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2018 Match Reports

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First XI End of Season Review - 2018


Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI’s record of winning fourteen out of sixteen completed matches suggests  a very good season yet the fact that remained uppermost in the team’s psyche was that they had failed in their mission to lift The Dan Radcliffe Cup and with it promotion from the South Wales Cricket  Association to The South Wales Premier League.

For much of the season, right to the last session of play, the 1st XI chased Gorseinon who remained unbeaten and eventually finished on 308 points to Cowbridge’s 300. That the third placed club was Maesteg Celtic with 213 gives an indication of just how superior the two frontrunner's were. It’s statistically  the case that Cowbridge’s average margin of victory was significantly greater than Gorseinon  but what did for Cowbridge’s  ambitions were two defeats in two weeks at the end of the first half of fixtures. Significantly one was at Gorseinon and the other was an almost inexplicable reverse against Merthyr who were subsequently relegated. These defeats might not have mattered if Cowbridge had defeated a seemingly under strength Gorseinon at Cowbridge but the opportunity was lost to the weather.

Nevertheless the runners up spot was the highest position occupied by the Club in thirteen years and 2018 may have been the year that the club turned a very big corner in it’s quest to become one of the leading teams and clubs in South Wales. The Club will look towards 2019 with confidence.

The foundation of the successes was the opening partnership of Ben Wright, the handsome driver sometime of Glamorgan, and Tom Merilaht, the artful nudger. They set the tone for the season at Dafen in the first fixture putting on 277 and creating a new club record. They then beat that a fortnight later with a stand of 280 against Swansea Civil Service. The dominance of the two was clearly shown by their end of season statistics, Ben scored 1122 runs at an average of 93.5 while Tom got 1079 at 154. It was quite remarkable batting and unsurprisingly put the pair at the top of the League’s batting aggregates and averages. Among the records set was that two batsmen from the same club should achieve in excess of a thousand runs in the League; it was an extraordinary half an hour when they both went past the milestone at Llandysul. Ben Wright was also the League’s leading wicket keeper.

If such success can be considered to have a downside it could be argued that the supporting cast of Chris Willey, Brad Evans and Jack Cropper did not get the batting opportunities that might have emerged had the prolific openers not occupied the crease for such a large proportion of the available time.

The bowling was also strong with Brad Evans the League leading wicket taker with 36 and the best average of 9.91. Brad was brilliantly supported by Tom Williams who took 28 and Nick Wood who took 22. The arrival this year of Brad via Cardiff Met University and Tom who began his career in the Junior Section was clearly important but strength in depth came too with Sam Routledge, another Cardiff Met all rounder,  joining for the first six matches before returning home at the end of term. Sam’s position was filled by the arrival of another Cardiff Met student, Tatenda Chizada who made significant contributions, opening the bowling with success. Rian Thomas might not have enjoyed the opportunities his undoubted talent deserved while illness curtailed Sam Russell’s effectiveness. Heath Webb did well when he had the opportunity and will play a bigger part in the future.

The Skipper, Chris Willey had another good season, his field placing and bowling changes were astute and the team quickly assimilated itself into a happy and positive unit. Chris will be aware that gaining promotion will not just happen next year. The arrival of Tata Steel, a solid side even if relegated, will see to that. However the Club is undoubtedly in a much stronger position than it was this time last year. The summary of the season is that it was one of significant progress for the Club then even if the ultimate prizes eluded the 1st XI but it can look to next season with confidence.

The pitches prepared by Club Chairman Hugh Williams assisted by Jamie Miller.  The excellent teas were provided by Debbie of Happy Days. Indeed off the field the management worked well in all respects. Thanks are also due to Ceri and the bar staff as they refreshed the ever growing band of supporters who habitually turn up to see the second innings on a Saturday.

The scorer, Sara Russell was efficiency personified but when it was announced that the Club hoped to electrify Mrs Russell next season there were a large number who felt that even if she had made mistakes with her scoring (which incidentally she had not) such a punishment was rather draconian. What was meant was that the Club is looking to renovate the scoreboard and use electronic numbers that can be changed by the scoring laptop is adjusted ball by ball.

