CRICKET returns to South Wales today (Saturday, Apr 28) for both the South Wales Premier and South Wales Cricket Association leagues.
In Division 1, Ammanford will be captained for the ninth year by former Glamorgan batsman Alun Evans (426 runs; 26 wickets). Now a Residential Child Care Officer for Carmarthenshire, Evans has a fully fit squad to choose from, bowlers Tom Murphy and Sean Coaker having recovered from injury.
Daniel Roberts (494 runs) has arrived from Mumbles to play alongside brother Matthew as leading run gatherer Matthew Fisher (529) continues as vice-captain, crucial also to the Boars will be his bowling, where he took 30 wickets.
Ellis Richards will open the innings alongside Glamorgan’s Jack Murphy, who has spent the winter in Melbourne playing grade cricket for Hampton Cricket Club. Stalwart wicketkeeper Gareth Slade keeps the gloves, with second team leader Ben Ledger promoting youngsters Joseph Davies, Matthew Davies and fifteen year old Owain Davies into the first team squad.
Sponsored by Morganstone Ltd and Solid Fuels, the Park in Ammanford will be prepared for the opening fixture against Port Talbot Town again by Lyn ‘Tosh’ Davies with ‘Gary the Scorer’ continuing in the ‘Box’ for his twenty eighth year. Assisting Evans on match day will be former Llanelli Knights U19s coach Iwan Richards, with Club stalwart Ian Rees continuing the important role of skippering the Clubs third eleven in Division 6 of the SWCA league.
Llanelli make a return to the Premier League as Dan Radcliff cup holders, ninety years after they first lifted the trophy in the SWCA’s third season. Skipper Marcus Leaf maintains the side which took the championship by 20 points where he plundered 570 runs as opening batsman, supported by Craig Howells (457).
Ioan Phillips will be given the opportunity to enhance his development, all-rounder Iwan Rees (438 runs; 26 wickets) will partner Leaf to open the innings. Player of the year, leg spinner David Richards (32 wickets) will have another key part to play alongside Chairman Vaughan Thomas (23 wickets) who will take the new ball in his thirty third season with the Club. Sharing the new ball at Toppers sponsored Stradey Park for their opening day derby with Carmarthen Wanderers on a pitch prepared by Joe Wyatt, is another veteran, Steve Devonald (22 wickets and 378 runs).
The side also has a new wicketkeeper with Llanelli rugby player Ben Edwards taking over from the retired Mike Davies, with all-rounders Matthew Roberts, Alex Symmonds and Ryan Nicholls keen to make an impression in Karen Weeds scorebook. Second team skipper Gareth James will develop Jack Rees, Tom Westcott and Wales Girls U15 leg spinner Sarah Phillips to step up when required.
Carmarthen Wanderers will hope for a stronger start to the campaign than last season which saw them anchored to the foot of the table until the mid-point of the season, all-rounder Leighton Walters (284 runs; 27 wickets) once again leading the side which has lost Steffan James and wicketkeeper Owain Evans to Whitland.
Gareth Thomas (804 runs; 28 wickets) form will be key, alongside attacking batsmen Stephen Mills (416) and Stephen Inward (408), where veteran spinner Ian Hughes (23 wickets), all-rounder Owain Binding (208 runs; 17 wickets) and youngsters Garmon Dyffri and Liam Rogers will look to make an impression, alongside Wales under 17s players Rhodri Crawford and Josh Thomas on the wicket prepared by Llandysul based Mike Turner.
Bronwydd, who celebrated their fortieth anniversary with a black tie dinner on Saturday (Apr 21) have wicketkeeper / batsman Oli Furneux (300 runs) at the helm once again as they begin their season at Cwnc Y Deri against newly promoted Swansea Civil Service. George Gleeson (386 runs; 13 wickets), Meirion Davies (369 runs; 12 wickets) and James Cale (329) are key alongside Gleeson’s brother Tom who took 41 wickets with the new ball alongside change bowler Pauluge Gihan Secstus Fernando (26 wickets).
