Llanarth welcomed old friends Radyr to the LCG for the opening match of the 2019 season. Skipper Dennis Heath started nicely by winning the toss and asking Radyr to have first knock on an early season wicket.

Taking the new ball for the home side was David Lomax (3-17) and Tom Heath with both settling into rhythm straight away, bowling accurate opening spells. It was Lomax, however, who ripped through the top order. First he castled Andy Bell who played down middle only to lose off, then Robin Davies edged behind when driving loosely and finally Ceri Rowlands, after receiving all manner of outswingers, was bowled by a beautifully deceptive inswinger. At 23-3 from 12 overs the visitors had some repair work to do on their innings.

Asheesh Das and Daniel Stone doubled the score, the latter striking some pleasant drives but the introduction of off-spinner Chris Powell (3-28) accounted for Stone when he didn’t pick the quicker one. Gary Holley ended Das’s defiance by winning an lbw appeal and when Powell struck a further two blows in quick succession Radyr were on the ropes at 69-7.

Mark Rogers (36) and Rob Lankshear decided some aggression might be the best way to get out of a deep hole and Rogers biffed a couple of meaty sweeps to the ropes. In previous years a couple of the efforts might have been stopped, or even caught, but advancing years and an appreciation of both cake and cider meant Mark Baxter looked as though he was wearing lead boots when patrolling the boundary. The partnership took the score to three figures before Dan Moseley ended their fun and it was left to "death bowler" Andy Spencer to pick up the final two wickets as the visitors knock closed at 126 all out.

The Trees seemed relatively comfortable with their days work thus far and tucked into a sumptuous tea whilst contemplating the chase. David Lomax and Mark Baxter (28) set about the task with Lomax starting delightfully with cover driven and pulled boundaries but another pull went awry and he played on. Will Heath then edged behind and Llanarth were in similar difficulties to their opponents at 24-2 from 12 overs.

Allan Dewfield (26) seized the initiative and thumped five quick boundaries putting the Trees in control at 61-2 before a mistimed bunt saw his demise. Baxter, thus far, had played one of his more scratchy innings, in an extensive back catalogue of scratchy innings, but when he and Chris Page eased the score to 78-3 all seemed serene.

Alas the wheels fell off big time as four wickets fell for 17 runs as the Trees slumped to 95-7. Baxter bottom edged a skiddy one to be well taken behind and was rapidly followed to the hutch by Page, D Heath and Powell. Llanarth needed a couple of heroes, step forward Andy Spencer (24*) and Gary Holley.

With plenty of time to work with they set about reducing the target sensibly and seeing off the bowlers who had done the damage, namely Gwyn Morris (3-14) and Zahid Razzaq. Spencer was calmness personified and showed the batsmanship that led to rumours that he was a specialist batter during his time in the Hampshire League whereas Holley was remarkably restrained considering his normal modus operandi of see ball, hammer ball. Together, with tensions rising, they coaxed Llanarth ever closer to the target. Eventually, with the brand new digital scorebox stating two runs required, a poor delivery was offered and Holley gleefully battered it to the fence and the entire home team breathed a massive sigh of relief.