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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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Haverfordwest face Whitland in Alec Colley Final

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HAVERFORDWEST will play Whitland in the Final of the Alec Colley Cup after both sides won their respective semi-finals this week.

On Tuesday (Jul 17), Whitland took on Carew in Johnston and after winning the toss they invited Carew to bat.

They lost Luke Hicks early on when he was bowled by Iestyn Scourfield but Scott Richard and Brian Hall shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Richards made 16 before he was bowled by Wayne Howells.

Hall then shared another good stand of 53 with James Hinchcliffe as they helped Carew past 100 runs.

Hall hit eight fours in a knock of 54 from 42 balls but he was then caught by Conor Bowen off the bowling of Jack Bowen.

That left Carew on 106-3 and seemingly on course for a big total. Hinchcliffe scored 29 but he was then bowled by Jack Bowen.

Rob Hicks added 14 before being bowled by Scourfield and Dai Rees was then run out by Jack Bowen.

Jacob Knox and Morgan Grieve finished not out on scores of 3 and 6 respectively as Carew posted 147-6.

Openers Wayne Howells and Jack Bowen then got Whitland off to an excellent start to their reply as they shared 51 runs for the first wicket.

Howells hit four fours in a knock of 21 but the partnership was brought to an end when he was bowled by Rob Scourfield.

Bowen then shared another 44 runs with Iestyn Scourfield who only scored 14 before he was caught by Scott Richards off the bowling of Knox.

Ed John scored 12 as he shared another 30 runs with Bowen but John was caught and bowled by Iori Hicks.

Bowen smashed four fours and five sixes in his knock of 76 from 48 balls but he then hit the ball to James Hinchcliffe, giving Knox hi second wicket.

Adam Davies was then run out by Carl Thomas but scores of 5 not out from Martin Thomas and 12 not out from Gethin Scourfield saw Whitland into the final.

On Thursday (Jul 19), Haverfordwest took on Cresselly in Pembroke Dock.

Cresselly batted first but scored 131-9 as Scott Arthur played well despite wickets falling around him.

Chris Phillips bowled well for Town before Nitin Mathias and Dai Davies saw them into the final with some good batting.

The final will be played at Pembroke on Sunday, August 12.

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Town back on top as Neyland beat Cresselly

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THE top three in Division 1 are now separated by just four points following Saturday’s (Jul 14) results.

Haverfordwest moved back to the top of the table with a ten wicket win at home to Johnston while Neyland beat Cresselly to bring themselves back into the title race.

Johnston batted first and had it not been for a score of 65 from Hafiz Farooq, their score could have been a lot less than the 148 they posted.

Simon Holliday took four wickets for Town who then had Dai Davies and Ben Field finish unbeaten as they comfortably secured the win.

Cresselly batted first against Neyland but they were restricted to 170-9 with Simon Cole top scoring on 77.

There were three wickets for Henry Durrant who later finished not out on 20 see Neyland to victory. Andrew Miller scored 37 and Paul Murray scored 29 earlier in Neyland’s run chase.

It is the second time this season that Cresselly have been top going into the weekend’s fixtures only to find themselves knocked off top spot following a defeat.

Elsewhere, there were three centuries in the game between Llangwm and Kilgetty in a thrilling encounter at Pill Parks.

Matthew Kiff scored 105 for Llangwm in their total of 297-5 but it wasn’t enough as Ross Hardy scored 106 and Kurtis Marsh finished unbeaten on 113 to see Kilgetty to victory.

Whitland remain in fourth place after they beat St Ishmaels by 114 runs.

It was a day for the batsman as Matthew Davies finished not out on 101 while Jack Bowen added 58 runs.

That saw Whitland to an excellent total of 310-7 but Tish were unable to replicate that score. Daniel Howells did score 73 for the home side but they were eventually all out for 196.

Lawrenny earned an eighth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Burton by two wickets.

Burton batted first but were all out for 142 as Brad McDermott-Jenkins took three wickets for the visitors. Richard Jones was Burton’s top scorer with 40 runs.

Lawrenny had scores of 71 from Steve Lewis and 44 from Steve Campbell as they reached their target despite three wickets apiece from Jack Davies and Johnnie Scale.

Those results mean Haverfordwest are top of the table by a point from second placed Cresselly and by four points from Neyland.

Whitland are sixteen points behind Town in fourth place and cannot be counted out of the title race just yet.

At the other end, Johnston’s defeat means they are now 120 points from safety and with only 150 points left to play for, it seems they are destined for Division 2 cricket next season.

On Saturday (July 21), new leaders Haverfordwest are away as they take on Kilgetty. Neyland are also away as they take on Johnston while Cresselly visit St Ishmaels.

Whitland are at home to Burton and Lawrenny host Llangwm.

