AN unbeaten league best 79 from young Aussie all-rounder Dan Skipwith and a five-wicket haul from Sam Clarke helped Abergavenny 1st XI reclaim top spot in South Wales Premier 2 on Saturday, reports PAUL SUSSEX.

After winning the toss, hosts Chepstow batted in the shadows of the Severn Bridge and there were no real alarms for their openers until the introduction of Lewys Wilkes-McCarthy, who struck in his second over (43-1), Joe Harris securing the catch to dismiss Aaron Jones for 28.

Ryan Avery claimed the wicket of Mitchell Harris and with three consecutive maidens from skipper Clarke, Chepstow were 82-2 at half way drinks.

Clarke soon struck after the restart (88-3), returning 1-0 from four overs, and added a second wicket in the 31st over to leave the hosts on 101-4.

Bowling in partnership with Avery, the duo halted Chepstow progress, conceding just 29 runs and taking three wickets in 10 overs.

Clarke added his third wicket to make it 117-5 and continued his fine spell with a fourth wicket in his ninth over (122-6).

Chepstow rallied with their lower order taking them to 178 all out, but not before Clarke secured his fifth victim, with Abergavenny taking maximum bowling points.

The skipper finished with an impressive 5-23, backed by Owen Harris with 2-20.

In reply, the visitors lost Will Glenn for nine, but raced to 102-1 after 20 overs.

Opener Ryan Avery was caught one short of his half century with two more wickets falling before Abergavenny reached 150.

But third man Skipwith was still going strong with the visitors needing 33 runs off the last 20 overs.

And this they achieved with nearly 10 overs to spare for a six-wicket win to go top again.

The 2nds are also riding high at the top of South East Wales 6 after a six-wicket home win over Croesyceiliog 2nds.

Nathan Byrne, having returned to the Aber fold, opened the bowling with Tim Price, and the visitors fell away from 93-3 to 180 all out, Geraint Leach taking three wickets and one each for Byrne, Price, Steve Brown and Lloyd Sharp, plus three run outs.

The hosts then lost Nathan Holley (5-1), but Ellis Jones and Will Eccles put on 73 for the second wicket before the former holed out for 37 (78-2).

Eccles – the 2nd XI's leading run scorer this season – and new man Ed Woolcott continued to push on, before the opener went lbw for 45 (117-3).

Tom Krige also went for a quickfire 24 (157-4) before Woolcott, 34 not out, and Steve Brown, 15 not out, saw them home to maintain top spot.

SEW 10 leaders Abergavenny 3rds also beat Penarth 4ths by 114 runs at home after setting a target of 208 all out, Shunryu Sheehan scoring 52, Ryan Williams 39, Archie Eccles 43, Mark Withey 14 and Stuart Eccles 11.

Shunryu Sheehan top-scored for Abergavenny 3rds and took three wickets
Shunryu Sheehan top-scored for Abergavenny 3rds and took three wickets. Photo: Abergavenny CC (Abergavenny CC)

Penarth were never really in the hunt and were dismissed for 94 in the 30th over, Manuraj Raju taking 3-13, Shunryu Sheehan 3-9, Mark Withey 2-32 and Chai Sanapala and Dylan Beaumont-Welsh a wicket each

A changed 4ths lost out by 84 runs away to Ponthir 3rds though. having already used 31 different players this season.

The hosts managed 179-5 in their 40 overs with two wickets each for Eoin Shackleton and Evan Jones and one for Imran Ahmadzai.

And in reply, only Jones with 29, Adil Gatorade 12 and Owain Bradley 14 not out made useful contributions as they were all out for 95 in 29 overs.

Fixtures this Saturday (June 29) include – Abergavenny 1sts v Clydach, Panteg 2nds v Abergavenny 2nds, Pontymister & Crosskeys 2nds v Abergavenny 3rds, Abergavenny 4ths v Blackwood 3rds.