Llanelli collapse hands win to Cowbridge firsts

Friday, 2 June 2017

By GEM Community Correspondent
in Cricket

Another absorbing match with a dramatic finale saw Cowbridge Cricket Club’s first XI defeat Llanelli at the Athletic Ground by 10 runs last Saturday.

That Llanelli needed 36 to win in 10 overs with five wickets standing only to lose explains their utterly dejected body language at the fall of the final wicket.

They sat, they looked, they didn’t move until trance like they went through the motions of handshaking and retiring to their dressing room.

Not that the Cowbridge team minded, the home side had clutched victory from the jaws of defeat and that old chestnut can rarely have been more appropriately applied.

Cowbridge had posted a first innings score of 219-6 which at tea seemed to be defendable but not impregnable. It had the look of being a tight one.

The Cowbridge score was based on an opening partnership of 113 between Tom Merilaht (28) and Ben Wright (80).

The openers were followed by the skipper, Chris Willey (32), Matthew Harper (19) and Nick Wood unbeaten on 32.

Importantly as it turned out Rian Thomas hit two fours off the last two balls of the innings and they would have great significance as they as events unfolded.

Llanelli started their chase poorly and a Wright catch, a run out off the Merilaht arm and an LBW put the visitors at 30-3.

Victory for the Strady Park outfit seemed a long way off but a fourth wicket stand of 109 between Rees (58) and Devonald (71) brought them right back into the match.

Griffiths continued the recovery such that it had become a likely away win. As the final 10 overs began even the most die-hard of Cowbridge supporters would have had to concede that the odds were stacked heavily in Llanelli’s favour.

Things can change quickly in cricket matches and the start of the extraordinary collapse of the Llanelli innings where four wickets went for seven runs was a quite outstanding catch by Thomas Harper in the deep off Rian Thomas.

Griffiths (40) had gone and that left two new batsmen at the crease. Nothing other than panic caused a run out going for a third run, the throw from the deep fast and accurate from Matthew Harper. Now we had a game on.

It was down to 11 runs needed with two wickets standing. Now we were in Sir Henry Newbolt country.

As in his famous poem Vitai Lampada poem there was a breathless hush, albeit around the pavilion rather than the Close, 11 rather than 10 were needed to win and it was a good pitch rather than a bumping one.

One doubts too that Chris Willey put his hand on Jonathan Hubsmidt’s shoulder and suggested he ‘Play up, play up and play the game!’ Whatever Chris said it did the trick.

With the tension, just as imagined by the Victorian poet Jonathan bowled and cleaned out the No 9, bowled comprehensively.

One to get and next ball hit the pad of the last man, the team went up as one and the umpire raised his finger. Cowbridge had won their fourth game in succession. Jonathan finished with figures of 4-26 and Sam Russell 3-43.

The catching was excellent and ground fielding good. All in all it was a good performance and every one of the XI played a part.

The placings remain as before the weekend but Cowbridge are now just 12 points behind Bronwydd and three adrift of Aberdare who the first XI play away this week.

JRB

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