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Neyland hold off Kilgetty to win Duggie Morris

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NEYLAND won the Duggie Morris Cup for the fifth time in six years on Sunday (Jul 15), as they beat Kilgetty by 66 runs in an entertaining final.

Kilgetty had been set a target of 154 to win the match but some excellent bowling from Neyland saw them finish short on 87-9.

Earlier, it was Kilgetty who won the toss and chose to bowl first, giving their opponents the chance to set the first score.

The game was played at the home of Burton Cricket Club with excellent weather conditions and a good crowd was also in attendance.

However, Kilgetty soon had the upper hand as Kurtis Marsh caught Ashley Sutton on a score of 10 to give Jack Parkinson his first wicket.

Paul Murray only scored 13 for Neyland before being trapped leg before by Kurtis Marsh and he then bowled Andrew Miller for a score of 8.

Nick Koomen scored 12 before being caught by Richard Cope off the bowling of Toby Poole and Jack Parkinson claimed his second wicket when he had Patrick Bellerby caught by Poole for a score of 17.

Neyland were struggling to find the runs as Scott Jones only scored 6 before he was caught by Marsh for Parkinson’s third.

Henry Durrant offered some resistance with a score of 24 that included a big six but he was then bowled by Marsh.

Kyle Marsh then had Sean Hannon caught by Parkinson for a score of 13 and George Evans was caught by Tom Lewis off the bowling of Richard Cope.

Geraint Rees finished not out on 10 for Neyland as they limped to a total of 124-9 from their opening twenty overs.

Parkinson finished with excellent figures of 3-25, Kurtis Marsh with 2-10 and Kyle Marsh with 3-23 from his two overs.

Kilgetty then made a blistering start to their innings as they smashed their way to 73-0 off the first seven overs.

Their momentum was checked however as Hardy was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Nick Koomen for a score of 39.

Toby Poole was out for a score of 1 to the bowling of Andrew Miller and Koomen then had Kurtis Marsh trapped leg before for a fine knock of 37.

Richard Cope was bowled by Miller for a duck as the run rate slipped. Liam Cullen scored 18 but he was then caught by George Evans off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Geraint Rees also had Dafydd Bevan caught by George Evans and Patrick Hannon had bowled Kyle Marsh for a score of 6.

Rees then bowled Josh Gorman before Hannon had Jack Parkinson caught by George Evans.

Neyland’s brilliant performance in the field meant that Kilgetty’s lead was just 11 runs at the halfway stage.

Patrick Hannon (2-35), Geraint Rees (2-32), Nick Koomen (2-17) and Andrew Miller (2-11) all bowled well as they kept Kilgetty’s lead down.

Neyland were determined to get rid of that deficit as quickly as possible and although they lost Patrick Bellerby for a score of 11, caught by Poole off the bowling of Parkinson, and Ashley Sutton for a score of 1, brilliantly stumped by Poole off the bowling of Cope, Paul Murray and Nick Koomen set the All White on their way.

Murray top scored with 56 runs and he shared 55 runs with Nick Koomen who went on to score 47.

Koomen was then bowled by Toby Poole while Murray was caught by Gorman off the bowling of Kyle Marsh.

Henry Durrant then scored 17 before he was run out and Scott Jones scored nine before being bowled by Hardy.

Sean Hannon also fell to the bowling of Hardy as Kilgetty hit back as they themselves looked to keep Neyland’s lead down.

Neyland finished their second innings on 164-7 meaning Kilgetty would need 154 to win the final.

Kilgetty’s reply did not get off to the best of starts as Kurtis Marsh was caught by sub fielder Steve Murray off the bowling of Patrick Hannon for a duck.

Ross Hardy made a score of 15 but was then bowled by Andrew Miller who also had Liam Cullen stumped by Sean Hannon.

Toby Poole batted well for a score of 31 but he was again stumped by Hannon off the bowling of Andrew Miller.

Dafydd Bevan also played well for a score of 29 but Geraint Rees forced him down the track leaving Hannon to claim a third stumping.

Kilgetty’s chase then faltered as no other batsman made it into double figures as Kyle Marsh was caught by Steve Murray off the bowling of Henry Durrant for a score of 1 and he then had Richard Cope superbly stumped by Hannon for a duck.

Rees picked up another wicket as he had Tom Lewis caught by Sean Hannon who then claimed a fifth stumping of the innings as he sent Josh Gorman back to the pavilion with a score of 4 to give Rees his third wicket.

Unfortunately for Kilgetty Ian Poole picked up an injury earlier in the day meaning he was unable to bat and their innings came to a close on 87-9.

That gave Neyland victory and they celebrated winning the Duggie Morris for the fifth time in six years.

Nick Koomen was awarded the Man of the Match trophy and winning captain Sean Hannon was presented with the Duggie Morris trophy.

 

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