Dafen Welfare welcome Cowbridge on the opening day of the season, with veteran Wales Senior international and club stalwart after 30 years’ service, Chris Hudson skippering the side for the second season. Sponsored by the Owens Group of Dafen, the Club also have the Marchant Company, Astley’s Estate Agents and Manhattan on board as keynote sponsors, with the grounds maintained by second team captain Chris Randall, Wayne Powell and Llanelli Rural Council.
Wicketkeeper Dai Williams has moved to Llangennech and quick bowler Scott Phillips to Ynysygerwn, meaning off spinner Hudson (23 wickets) and his Chairman of selectors Rob Green acquired seam bowler Rhys Marchant from Newport and all-rounder Andrew Rodgers from Skewen to support last season’s SWCA leading wicket taker David Dunfee (42 wickets).
He will share the new ball with Matthew Donoghue (17 wickets) and experienced all-rounders Matthew Evans (18 wickets; 400 runs) and Phil George (26 wickets) will have key roles to play if the Club wish to reach their goal of promotion to the SWPL.
The ability of Jeremy Dawes (479 runs), young player Jonny Randall (19 wickets) alongside Kai Rees bodes well for Consultant Physician Hudson’s hopes of turning the runners up place twice in the last three years, into top spot, requiring them to overcome the challenge of rivals Gorseinon.
Llangennech, established in 1881 have a new captain in batsman Matthew Jones for the trip to Maesteg Town in Division 2, both sides having recruited new players during the close season.
Arriving at the Argents Associates and Tafarn Morlais sponsored Club to strengthen the side are Scott Lloyd from Gorseinon, Dai Williams (404 runs) as a wicketkeeping all-rounder from Dafen and Ammanford all-rounder Hedd-Wyn Jones from SWPL Division 1 outfit Ammanford.
All three will supplement Jones, who took 26 wickets and scored 385 runs last season, 12 runs behind leading run scorer James Taube, who top scored for the Club with 126* in their victory over Pontyberem. His brother Johnny will also feature alongside opening bowler Simon Clement (22 wickets), Owain Phillips, spinner Bav Patel and sixteen year old Jack Williams.
Eric Lewis and Keith Thomas will share the scoring duties as former Llanelli groundsman Jim Wyatt oversees the grounds. Alan Warner continues as second team captain with Geraint Lodwig stepping down a team to captain the third eleven for the first time.
Felinfoel start their second season in Division 2 under the captaincy of Rhys Harries, at home to last season’s Division 3 winners Briton Ferry Town, having recruited all-rounder Atif Hameed (20 wickets; 161 runs) from rivals Llangennach. Harries will be looking to Julian Griffiths to continue his form with the bat which saw him accrue 496 runs, supported by Andrew Thomas (391) and Craig Richards.
Anthony Mathias and Stuart Parmeneter with 22 wickets apiece alongside Richards (21) and Griffiths (19) will lead the way with the ball, with Scott Davies leading the second team in Division 5.
Drefach make an opening day trip to relegated Briton Ferry Steel with opening batsman Dafydd Humphrey again leading the side, which shows no changes from last season. Adam Goodman has made good progress from injury which didn’t see him perform last season and he should make an appearance for the Gwendraeth Valley side, whose top order batting need to deliver if they are to avoid the trials and tribulations of another relegation threatened season.
Leading run gatherer was Owen Donovan with 285 runs, as only two other players, all-rounder Rob Seymour and groundsman Leigh Davies scored over 200 runs. Both Seymour and Davies spin bowling will be heavily relied on by their skipper who has faith in youngsters Harry McBryde and Elis Lewis stepping forward.
The Club have built a strong youth culture with the top end now moving into Under 19 cricket, making the transition to senior sides easier, which bodes well for the side who are keen to start the season well, in contrast to recent years.
Sponsored by RM&S Roofing Humphreys second stint as captain will see him focus on his own personal performance which will help the team as stalwart opening bowler Joe Evans has moved to skipper the second team.
