BRECON Cricket Clubs 1st team visit to title chasing Newbridge proved a hard-fought encounter played in an excellent spirit with the home team just hanging in to record a 24-run victory on a day when over 500 runs were scored.

Newbridge won the toss and batting promptly set about amassing a formidable total with an opening stand of 110 between James Morgan (60) and Travis Morgan (66). A determined fight back by Brecon then ensued led by skipper Matt Williams with 3-42. The pressure being built at this stage resulted in two run outs as Newbridge tried to break the shackles and keep the innings moving forward.

Despite the Brecon fight back Newbridge’s lower order accumulated by hook or crook to allow them to post a formidable 279 all out, but not before Keiron Mermain (3-55) and Iain Mitchell (2-56) picked up some hard-earned scalps.

Matt Williams (51) and the in form Greg Webber (60) successfully established the Brecon innings with an opening stand of 101, and from there the innings very much followed the pattern of the Newbridge effort with wickets falling regularly despite contributions from Keiron Marmian (32) and Gethin Phillips (16). The Brecon lower middle order then fought back led by Rhys Pritchard with a well struck 24 supported by Ceitho Williams and James Mitchell to put a scare into Newbridge by adding 50 runs before the innings fell 24 runs short.

This was a very competitive performance from Brecon against a strong Newbridge outfit that offers encouragement for the remainder of the season.

The 10 points collected means that Brecon stay clear of the relegation pack and the hoped for win at home next week against Pontypridd will see them move into a more comfortable mid table position.

In Brecon, the 2nd team, in a game sponsored by B Jenkins and Sons Builders Merchant, hit fine form with the bat against a Monkswood team that are in the doldrums of late but on the day fought valiantly but could never stop the rapid flow of runs as the home side posted 325-7 which ultimately led to a 223-run victory.

The early part of the Brecon innings was dominated by a superbly struck personal best of 84 from Sean Waldeck, building on his excellent form. He received solid support from Ben Kenchington with a busy 47 and Tom Witcomb with 16 as the runs ticked up rapidly. However, it was a partnership between Dan Marshall (73no) and Ryan Morgan (33) of 128 that took the innings to a new level and indeed a new ground record score.

Monkswood’s reply never got off the ground with Tom Marshall slicing through their top order with 4-16 in a fine opening spell. From there Steve Kenchington (3-11) and John Cooke with a wicket ensured an early finish.

Next week the 2nd team travel to face a tough challenge away to Sudbrook.

Crickhowell v Goodrich

Having lost to bottom of the table, Brockhampton, at home the previous week, Crickhowell travelled to play league leaders Goodrich more in hope than in expectation.

However, strange things can happen in sport, and this game was in stark contrast to their last game, as Crickhowell went from the ridiculous to the sublime, winning a thrilling encounter to dent Goodrich’s title hopes. Goodrich won the toss and after a great deal of debate, they asked Crickhowell to bat first on a pitch that the home side held in some suspicion, given the thunderstorms the previous day.

Goodrich seemed to have read things correctly though, as opening bowlers O’Brien and Roberts made life difficult for the batsmen, with the ball moving around and often lifting quite sharply.

Kinman went early on, getting a wicked delivery from Roberts that was taken well by Brown, above head height, at second slip. Kerrison though (34 off 57 balls) dug-in, as did Wallace (12) and Jenkins (22) but with a couple of wickets falling cheaply Crickhowell’s position was unremarkable, hovering at 145-6 after 30 overs.

With the captain’s number one instruction ‘to bat out 45 overs’ still ringing in their ears, it was Goodrich that seemed to lose the plot. Nick Francis was now in, but playing cautiously and his brother Justin was batting sensibly with him, but Goodrich seemed to be architects of their own downfall, with the second string bowlers losing line and length. Nick in particular took full advantage as the pair put on 150 for a seventh wicket partnership that saw Crickhowell more than double their score in the final third of their innings.

They finished on 308-8 with Nick Francis (118) completing a superb century, in the end blasting 8 fours and 10 sixes. Justin’s little cameo of 27 also contained four boundaries, but it was a partnership that took everyone by surprise, not least of all, Goodrich. Tim Price (8*) and Lloyd Francis (2*) remained not out at the end, but when the dust had settled, Goodrich could look back on 77 extras on top of that century by Francis.

At tea, though Goodrich were still confident in chasing down 300 plus, as they’ve scored over 300 on this ground many times before and with a short boundary on one side and a lighting fast outfield to help them.

Brown (28) came out for Goodrich with all guns blazing and he was only dealing in boundaries, but with 30 on the board after three overs and seven fours to his name, he lifted Tim Price to deep long on, where Jenkins held on to a very important catch. Then there seemed to be a sharp catch taken at the wicket off Price again, with Wallace standing up, but the batsman and the umpire were literally, both unmoved and bowler, keeper and skipper Francis, were not amused.

Francis decided to work through his frustrations by bringing himself up into a close fielding position and then took a stunning catch at short mid-on, off Phill Bowker to dismiss Jackson.

