AFTER a desperate day for the firsts it was left to Llanarth seconds to give the club something to smile about, not least just by getting a side on the field as for the first time this season there were 22 players available!

A home match is always an incentive and so it was that a reasonably well balanced side of younger and more mature players took to the field although possibly lacking a little in the bowling department.

The visitors Cardiff Bay Dragons won the toss and elected to field and the Llanarth openers compiled 16 before Nick White was well taken at slip off a thick edge. Seth Butler struck a nice boundary off his legs but was then bowled playing back when he might have been better on the front foot. Gerry Stentiford then helped opener Richard Williams steady the ship and got the total past 50 before he was caught mistiming an aggressive shot. Twenty runs later Williams went in similar fashion and at 65 for four at the half way mark, the innings was at something of a crossroads. Ben Llewellyn and Matthew Binmore however batted sensibly and with increasing intent in contrasting styles. Whereas Binmore was happy to knock it around for ones and twos Llewelyn had eyes only for the boundary. His innings of 34 contained four fours and two sixes and was only ended when he either didn’t notice the man on the long on boundary or thought he was going to hit the ball over him into the road. Alas he picked the fielder out perfectly who made no mistake with the catch. His knock had however given the innings some much needed momentum. The incoming skipper Spencer initially flailed and failed to locate the ball betraying the fact that he hadn’t so much as faced a single ball in the nets or even picked up his bat since last August! It was left to Binmore to keep things moving which he did admirably finding a few boundaries of his own before he too was caught for the innings top score of 35. At 133 for six and with five overs left Spencer contrived to play out a maiden over whereas 15 year old Dan Moseley (20) set about the bowling and soon overtook the skipper.

Suitably embarrassed and into the final over Spencer finally managed to lay bat on ball but even then not well enough to get it over the long boundary resulting in what should have been an all run four. Unfortunately never imagining that his geriatric partner was going to attempt a fourth Moseley was slow off the mark and unluckily run out by a direct hit. As some compensation Spencer did hit the last two balls to the boundary and the innings closed on a very satisfactory 171 for seven.

Opening the bowling after tea were Seth Butler and Ieuan (Monty) Watkins, the latter making a welcome return to the club after 25 years absence. He wasted no time in making an impression with a wicket in his first over and an economical spell of five overs conceding just 13 runs. At the other end Butler was bowling with pace and movement if on occasions with variable direction. He did enough however to induce a couple of edges and take the next two wickets. The first thanks to a wonderful catch by Ben Llewelyn who disproved the notion that he was only at slip because the captain didn’t know where else to put him, when he scooped up an ankle high catch that had deflected off the diving keeper’s glove. Whether it was because he couldn’t believe what he had seen or because he hoped to persuade the umpire that he hadn’t hit the ball is unclear but the batsman was unmoved until the umpire passed his verdict. There followed a worrying stand by the Dragons fourth wicket pair who saw off the openers and the change bowlers of Joe Hynes and Dan Moseley. Well though this young pair bowled they couldn’t come up with a wicket and at the 20 over mark Dragons were slightly better than Llanarth had been at 74-3. With only self-confessed part time bowlers to turn to it was with some trepidation that the ball was thrown to Richard Williams and Nick White. All concerns were however soon relieved as Williams removed the dangerous Nabil who had scored 39 having him LBW. Both bowlers then settled into a miserly spell that got the batting side behind the run rate and increased the pressure resulting in a clatter of wickets.

Williams finished with four for 16 off seven overs and White one for 12 off 6. With the game all but won Butler (3-43) returned to take the final wicket another LBW, leaving Llanarth winners by 34 runs. It was very pleasing that the game was played in good spirit and with the opposition prepared to give umpiring decisions against their own team.