double figures. Some late hitting also made sure they got past 100 runs.

Lee Summons also finished not out with a knock of 34 that included four fours and a six. Holliday hit 12 fours and a six in his innings.

Lee Summons bowling for Haverfordwest at Johnston

LLANGWM had to hold on for a draw in their game with Kilgetty on Saturday, as they fell short of their target.

Kilgetty batted first and made an excellent total of 225-5 from their allotted overs with Kurtis Marsh top scoring on 82 for the home side.

Ross Hardy also played well for his knock of 40 while Jack Parkinson finished well as he was not out on 51.

Will Beresford scored 39 and Richard Brock finished not out on 41 but it was not enough for Llangwm as they finished thirty runs short of their target.

Parkinson also performed well with the ball in hand as he took three wickets for the loss of 27 runs.

WHITLAND were denied an outright win by a stubborn St Ishmaels last wicket partnership as their game ended in a draw on Saturday.

Batting first, the Borderers were soon in trouble at 23 for 3. It was then that captain Iestyn Scourfield and Mathew Davies came together in a stand of 128.

Scourfield had 6 fours in his knock of 56, while Davies had 12 fours in his 80 not out. Nathan Evans gave the innings late impetus with a hard-hitting 35.

Leading the bowling attack for Tish was Andrew Palmer with 3 for 40.

After the interval, St Ishmaels lost wickets at regular intervals with only Dan Howells (35), Andrew Palmer (27) and Harry Nicholls (15 not out) getting into double figures.

Whitland were, however, unable to take the final wicket to gain the win, despite the best efforts of left-armer Ben Harvey with 4 for 27 and spinner Dylan Blain with 4 for 45.

The visitors finished well short of their target with 134 for 9.

LAWRENNY earned their second win of the season on Saturday, as they beat Burton by 27 runs.

The home side batted first but were all out for 158 following some good bowling from Burton. Lawrenny then produced a similarly excellent bowling display to pick up the victory.

Harry Thomas top scored for his side with 39 runs while Simon Cole was not far behind on 38.

Rob Williams finished not out on 27 as he helped his side post a total which they would have been confident of defending.

Burton’s Morgan Scale was the pick of the bowlers as he took four wickets for the loss of 27 runs.

In reply, Richard Jones top scored for the visitors with 37 runs while Morgan Scale added a further 27 runs.

That was as good as it got for Burton as Rob Williams bowled excellently to take four wickets for the loss of only 21 runs. Harry Thomas also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-21.

On Saturday (May 19), Burton are at home to Whitland and Cresselly will look to bounce back from defeat last week when they take on St Ishmaels.

Haverfordwest take on Kilgetty, Llangwm face Lawrenny at Pill Parks while leaders Neyland take on bottom side Johnston.

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