During the season the team fielded a mix of seven home grown players, two who had moved to the town and the two student cricketers. It is important that the Club retains its position as the Cowbridge Cricket Club and while the Club must strengthen as it builds on this year the ambition remains firm that the Club wish to play in the Premier League first division with a largely home grown side. Not everyone can play in the 1st XI but it is important that the Club builds a squad with the role of the 2nd XI set to become ever more important.

Furthermore when one listens to none other than Ben Wright telling anyone how important reestablishing a 3rd XI is you begin to realise the Club’s values are good ones. What the successes of the past season have done is to raise expectations in terms of cricket management. The Officers are as aware as anyone that there are opportunities to improve and raise standards across the activities of the Club. There will be a short period of consultation before the cricket plans for next year are put in place.

Beyond the boundary the major project is to landscape the Llwynhelig End and it seems that the removal of the old steel sight screen and the large conifers has been met with approval. The Hornbeam hedge will make a difference to the look and feel of the ground. It is another example of the Club achieving a long lasting solution of quality to go with the purchase of machinery, the refurbishment of the nets and the Fred Dunn gates as well as  the placing of memorial benches on the terrace.

Finally ‘thank you’ to those who have been kind enough to tell me that they have enjoyed the articles this year. It may have been a little fanciful to compare the Llynfi Valley with the hills of Tuscany and it is true that the imagination was stretched a little at Gorseinon where there was nobody actually drinking gin. Hopefully there will be more nonsense next season.

JRB


Saturday 25th August 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE 1st XI FINISH WITH A VICTORY BUT THE PREMIER LEAGUE WILL HAVE TO WAIT


Dylan Thomas’ line ‘Do not go gentle into that goodnight, rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light’ sums up the mood of the Cowbridge 1st XI at close of play last Saturday.  The light that had been their beacon of purpose during this past season did not so much die as be extinguished by the most likely of outcomes occurring  in Saturday’s  final round of fixtures. Both Gorseinon and Cowbridge won leaving a small but vital differential in Gorseinon’s favour and so the Swansea based club won The Dan Radcliffe Cup and promotion to the Premier League with Cowbridge as runners up.

For the team it was indeed time to rage, rage, rage with all the feelings of built up frustration; despite having had a wonderfully successful season their ultimate goal had eluded them.

 The final match of the campaign saw Aberdare beaten by five wickets; Cowbridge achieved their highest placing in thirteen years. For the 1st XI it was scant recompense for the way they had played. However given that in the only game played between the two teams Gorseinon beat Cowbridge the lads can have no complaints. Had the match against Gorseinon at Cowbridge taken place then who can say how things would have worked out but the luck with the weather ran for the Swansea team that week and the following week when they managed to play Swansea Civil Service.  

However on Saturday the Cowbridge victory against Aberdare was a pretty straightforward affair. The visitors batted first and reached a total of 93. The Harare Express, Brad Evans (3-7)  and Tatenda Chiradza (3-14) had knocked the stuffing out of the Aberdare batting  reducing them to 51-5 and it was Cowbridge’s  game thereafter.

There were some spills along the way but Ben Wright saw Cowbridge home with yet another fifty to record a five wicket win.

There were warm words for the way Cowbridge had played through the season from one of their legends, John Bevan. Celebrating his eighty third birthday ‘JB’, taker of in excess of a thousand wickets for the Club was proud of the lads and was already looking forward to next season. ‘Am I positive about the prospects for Cowbridge? Yes without a doubt’ said John.

The make up of the First Division next year is that Tata Steel drop down from the Premier League to replace Gorseinon. At the bottom end Merthyr and Swansea Civil Service drop down to the second Division, Briton Ferry Steel and Llangennech are promoted.

There will be a review of the season in next week’s Cowbridge Gem but in the meanwhile as Kipling’s  ‘flannelled fools’ give way to the ‘muddied oafs’ your scribe hands over to Messers  Vaughan and Killick to keep us abreast  of the progress of the RFC as we wish them well under their Captain Richie Howson.