Mumbles win well against Ammanford seconds
AMMANFORD seconds suffered a heavy 125 run defeat at the hands of Mumbles at Marespool.
Winning the toss, Ammanford invited Mumbles to bat first, and a terrific 188 run partnership for the second wicket, featuring Ben Jones (94) and Stuart Seaton (77), helped the home team to a healthy 221 for 4 in 45 overs.
Several Ammanford batsmen got into double figures but none were able to stay long enough to make any impression on the run chase. Eirian Morgan top-scored with 25, but the Ammanford innings finished disappointingly on 96 all out.
Gethin Morgan and Phil Roche each took three wickets for Mumbles.
Thirds beaten by Landore
Ammanford thirds travelled to Landore only to lose their match by 50 runs.
Ammanford skipper Carl Griffiths put Landore in to bat, and the home team scored 148 for 9. Landore
skipper Terry Summerfield top-scored with 33.
Ammanford’s Tom Davies was chief wicket-taker with 4 for 38.
Despite a solid 30 from opener and man-of-the-match Tom Davies, Ammanford failed to get anywhere near the required target and folded their innings on 98 inside 34 overs.
The defeat dropped them out of the top half of division six on the SWCA.
Cwmamman United Juniors host end of season event
CWMAMMAN United juniors held their end of season event at Clwb Godre’r Mynydd Ddu Glanamman.
As they celebrated throughout the day with their different age groups from Under 6 to Under 14 it looked as if almost every child in the Cwm had attended at some point.
The Juniors section at the club has grown to around 150 children over the last couple of years and with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of committee, coaches and volunteers behind them the club is excitedly anticipating further growth.
A fantastic time was had by all with all age groups proudly having their moment in the sun.
Robert Griffiths the Clubs Junior Chairman said: “I have to thank all our fantastic people at the club that get the kids out playing whether sorting games, coaching, fund raising or organising events such as our club parties and awards such as these.
“We continiue to grow and if your child would like to be part of a safe, healthy and fun environment they are most welcome here.”
Depleted Ammanford beaten by seven wickets
A DEPLETED Ammanford lost by seven wickets to Bridgend Town in a rain affected match at windswept Newbridge Fields on Satuday (Jun 25).
With the start delayed by over an hour because of rain, the match was reduced to 39 overs before a ball was bowled, and the toss immediately became the crucial factor in deciding the game’s outcome.
Bridgend won it and, predictably enough, put Ammanford in to bat.
The writing was on the wall as the visitors lost two wickets for 9 runs on an unpredictable wicket which was one of the first bowler-friendly tracks encountered this season.
Only four batters reached double figures as wickets fell at regular intervals. Top scorer was 14 year old wicket-keeper Gruffudd Owen (19no) who took the game to the visitors and looked capable of scoring many more had he not run out of partners.
Ammanford were all out for 90 inside 30 overs.
Tea was taken early as more heavy rain swept across Newbridge Fields, but unfortunately for Ammanford the sun made a reappearance and play eventually resumed.
The Bridgend batters did not have it all their own way, quickly losing both openers to opening bowler Owen Davies.
Davies removed a further wicket in a good spell of 3 for 15, but Thomas Cogbill (43no) and Luke Humphries (18) saw Bridgend safely home without further trouble inside 24 overs.
Next week, Ammanford welcome second placed Swansea to the Park, the memory of their 700+ run clash at St Helen’s still fresh in their minds.
Thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run
Ammanford thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run in a rain adjusted match at the Rec.
Batting first, Ammanford reached 132 all out, thanks mainly to their captain Carl Griffiths (41) and Dafydd Wyn Jones (21).
Rain meant that Pontardawe’s reply was restricted to just 16 overs, during which they had to score 53 runs.
They came very close, but two wickets each from Oliver Pallot and Iwan Matthews interrupted their progress and they fell short by a single run, finishing on 51 for 5.
The victory moved Ammanford into the top half of SWCA’s Division 6.
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