Drinks were taken at 15 overs but with tensions still smoldering somewhat, Goodrich appeared to be ahead of the game, with 100 on the board, compared to Crickhowell’s 60 for 2 at a similar stage in their innings. After drinks though, it was Griffiths who felt the full wrath of Francis, trying to take a quick single, only for the skipper to swoop like a falcon and to strike down the stumps with a direct hit. Goodrich though, do have some depth to their batting, and at least Phill Bowker was offering some control in the middle overs bowling a tidy spell of 10 overs taking 2-41.

His second wicket was a sharp stumping by Wallace who was performing heroics behind the stumps having picked up a groin strain when batting. O’Brien and Robbins though were batting sensibly for Goodrich and took the score past 200 in the 30th over, and Goodrich were clearly still on for the victory and Crickhowell knew that wickets were still needed if they were to defend their score for an unlikely win. With Wallace standing up, Tim Price (3-66) who was bowling well, got another one to lift off a length outside off stump and Robbins feathered a catch through to the keeper.

In the true spirit of the game, Robbins didn’t even turn around for the umpire’s decision, he just departed for a very good innings of 59.

O’Brien was still there though and still looking to win this game for the home side, but with Lloyd Francis (0-35) and Justin Francis (0-30) bowling 9 overs between them without success, it was left to skipper Nick Francis and Ben Bowker to bowl out. Nick (2-54] was bowling tightly at one end, but it was Ben (2-55) who came back to claim the last two wickets, having had some harsh treatment earlier in the game.

He managed to bowl Shotton, which was the last wicket to fall, but it was the earlier wicket of O’Brien (66) that was crucial, and again he had ‘that man’, Nick Francis to thank, taking another superb running catch in the deep.

In the end, Goodrich were all out for 290 and Crickhowell had their famous victory by 18 runs in a match where nearly 600 runs had been scored and 18 wickets had fallen.

It was some match indeed, and one that will give Crickhowell a much needed confidence boost as they enter the last phase of the season.

Oh, and the man of the match award?

Well, for an innings of 118, 2 wickets, two outstanding catches and a direct hit to run out Griffiths, it could only be Nick Francis - what a performance and what a player he is!

However, this wasn’t a one-man show as there were contributions all through the team with bat and ball, and the fielding was tenacious and determined throughout, typified by Hywel Price amongst others, all throwing themselves around to try and save runs facing a terrific onslaught from Goodrich, who fought hard to hold on to their league leader status.

As it was, Goodrich slipped to second place, but only five points now behind Luctonians who have 267 points.

Crickhowell climb to sixth with 122 points but only 27 points separate the bottom five clubs, so there could still be a few more twists and turns before the season is done.

Whatever happens now though, for Crickhowell, the day they scored over 300 runs and bowled Goodrich out, on their own ground, for a win that nobody saw coming, will have a special place in the club’s history!

Glangrwyney 1sts v Ledbury 1sts

The home team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory having outplayed Ledbury for most of the game.

On winning the toss and off to a promising start, Glangrwyney struggled to make the most of the flat track and fast outfield however solid contributions came from Tim Jones (50), Nick Jones (49) and Geoff Holmes (48) in a score of 233 for 8 in their allotted overs.

In reply, Ledbury started off slowly against tight bowling with Mike Devoy’s first six overs costing only ten runs. Graham Paton continued to increase the pressure which saw the required run rate rising which looking good for the home team where Ledbury reached 130 for five after 30 overs.

However, the arrival of Joshua Evans saw the momentum swing Ledbury’s way as he went for his shots and despite Derek Osbourne’s 3-50 and Kevin Palmer’s 2-30, the target was achieved with eight balls to spare.

Glangrwyney remain top but their lead is now cut to just six points.

Wormelow 3rds v Glangrwyney 2nds

Glangrwyney’s second team travelled in hope with another depleted team and came off distinctly second best to a ruthless Wormelow team.

The home team batted first but were held in check by the reliable new-ball pair of Haydn Davies and Ed Hooper, the latter who took 2-22 runs in his nine overs. At 37-3, Duncan Verry arrived at the crease and proceeded to dispatch the visitor’s change bowlers to all corners of the field as he raced to 113 not out with Wormelow reaching 266 for six in their 40 overs.

Glangrwyney’s reply never got going and at 13 for 4 a rout appeared imminent.

Firstly, Ed Hooper with Tom Devoy steadied the ship then with top-scoring captain Astle with 29, some respectability beckoned however a flurry of wickets saw the visitors’ close on 87 for 9 and lose by 179 runs.


Glangrwyney 1sts v Kington 1sts

The Glangrwyney club’s weekend misery was completed when the first team was eliminated from the cup by visiting Kington.

Barry Sharpe with 33 off 22 balls and Tim Jones (29) were top scorers as the home team batted first to post 112 for 6 in their 20 overs.

The game ended 33 balls later as Michael Green hit eight fours and ten sixes in a round 100 as Kington won by ten wickets.