JRB



SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE SECONDS FINNISH SEASON 6TH IN THE LEAGUE


 The cricket season closed not with a bang, but with a whimper, for Cowbridge second eleven.  Safe in mid-table, with no chance of promotion or relegation, the side from The Athletic Ground travelled to the Tawe valley to play Llandarcy, who were third before proceedings and needing to win to have any chance of claiming the second and final promotion spot.  The Friday evening rain had left the batting surface decidedly damp, making it highly suitable for bowlers, so it was of no surprise when the home side, having won the toss, asked Cowbridge to bat first.

It was slow progress for the batsmen, but Jonathan Webb scored 21 and Jonathan Napier, who made a very welcome return after his six weeks of army training in Kentucky, made 19.  Llandarcy, with a whiff of promotion in the air, were focused and determined and their fielding was excellent.  They took several good catches and bowled accurately, restricting middle-order batsmen Alistair Lawson to 16 and Naveed Younas to 12 respectively.  Wickets fell regularly, but David Gascoyne, who normally opens the innings for the Broad Shoard side, came in at number ten and, despite a tight hamstring, managed to score 22 not out, to boost the total to 109 for 9 from the full allotment of 40 overs. 

It was not a great total, but, on a damp wicket, Cowbridge were in with a chance, provided that they bowled and fielded well.  Sadly, they did not.  Sami Khan caught and bowled their opening bat, but the other Llandarcy opener swung his bat at everything with gay abandon.  He was dropped three times and it was only when a smart piece of fielding by Will Harris ran him out for 47 that the away team could finally see the back of him.  By this time though, the damage was done and the Neath side’s next two batsmen were untroubled, reaching their target in fewer than twenty overs.

And so, sadly, another season comes to a close.  The second eleven’s achievements were rather average overall, losing slightly more games than they won, but it was a summer of mostly glorious weather and good pitches, for which Hugh Williams deserves a big thank you and so everyone enjoyed themselves.  The main problem was a lack of numbers, but hopefully the club can continue to bring through and retain some good junior players, as well as recruit a few more adults to boost the squad.  Finally, a special mention is warranted for club stalwarts David Webb and Jon Brazier, who were willing to step in at the last minute on a number of occasions when the team was short.

DG



Saturday 18th August 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

THE HARARE EXPRESS ARRIVES ON TIME


‘Much ado about nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays. As the title suggests despite a whole series of twists and turns it all turns out at the end with things are much as they had been at the beginning. For Cowbridge’s 1st XI   at the start time of 1.30pm there was a margin of six points between them and the leaders at the top of Division One, Gorseinon. At the end of the matches involving the two clubs everything had returned to the situation that had had existed at the start. Like the play there was some drama along the way.

Cowbridge’s Captain, Chris Willy the Don Pedro of the action, went to Merthyr with a plan. Not to spend a few days with an old friend as Don Pedro aimed to, there was a match to win and win quickly. Word had spread to the top of the valleys that due to rain Gorseinon were struggling to play. Win before the rain arrived was the order of the day.

The troop responded magnificently to the challenge. Cowbridge bowled the home side out for 40 and then got the total in four overs. The whole action had been completed in an hour and thirty six minutes including the break between the innings. However this match will long be remembered as Brad’s match.

The Zimbabwean born all rounder, Brad Evans totally dominated the fixture producing a quite magnificent spell of quick bowling ten overs, including five maidens and taking eight wickets for eleven runs. Quite simply Brad was in a different class.  All season he has been a consistent and regular wicket taker and after Saturday he is now the First Division’s leading wicket taker with thirty three. The other bowlers, Tatenda Chiradza and Tom Williams (2-10) were both excellent but on the day were eclipsed by the Harare Express.

Go back to 1973 at Cross Keys and John Bevan took 9-14 as the home side were skittled out for 20. Go back further to 1959 when Douglas Davies took 9-42 at Bridgend and before him the great club bowler of the inter-war years, Ted Lewis recorded 9-10 against Burnham in 1932. J C Clay took 9-32 against Pontypridd having played in a Test Match only a matter of months before. However Lyn Llewellyn remains the only man to have taken all ten in an innings, a feat that he managed only conceding eleven runs against Llandaff.  The few who have achieved these feats were all bowlers out of the top drawer, all famous names in Cowbridge cricket lore and Brad is a worthy member of their cohort.

