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Under 15s XI Report

Hugh Williams

Cowbridge Under 15 Coach

A new season and a lot of new faces at the winter nets promised a good season ahead. A lot of hard work and coaching went into the pre-season indoor preparation at Cowbridge School. There were many new characters from various parts of the Vale who wished to improve their cricket and the sessions were very enjoyable. We had two international girls namely Laurie Thomas and Louisa Knowles who joined the squad of boys from three secondary schools, St. Cadocs, Ysgol Bro Morganwg and Cowbridge School. It all looked good for the outdoor matches which started in May.

The saying goes,”There is no substitution for match practice and against opponents,” and this was certainly in evidence for our first match against Cardiff away in the league on Thursday 2nd May. The opening three Cardiff batsmen showed limitations to our game. Line and direction was missing from our bowling coupled with some inferior fielding allowed Cardiff to reach 139 for 3 in their 20 overs. 20 or more runs were gifted through poor  fielding making the target difficult to reach. However Captain Rian Thomas who had an outstanding season with all aspects of the game took the fight to the Cardiff bowlers and scored a retired 37.The next 5 batsmen could not stay with him and it was left to Cai Owen and Charlie Pegrum 18 and 14 not out to bring respectability to the score of 88 for 6. Things could only get better one hoped.

We drew Miskin at home in the Welsh Cup and elected to bat first against much younger opponents. Rian again was in fine form with a retired 53 runs and Cai Evans was unlucky to miss out on his 50 when holing out at 48. Other contributions came from Matthew Keating 13, Jac Davies 18, Charlie Pegrum 15 runs in a total of 176 for 3. This large total allowed Rian to use 8 bowlers with wickets shared between Keating, Cai Owen, Aled Evans, Tom Hawksworth, Owen Tuckwell and Owain Leyshon in a winning margin of 90 runs. This was a much better performance in preparation for the next round away to Newport.

Cowbridge opted to bat first on a lovely playing area at Spytty Park and again the skipper showed the way 45 runs ably supported by Keating 19, Cai Evans 15, Jac Davies 9 and Pegrum 8 in a total of 109 for 5. An opening stand of 97 by the hard hitting S. Thornton 47 and R. Williams 45 paved way to an easy victory for Newport by 9 wickets. Our six best bowlers found it difficult to bowl accurately to two international batsmen who could punish loose bowling.

We came back to league cricket with an away match to Sully in what was possibly the horror show of the season. Batting first only Keating 15 and Pegrum 21 runs showed any real application to score runs on a seaming wicket with bounce, and the side was all out for 70. Our bowling of Rian, Laurie, Keating, Cai Owen and Pegrum was much better and it took Sully 18 overs to overhaul our score for the 3 wickets. More aggressive fielding could have helped our cause.

Our first win in the league came at the expense of Lisvane at home. Batting first we scored 118 for 3 with Rian and Jac Davies both retiring on 36 being the main contributors to the total. Rian giving other team members a bowl offered Aled Evans four overs and he responded by taking his first ever competitive wicket, (in fact 2) and with Tom Hawksworth bowling excellently at the death with 2 maiden overs and a wicket to gain victory by 6 runs.

We then came up against the best three teams in the league, St Fagans at home and back to back home and away matches to the Vale and Radyr Gold. Against a young St Fagans team we batted quite well in scoring 111 all out. Rian again with a retired 35 and good contributions from Cai 29 and Keating 16 was not enough of a target. We did not bowl or field particularly well with the winning run being hit off the penultimate ball of the 20th over for the loss of 3 wickets.

A very strong Vale side gave us the biggest thumping of the season at our own venue. Retired scores of 37 to C. Yates, 39 to M. John and 38 to M. Harper gave them a huge score of 172 for 3. The home team had no answer to their bowling attack and were all out for 63 a victory margin of 109 runs. It faired little better in the second game with the Vale scoring 146 for8. Laurie, Cai Owen and Keating bowled very well and apart from Rian 21 runs the batting was truly disappointing with the side skittled out for 68 runs, with the margin of victory a substantial 72 runs.

It did not get better against Radyr at home with the team only scoring 83 for 8 with Jac Davies and Rian the main scorers. Radyr gained victory in the18th over for the loss of 1 wicket. In the return fixture Rian gave all his team a bowl and with much improved performance restricted Radyr to 128 for 3. It was good to see Alex Gardner gain his first ever wicket and Tom Hawksworth and Sam John back in the team after a lengthy injury. Again the boys failed with the bat against some accurate bowling with only Rian troubling the bowling with 19 runs.

The season ended on a high at our presentation evening with the team out playing the coaches and parents in a 10 over match. Captain Rian Thomas deserved his Player of the Year award as did Alex Gardner the most improved. Statistics showed that we played 10 matches winning only 2. Best batting was by the Captain with an average of 48 runs followed by Cai evans 16, Charlie Pegrum 15 and Jac Davies 13. Most wickets also went to Rian with 8 followed by Cai Owen 6, Laurie Thomas 5 and Matthew Keating 4. International Laurie acquitted herself well from the experience of playing with the boys. She will have another season to develop with them next season.

As coach I would like to thank all the squad for their effort and commitment. They were a happy group throughout. The diet of sweets must stop if performance is to improve!!!!! I look forward to the continuation of player development next year as a large portion of the squad will be back. Good luck to the older ones and please continue to play for the senior sides – you are good enough. Last but not least to you the parents for your support, help with scoring, umpiring and transportation.