NEWLY promoted Newport were the visitors to the LCG in a fixture that Llanarth viewed as a must-win.
Gerry Stentiford and Ed James were unavailable and replaced by Glen Hamilton and David Lomax. Skipper Dennis Heath lost the toss and was asked to bat.
Newport’s Tim Dredge (3-32) bowled briskly and hit Llanarth with unerring regularity.
Mark Baxter copped a beauty, fourth ball, that flicked his thumb through to the keeper and Tom Vaughan followed quickly behind him. Hamilton mounted a counter-attack, racing to 30 from 20 balls but when he became Dredge’s third victim the score was 46-3 and eight overs had yet to be bowled!
Lomax (35) and Chris Powell (64) steadied the ship and rebuilt the innings as Newport went down to nine men due to players dislocating their fingers.
At 143-3 with 12 overs to go Llanarth were looking a big score but Lomax fell to an outstanding one-handed catch by Guy Muspratt, a catch that betrayed an agility that was well hidden. Powell followed shortly afterwards.
Chris Page and his skipper put on a useful 40 before a tumble of wickets saw Raja Banaras walk out as last man, in the penultimate over, with 199-9 on the board.
If there are any benefits to seeing Llanarth lose wickets it can only be the chance to watch Banaras bat. Whilst his team mates were hoping he might just make contact and steal a single, to earn the final batting point, he had other ideas. A wild swipe snicked the ball over the slips for four, then a lusty thump to cow for four more, a crunch back over the bowlers head was the next boundary on the menu, before a repeat of the cow corner treatment. Gary Holley watching from the non-strikers end decided that the final over needed more of the same and slapped two 4s and a maximum to the village hall. Before you knew it the final wicket had realised 34 in 11 balls. Llanarth ate a quite magnificent tea with 233-9 in the scorebook.
If Newport were to make any inroads a lot rested on the shoulders of the big hitting Muspratt and when he guided the first ball of the innings into the hands of Hamilton at gully Newport knew their day wasn’t going to get better.
The game was soon over as a contest and Llanarth just had to winkle out the remaining wickets to get maximum points as Newport were all out for 82.
Happily the two injured Newport players returned to the ground, via Nevill Hall, and though they will be missing a few weeks cricket no long term damage should result.