To secure the win the Captain then sent in Brad to accompany Ben Wright to the middle. The bowler of menace now became a murderer of the Merthyr bowling scoring 28 off just 11 balls including two sixes. When Brad’s fun ended there were just a few needed and Ben soon clipped one off his legs to complete the job.

As the team arrived back at The Athletic Club there were no Shakespearian misunderstandings, the message was clear, Gorseinon were playing. Playing a shortened game provided them with a win over Swansea Civil Service and nineteen points.

So where does this leave Chris, Brad and their pals?  What has to happen or Cowbridge to go ahead next week and in the last round of fixures is that Cowbridge have to win at home against Aberdare and Gorseinon must either lose at Maesteg Celtic or that game must fall to the weather. At least the equation is a simple one.

For a while it seemed on Saturday that Cowbridge had a hand on The Dan Radcliffe Cup only for the rain to stop in Gorseinon and reprieve the home side. Who can say what might happen on Saturday but Cowbridge team would be keen to see The Tempest in Maesteg. That could mean ‘All’s Well That Ends Well.’

PS There has been some discussion recently about the name of the playing field next to The Broardshord that is home to the four sports that share the facilities, Cricket, Tennis , Rugby and Squash. The field was known as Cae Wyndham until it was purchased by Mr E H Ebsworth of Llandough Castle in 1895. Mr Ebsworth then constructed the sportsground for the use of his own cricket XI and the locals including the town’s cricketers and tennis players. Literature of the period refers to the ground as ‘Mr Ebsworth’s Field’.

However in 1913 the newly formed Cowbridge and District Athletic Club purchased the ground from an ailing Mr Ebsworth and it then became ‘The Athletic Ground’. Confusion seems have come from two sources. The Fred Dunn Gates have led some to assume that the ground is named after Fred who revived the Club post World War One. Not so. Secondly others refer to it as if their sport is the only one played there hence it is then  referred to as ‘the Cricket Club’, ‘the Rugby Club’ and so on. In fact the four sections are really one organisation, they are each parts of The Cowbridge and District Athletic Club and they play at The Athletic Ground.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE SECURE VICTORY AGAINST FELINFOEL THIS TIME


Cricket loving readers with excellent memories might recall that Cowbridge 2nd XI travelled to Felinfoel in June with only seven players and only narrowly lost.  On Saturday, Cowbridge welcomed Felinfoel to the Broad Shoard and the reverse happened; Felinfoel arrived with only seven players and nearly pulled off an unlikely victory.  That this was the case was largely due to Julian Griffiths, who scored a superb 146 not out for the visitors.  On an excellent batting surface, he was particularly ruthless with any short bowling.  What is more, the outfield was slow from the morning drizzle and so he would have scored more boundaries, had the ball not travelled so slowly across the damp grass.  Cowbridge managed to take three wickets, with stalwart John Gilbert taking two; both stumpings by David Gascoyne and Will Harris took the other, a fine ball that trapped the Felinfoel number four LBW.  Felinfoel achieved 212 runs in their 40 overs.

After a tasty Happy Days tea, Cowbridge’s opening batsmen Jonathan Webb and David Gascoyne were soon into their strides, but superb fielding by the indefatigable Griffiths kept the score lower than it would otherwise have been.  Even so, trying to defend with only five fielders, a bowler and a wicketkeeper is an almost impossible task, as Cowbridge 2nd XI knows all too well and Gascoyne in particular began to accelerate the scoring rate.  The opening pair put on 170 runs for the first wicket, before Webb, with 68 runs to his name, made the injudicious decision to take a quick single and that man Griffiths ran him out.  Gascoyne went on to score 114, his second century of the season, before lofting a straightforward catch.  Naveed Younas with 21 not out and Rob Thomas, 2 not out, saw the home side overhaul the target with about four overs to spare.

This victory lifted the Broad Shoard side to joint fifth in the division of ten teams.  With one game left; away at Llandarcy, Cowbridge are destined to finish mid-table.

DG



Monday 13th August 2018


UPOTTERY’S TOUR STARTS WITH A WIN

The Saying that, “Cricket can sometimes be a funny game” was very true on Monday when Cowbridge Cricket Club played host to Upottery. This village team who play in the second division of the Devon Shire league started a 4 day tour of S. Wales, playing also Barry Wanderers, Barry West End and Pentyrch. The team had a close relationship with the staff cricket team of Cowbridge School and Glan Williams has kept the association on going with his Barry West End side.

