Crickhowell’s season went from bad to worse last Saturday as they lost a crucial, basement battle derby in the Marches League Division One away to local rivals Glangrwyney.
The Cwrt-y-Gollen outfit won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry wicket and a parched outfield, that offered good value for shots.
The Bowker brothers opened up for Crickhowell against their former club and Ben Bowker bowled Holmes (4) in his first over and Joseph Bowker bagged the important wicket of Devoy (6) in his third.
Tim Jones and Sharp (16) then moved the score on to 63 before Joseph Bowker trapped Sharp leg before, as Tim Jones looked to be settling in for a big score.
Tim and his brother Nick (13) took the score to 122 with Tim doing most of the scoring. Crickhowell only had four pace bowlers available, which seemed to suit the home side, and without a spin option, Glangrwyney were able to build a decent score.
Miller (18) and Jones then put on a further 50 runs but when Jones was finally out for a very good 112 in the 36th over the home team might well have quickly collapsed.
However, the tail batted sensibly and Morgan (12) and N. L. Jones (12*) ensured they moved though to 226 for nine, to gain the maximum of five batting points.
Crickhowell though continued to pick up wickets and secured four bowling points, with Joseph Bowker finishing 3-50, Ben Bowker 3-54, Tim Price 2-50 and skipper Francis 1-62 in his 12 overs.
At the break, both sides were pleased with their efforts and Crickhowell were quietly confident, having been able to get a strong looking batting line up out onto the field, for once.
Things started off well enough for the visitors with Wallace (24) and Kerrison (8) showing good intent and putting on 40 for the first wicket. However, thereafter Crickhowell managed to plumb new depths of ineptitude in throwing away a golden opportunity to secure a vital win.
A number of batsmen got themselves in, and with Glangrwyney having to use a number of part-time bowlers, scoring was never a problem.
Miller (1-10) then had to be removed from the attack for bowling too many dangerous no-balls and with Devoy (0-48) the main, home threat, being nullified, the hosts were finding it hard to control the run rate.
With Francis and Joseph Bowker adding 60 runs in nine overs for the fifth wicket the home side’s score of 226 should then have presented few problems for a side that batted all the way down to 11.
Crickhowell though, were architects of their own downfall with a total of five run-outs gifting wickets to the hosts, that were otherwise struggling to break through.
Crickhowell closed on 206 for nine in their 45 overs just 20 runs short and lamenting the poor cricket on display from an experienced side that should have known better.
Next week Glangrwyney face a tough trip away to Garnons and Crickhowell face the current league leaders, Kington, at home. But with Dales now showing much better form than any of their rivals, and Brockhampton often stronger in the latter stages of the campaign, we could have a situation, come the end of the season, where Glangrwyney or Crickhowell – or even both – could be facing the drop to Division Two.
Abergavenny Beavers on the other hand enjoyed a different kettle of fish as they secured a solid win against Builth Wells.
An absent captain Mark Winstanly meant that Nick Kinman had to take the leading role electing to bat first. Abergavenny knew they had a weakened batting line up so a solid start was crucial. Shoddy batting and good bowling from the openers produced an early wicket, but a good partnership between Jimmy Herrick and John Lamont helped steady the ship.
However consistent bowling from Gareth Sterry really hurt the batting line up picking up 5-55.
An average batting performance for the majority of the team restricted Aber to a below average total of 167. But an elegant 78 from John Lamont shouldn’t be underestimated.
Now it was Aber’s turn to field, knowing that a great fielding performance was needed and Abergavenny gave exactly that!
Dylan Beaumont-Welsh helped Aber with a good start, getting rid of Steven Anderson for a solid 22, finishing with a wicket for only four runs off his six overs. Aber kept taking catches, showing one of the sharpest fielding performances the team had displayed this season, including an unthinkable piece of fielding from Kyle Holmes to run out Ben Lewis.
Builth started to show some resilience but more good bowling from Bradley, and a fine catch from Herrick, helped their batting crumble even further. Bradley finishing with a superb 5-28 off his 12 overs!
But every player bowled well and showed great togetherness in the field taking six catches and two run outs demolishing the Builth Wells batting threat to a meagre 82 runs. A great recovered victory for the Beavers.