Crickhowell v Ross-on-Wye

Crickhowell’s poor form continued at home last Saturday losing to a youthful-looking Ross-on-Wye team by 49 runs.

Crickhowell were without their skipper Nick Francis so veteran Ryland Wallace took the reins and won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. The wicket was good and the outfield, after some heavy rolling and grass clearance in the morning following the rain on Friday, was giving good value for proper cricket shots.

The Bowker brothers opened up the bowling for Crickhowell and it was Ben that got the early breakthrough grabbing two quick wickets.

However, the middle order for Ross fought back and played some good counter-attacking cricket with Springer (33), Edwards (26) and their captain Donovan (49) all prominent. Without Nick Francis of course, Crickhowell’s bowling resources were stretched but Gregg Tew (3-53) and Phil Christie (0-48) did their best to fill the breach. They weren’t aided though, by some poor fielding, and a number of catches being spilled. Umpires too, these days, are particularly harsh on leg-side wides, so with Crickhowell conceding nearly 50 extras, they weren’t exactly helping themselves. Tim Price bowled his 10 overs for a creditable 1-42 and Joseph Bowker, although finishing without a wicket, bowled his 10 overs conceding only 31 runs. It was brother Ben though that showed best form with the ball finishing with 4-24 off his 10 overs. All in all, not bad for Crickhowell and even with that high ‘extras’ count with Ross finishing on 208-9 and a short boundary on one side, this should have been a very ‘getable’ score for the hosts. Crickhowell’s batting form this year though has been woeful with very few batsmen knuckling down and just occupying the crease.

The golden rule, in limited overs cricket, is to bat out your allotted overs but Crickhowell are failing to do this, week after week and so it proved again. When your form is poor, lady luck also tends to frown on you too, and so it was for the experienced Ryland Wallace. Last week he had a golden duck and couldn’t recall the last one he had in long and glittering career, but then, you’ve guessed it, two in two weeks. The lady concerned though this time was young Chloe Tingle, not yet 16 years of age, but opening the bowling for Ross. Her first ball to Wallace seemed to be a gentle full toss, but the veteran, old enough to be her grandfather, managed to stab at it and offered a return catch, which the youngster gleefully took. 1-1 quickly became 14-2, which then brought Joseph Bowker to the crease who batted with some imperious authority to race through to 50. Unfortunately those around him were having difficulty staying in and only Phil Christie (10) and last man Tim Price (19) were able to hit double figures. Run rate here though was not an issue, and Crickhowell’s ineptitude at managing their game, surfaced again with the team all out for 159 with Bowker stranded on 87 not out. This tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, was played out in a little over 30 overs, with the audience tearing their hair out on the side, agreeing with the quote from Hamlet that perhaps ‘more matter with less art’ was probably required.

As for Ross, well young Chloe Tingle finished with 2-35 and was asked if she had got anyone out who was older than Ryland Wallace, a question that she politely declined to answer, and Davies (1-29) and Hill (2-52) also chipped in.

It was however, Donovan the Ross skipper who had a good all round performance adding a 4-42 spell, to his earlier 49 runs with the bat.

Ross went home, pleased with themselves, and of course they had to get those youngers home to bed, Crickhowell trudged off to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Next week they are away to Dales, another team near the foot of the table, and if they don’t start winning quickly, relegation will be inevitable.

Crickhowell v Kington

With last week’s home fixture against Builth falling foul of the weather, Crickhowell this week faced the daunting prospect of the long away trip to title challengers Kington.

Crickhowell won the toss and invited their hosts to bat first on a decent enough track, although affected by the mid week thunderstorms.

Green and Protheroe did well early on, against openers Joseph Bowker and Nick Francis but it was the first change bowlers Kerrison (1-34 from 8) and Ben Bowker (3-35 from 10) that dismissed the openers. Jenkins took the catch that saw the back of the dangerous Green for 37 off Ben Bowker, but it took a few juggling skills before the catch was finally under control, and Kerrison bowled Protheroe for 11.

None of the Kington batsmen thereafter mastered the bowling and Nick Francis came back on to mop up most of the tail finishing with 4-28 in 7 overs. Joseph Bowker also bowled well taking 1-27 off 9 overs, and young Lloyd Francis also continued his good form taking 1-22 off 5 overs.

All in all, dismissing Kington for just 143 in 39 overs was a very good performance and was one, which gave them a fighting chance of an upset. The only small blemishes were again putting down a few reasonable catching opportunities and conceding nearly 30 extras.

As it turned out, those didn’t really make much difference as Crickhowell’s very poor form with the bat continued and they never really threatened the Kington total, being dismissed for just 51 in 17 overs. On the positive side for Crickhowell, this wasn’t a tale of reckless batting and gifting wickets to the opposition, as Kington used the conditions well and bowled very tightly.

Green (6-23 in 7 overs) and Fenwick-Lofts (3-23 in 6 overs) did most of the damage and even the returning, and vastly experienced Nick Kinman and Ryland Wallace, couldn’t give the Crickhowell batting any stability, with both being dismissed for golden ducks to very good balls from the openers.

Hywell Price again was the only batsman to make any impact at all and he finished unbeaten on 21 but with another three ducks and no other batsman able to hit double figures this was another disappointing batting performance after a promising showing in the field.

After taking 21 points from this game, Kington consolidated their position in fourth place in the table with 100 points, 25 behind leaders Goodrich, and in stark contrast, Crickhowell with just five points from the game, are now rooted to the foot of the table with just 26 points after a third of the season complete. Out of the four completed games from a possible six, the summary statistics for Crickhowell do not make for very good reading as they have conceded 955 runs taking 29 wickets and in reply, scored just 313 runs whilst loosing 37 wickets in the process.

In addition, Crickhowell are the only team in the division yet to score a batting point.

Some work to do for the rest of the season then, and plenty of room for improvement, but hopefully some of the availability issues the club has been experiencing are now behind them and at least they can look forward to being a little more competitive with games against fellow strugglers Ross (home) and Dales (away) over the next two weeks.