Cowbridge fielded a team of veterans, regular members and youth and invited the visitors to bat first. Opening bat M Button-Stevens carried his bat for the full 40 overs unbeaten on 81 in a score of 202 for 7. He was ably supported by 2 brothers,  A N Pulman 24 and R Pulman 42. Young Wil Harris and Tom Wood both had figures of 1 for 33 while the best of the bowlers were Sam Russell 3 for 40 and John Gilbert 2 for 22.

In reply Cowbridge were always on top thanks to Alistair Lawson 25 and Jack Cropper 72 who put on an opening stand of 83. Jack then had stands with Naveed Younis 47 and Andrew Walker 19 before he gave his wicket away for others to bat. The score then was 170 for 2 with 32 runs needed off the last 8 overs. This was when the twist in fortune came about. Wickets fell quickly, in fact 5 and as the scoring rate was increased so panic set in and Cowbridge failed to cross the line at 195 for 8 losing by 5 runs.

However it was a most enjoyable game enjoyed by both teams with the hosts best wishes extended to the visitors over the next 3 games.

HW






















Cowbridge XI






















Upottery Team


Saturday 11th August 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

“MATCH OF A GENERATION” THWARTED BY RAIN


Sir Henry Newbolt would not have approved of the events at The Athletic Ground on Saturday. There was no ‘breathless hush’’, no ‘blinding light’; Francis Thompson could not have watched modern cricket and dreamt the flickering shadows were ‘My Barlow and my Hornby of long ago’; there was none of Albert Craig’s ‘Joy in the pavilion’ at the batting of a young tyro.

There was nothing, certainly no cause for poetry, just for disappointment. The notion that Cowbridge might win their biggest match in a generation and go top of the South Wales Cricket Association was ended effectively when rain began mid morning. The teams languished in the Pavilion until the Umpires confirmed the latest start time had passed. The net result was the differential between Cowbridge and leaders Gorseinon remained at six points, 270 to 264.

Cowbridge are now confirmed of at least runners up spot but in the context it of little source of pride as that would mean no promotion to the Premier League. To wrest the top spot off Saturday’s visitors what do they need to do in the next two matches?

First Cowbridge need to win both matches against Merthyr (A) and Aberdare (H) with maximum points. They might then get seven more bonus points than Gorseinon. This is possible but unlikely to make a significant difference.

Second they must hope that Swansea Civil Service beat Gorseinon on Saturday.  This is hard to imagine as SCS have not won a match all season. However rain at Swansea and not at Merthyr would have a dramatic effect in Cowbridge’s favour but rain at Merthyr and not at Swansea would probably see the end of the Cowbridge challenge. The rain factor is very relevant as an abandonment yields just four points, a win might gain twenty.

The final weekend is equally intriguing. If both teams go to the last weekend with a similar differential to now then Cowbridge have the advantage of a home match and Gorseinon will have to travel to Maesteg Celtic. There is a lack of covering at Maesteg and the ground is managed by the local council who might not have the motivation to do everything possible to get a game on if it is wet. Additionally Maesteg Celtic are third in the table and The Garth is never a place to expect an easy win.

Confused? It will all be over at around 7.30pm on August 25th. Club Captain Chris Willey has two games to get the award of a   ‘ribboned coat’ and a ‘season’s fame’, so lads ‘Play up, play up and play the game’.

JRB



Wednesday 8th August 2018


T20 REPORT

COWBRIDGE FINISH SECOND IN THE MID WEEK LEAGUE


Cowbridge finished their season with a home rearranged match against Cardiff. This was the only game to fall foul of the weather in what has been fantastic cricketing season. The game was also fitting to conclude the season with a cracker of a match.

Batting first, against a very young but experienced youngsters from Cardiff Club, the Cowbridge openers took the game by the scruff of the neck. Despite exceptional ground fielding by the visitors Brad Evans 61 runs and Rian Thomas 17 put up an opening stand of 78 in 8 overs. Andy Harrison 29 and Jack Cropper 37 runs kept up the momentum for the home team to finish on 171 for 5.

