A BRILLIANT century from Ryan Avery, backed by a half century from Owen Harris and three tail end wickets in five balls for Sam Clarke helped Abergavenny 1st XI reach the halfway stage of the league season in top spot with a 52-run win over Swansea outfit Clydach, reports PAUL SUSSEX.

With a number of enforced changes giving opportunities to a number of 2nd XI players, Aber batted first on Saturday after winning the toss at Avenue Road.

They knew they would have to contend with the league's quickest bowler Salman Mirza from Lahore, but they coped really well with his pace, with Avery especially on song.

He and Will Glenn reached 54 for the first wicket before the latter fell for 15 in the 11th over.

Tom Pipe also went quickly afterwards, but Avery and Owen Harris then put on 116 runs for the third wicket, the opener reaching 102, including 18 fours, off 112 balls before holing out (182-3).

He is certainly showing his worth since joining the club this season. And Harris then passed his half century in the 40th over with Abergavenny reaching 200-3.

Edward Willcott with 13 and Harris with 59 saw them to 229-5 before the lower order managed to take the total to 274-8 at the end of their 50 overs, in a fine effort.

In reply, Clydach were aided and abetted by some loose bowling, but also lost wickets early on and found themselves on 82-6, with 15-year-old 1st team debutant Lloyd Sharp taking a couple of wickets (2-31), including a spectacular catch by brother Joe Harris, after a wicket and a run out from Owen Harris, and scalps for David Clarke and Pawan Ninsala.

Clydach then clawed their way back into contention with a stand of 111 for the seventh wicket to reach 221-7 with six overs left and 54 to win.

But Clarke removed any doubt about the outcome with three wickets in the 45th over to dismiss Clydach for a ‘Double Nelson’ 222-10, once again proving invaluable following his 5-23 with 4-13 this week.

Sam Clarke took three wickets in five balls
Sam Clarke took three wickets in five balls (Abergavenny CC)

Something they can still work on are wides and no balls, with extras 59, the top scorer for Clydach.

The result leaves Abergavenny two points ahead of Ynystawe with Cowbridge – this Saturday's (July 6) visitors to Avenue Road – another seven points back.

Abergavenny 2nds also remained top of South East Wales 6 with a good half century from Tom Krige away to Panteg 2nds.

The hosts were invited to bat and reached 110-2 before the visitors restricted them to 210-9 in 40 overs.

Tim Price pulled out half way through his fifth over, but Matthew Knight took 3-37 and Gareth Powell 2-30, while Geraint Leach, Shunryu Sheehan and Dylan Beaumont–Welsh all claimed a wicket, and Nathan Holley had a good day behind the stumps with four victims.

Aber made a good start with 49 for the first wicket before Holley went for 11, which became 86-4 after a well made 37 from Will Eccles.

Exciting youngster Krige put together a 40-run partnership with Geraint Leach and a further 60-run partnership with Sheehan before holing out for 59 (182-6).

And Matthew Knight and Sheehan, both with unbeaten 21s, finished the job with 18 balls to spare (211-6).

The 3rds beat Pontymister & Crosskeys 2nds away to go top of SEW 10, after bowling them out for 143 in the 38th over.

Evan Jones took 4-21 and Andy Timpson 2-25, well supported by Joe Fairbank, Naveeshan Jayaraj and Marc Morgan.

Abergavenny needed just just 31.3 overs to reach 144-5, Stuart Eccles with 22, Fairbank with 11, Evan Jones 15, Archie Eccles 13, and a really good sixth wicket unbroken partnership between Mihla Sibanda 37 not out and Jonty Heffaran 22 not out.

The trickle down effect of a number of players not available for the 1sts hit the 4ths in particular as they lost at home to Blackwood 3rds.

Robbie Sandford took 3-33, and there were two wickets each for Paul Waldron, Owain Bradley and Oscar Thadchanamoorthy and one for Imran Ahmadzai as Aber dismissed the hosts for 182 in the 40th over.

But they were then 137 all out in reply, Joe Kirby scoring 47, Joe Bowden 27 and Dylan Bradley 13.

Fixtures this Saturday (July 6) are – Abergavenny 1sts v Cowbridge 1sts, Vale 2nds v Abergavenny 2nds, Sully Spartans 2nds v Abergavenny 3rds, Abergavenny 4ths v Newport Fugitives 3rds.