The second period was a perfect start for the home team with Sam Russell dismissing the openers cheaply. A dogged 55 not out by J. Meggitt assisted by D. Boorman 30 runs kept Cardiff in the game but tight bowling by the home team ensured that the scoring rate was not up to the mark. Cardiff finished on 138 for 5.

Of the 7 fixtures played in the league Cowbridge only lost to Penarth who finished top with 109 points to Cowbridge’s 106, both teams having lost 1 game, but better bonus points to the sea-siders. It has been a good season finishing runner up and losing in the semi final of the cup and our thanks to all 40 players that have contributed throughout the season. A special thanks is extended to young captain Joe Russell in his first season in that capacity.

HW


Saturday 4th August 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

WILLEY SUCCEEDS WHERE CROMWELL FAILED


Saturday saw Cowbridge Cricket Club win at Llandysul to keep up the pressure on league leaders Gorseinon who they meet next Saturday at The Athletic Ground. In winning at Llandysul Willey’s men did something a most illustrious commander failed to achieve.

In 1644 when the Parliamentary army of Oliver Cromwell threatened Royalist Llandysul the locals pulled down the bridge that crossed the Teifi to keep the enemy out. The Lord Protector concluded that Llandysul was hardly worth the bother of building a new bridge to attack the town so he appears to have left the area while the locals remained to puzzle how to get to Carmarthen.

Had Cromwell been around today he would probably not approved of much that goes on in the ancient town. Today it is a place dedicated to leisure and fun, a tourist centre with the Teifi providing world class fishing and kayaking. There is also a rather marvellous cricket ground, one of best in the west which is set in a loop of the river and has a spectacular mature wood rising majestically on the opposite bank.

When Chris Willey and his Cowbridge 1st XI arrived via Carmarthen they were welcomed with a new bridge and an excellent pitch to bat on. The team took full advantage of the conditions and the heat, the sort of heat in fact that Charles 1st might have preferred on the day of his execution when he was obliged to wear two shirts to avoid any shaking with cold. This shaking might have been mistaken for nerves but with the confidence that comes from six successive wins that’s something the Cowbridge team do not have to worry about.

The openers,  ‘the handsome driver,  Ben Wright (142) and the artful nudger, Tom Merilaht (112) put on 255 for the first wicket.  Brad Evans then hit 32 in no time displaying all the violence that Cromwell showed in Ireland. The game was put beyond the local Cavaliers when the 50 over total read 312-3.

Before the game both Tom and Ben were close to scoring a thousand runs during this season. To put this in context it is a feat that has only been achieved on nine previous occasions. Of the nine Linton Lewis of the Windward Islands and Ammanford did it four times and holds the record aggregate of 1543. Only two England qualified batsmen have done it, Alun Evans and Jason Davies twice.  However it is remarkable that this year within half an hour of each other two batsmen from the same club achieved a place in the record books.

When Llandysul batted there was little urgency as they seemed content to aim for four batting points and they ended up at 178-8. There were wickets for Tatenda Chiradza (3-32), Tom Williams (2-32) and Ryan Thomas (2-22).

The net result for Cowbridge was that having started the day seven points adrift of Gorseinon they reduced the margin by one point. What they did though was set up a ‘winner takes all’ contest next week. There is likely to be some Roundhead efficiency in the Cowbridge play next Saturday but should they emerge with a win they will celebrate like Cavaliers.

JRB


COWBRIDGE V GORSEINON PREVIEW

COWBRIDGE CRICKETERS FACE THEIR DAY OF DESTINY


On Saturday 11th August Cowbridge take on Gorseinon in what is the most important cricket match to be played at The Athletic Ground for a generation. Whichever club emerges victorious will in all likelihood go on to win The Dan Radcliffe Cup and promotion to the South Wales Premier Cricket League.

The South Wales Cricket Association is the league that covers an area from Cowbridge to Llandysul and one club will be promoted. Currently the points differential in Division One is that Gorseinon have 265 and Cowbridge 258. With twenty points are available per game, ten for the win and five each for batting and bowling, whoever wins on Saturday will lead the table. On form the likelihood is that Gorseinon and Cowbridge would both be expected to win their last two games and so the destiny of both seems to rest on Saturday’s match.

Getting into the SWPCL is important.  There is little point in playing if success is not sought. At Cowbridge this ambition is apparent in both individuals, as a team and as a club. Cowbridge possesses all the attributes of a Premier League club and her players need the opportunity to play at the highest level they can.

Who are the men charged with the mission on Saturday? Seven of them began their careers in the Cowbridge Junior Section. That in itself emphasises that this is a team that truly represents the town. The stars of the XI are the opening batsmen, former Glamorgan star Ben Wright, the handsome driver, and Tom Merilaht the artful nudger. These two are simply the best combination in the League, would probably be the best in the Premier League and indeed it’s hard to imagine that the Club has ever had a better pair. Both have scored over one thousand runs already this year. The others  to have emerged from the  Junior Section  include  captain Chris Willey, like Tom Merilaht  from Penllyne, leading wicket taker Tom Williams from Llanmihangel and young pace bowlers Sam Russell from Ystradowen and Rian Thomas from Broadway.  

The club has been fortunate that Jack Cropper and Nick Wood, both very substantial talents as batsman and off spinner moved to Cowbridge to live and they have both made substantial contributions this year.

 Adding an international dimension are Zimbabwean students Brad Evans and Tatenda Criradza. Both played for their country at junior levels and now study at Cardiff Met University. They have added some real class to the bowling and batting. Brad in particular has shown the priceless ability to put a game out of an opponent’s reach. The Harare thunderbolt regularly puts Cowbridge’s opponents under pressure by getting their top order batsmen out and scores runs with an astonishing strike rate.

The squad will also include Jack Harris or Matt Harper, both of whom are attacking batsmen from Pontyclun and Colwinston respectively.

The match is sure to be a tense affair. However, this season on average Cowbridge have won their matches by 8 wickets or 94 runs while Gorseinon have been victorious by 5 wickets or 55 runs. That would suggest Cowbridge have been defeating their opponents by substantially greater margins than Gorseinon. The bowling seems to be edged by Cowbridge where the top five bowlers’ combined average is 14.2 against Gorseinon’s 15.9. With the bat Cowbridge would seem to again have an advantage averaging 66.3 against 55.5. If these statistics give Cowbridge some encouragement it would be foolish to read too much into them. The real message is that it will be a tight match.

So what were the details of that last big game of similar importance played on August Bank Holiday, 1974? Howard Morgan’s side needed to beat Pontypridd to tie for the Conference title with Barry. In a low scoring game on a wet but drying pitch Howard, Gerald Leeke and John Bevan got wickets and saw Cowbridge home despite only having only 86 to defend.

Your support of the Cowbridge 1st XI could make all the difference. Captain Chris Willey and the lads can do something special on Saturday. It promises to be quite a contest, don’t miss it!

The match starts at 1.30pm and the bar will be open at 4pm.

JRB



Saturday 28th July 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE CLOSING IN ON LEAGUE LEADERS


If Cowbridge Cricket Club should end the season as winners of the Dan Radcliffe Cup and gain promotion to the South Wales Premier League last Saturday’s events will prove to have been highly significant. Cowbridge defeated Gowerton by 54 runs and Gorseinon were abandoned at Aberdare.

At the start of play Cowbridge trailed the long time leaders, Gorseinon by twenty three points. At close of play that margin had been reduced to seven. Four matches remain with a further eighty points available. It really seems to be heading towards a winner takes all showdown on August 11th when Gorseinon come to Cowbridge.

It might just be that there is now a real momentum behind the Cowbridge challenge. Before Saturday’s events it looked like it was Gorseinon’s championship to lose. Now it looks like Cowbridge’s to win. Batting first Cowbridge sent a new look opening pair into bat as Brad Evans accompanied the artful nudger, Tom Merilaht to the crease. Ben Wright being in China on business.

The new combination took the score to 48 before Brad was caught for 29 and then Jack Cropper and Tom took the score on to 137 before Jack departed for 40. Any thought that this solid start would then allow the lower order to push the score above two hundred were abruptly ended when a heavy squall hit the Athletic Ground. At the time the rain arrived the home XI score was 174-4 with a certain T Merilaht on 97 not out.

A second not out score this season in the nineties did not seem to worry Tom. Why should it? There is every chance that Tom will break the thousand run barrier very soon. With 954 there is probably only one man who could get there first and that’s Tom’s usual partner, one B J Wright who has 918.

The rain meant that Cowbridge did not bat again and as the bad weather persisted and time was now eating into the Gowerton innings it became clear that the Duckworth Lewis system would be called upon. In basic terms DL is a method of adjusting a target to account for time lost.  Additionally it provides a margin ahead or behind that of the team batting first.

Play resumed at 6.02pm with the DL revised total being 167 off 31 overs. A further complicating factor was that should Gowerton’s innings be truncated to fewer than twenty overs by further rain the game would be abandoned.

As things turned out everything worked out well. Gowerton’s openers were quickly dismissed by Brad Evans (2-25) and then despite the efforts of Bevan Daniels with 42 the Cowbridge attack did its work. Tom Merilaht (3-14) broke the only partnership of any consequence but it was the experienced Matt Smart (3-28) who rolled back the years. Whatever regrets Matt may have had about putting his body through the rigours of a game on a blustery day his reward was to have provided a link back to the early 1990’s when Cowbridge won the lower divisions with regularity. It might not have quite equalled J C Clay’s return at fifty years of age to help Glamorgan win the County Championship but it was a fine effort. Gowerton were dismissed for 112

Captain of Cowbridge Chris Willey could hardly believe how Saturday had worked out. No doubt there will be further dramas before this season has ended. Next week it’s away at Llandysul for Cowbridge while Gorseinon have a home fixture against Bronwydd. As Chris predicted this season could go down to the last session, that now seems certain.

JRB


Sunday 22nd July 2018


UNDER 9’s REPORT


The ninth Sunday festival was held at Barry Island` against teams of Cardiff Gymkhana, Barry and Miskin. Cowbridge defeated Miskin by 18 runs and also Barry by 14 runs. They came unstuck against some big hitting of the Gymkhana boys and lost by 28 runs.

Next Sunday the squad finishes the season with a festival held at Cardiff C.C. This will be the 10th Festival with no interruption by the Welsh weather for 10 Sundays. This must be a record!!

HW


Saturday 21st July 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE STILL IN WITH A CHANCE


It’s not often that the Llynfi Valley gets compared to Tuscany but the parched rounded hills provided an Italiante vista against which the Cowbridge 1st XI defeated the home side, Maesteg Celtic by 68 runs and garnered 19 league points.

The frustration was that the leaders, Gorseinon contrived to get a full house at Merthyr and gain a point on Cowbridge. The renaissance of Cowbridge and Gorseinon has seen a terrific battle for The Dan Radcliffe Cup all season. The situation is now that Gorseinon have a lead of twenty one points and there are five games to go with a maximum of one hundred points available.

The match at Cowbridge against Gorseinon on 11th August will be crucial. However that supposes Cowbridge continue to win each week otherwise the Championship will probably go west. Additionally the weather could intervene or Gorseinon might slip up. It’s been absorbing for the neutral, nerve-wracking for the supporters and a great advert for the cricket played by the two Clubs.

So under an azure almost Florentine sky the formidable pairing of Tom Merilaht (68) and Ben Wright (129) were in a careful mood on a very dry pitch of variable bounce. Putting on their third double hundred stand of the season the pair were rather more engineers than exhibitors of flamboyant brush work, Brunelleschi rather than Botticelli. It was Ben’s fourth hundred of the season and in his last fourteen innings in League cricket he has scored six of them, one a double hundred. It is quite remarkable. A delightful cameo from Brad Evans (40) pushed the total to a safe position at tea, 264-4.

The Cowbridge attack bowled well and the fielding was of a uniformly high standard but try as they might they could not quite get all ten as the home side ambled to 204-9 without having made any real attempt to win the game. Tom Williams was the leading wicket taker with 3-37.

Tom has been the Palladio of the attack, like the great Venetian architect’s designs Tom’s bowling is a study in simplicity and elegance. This gives him a consistency that batsmen find great difficulty in scoring off.  It’s not a surprise then that Tom is top of economy rate table. In outstanding form all season his twenty four wickets at an average of 8.67 put him top of the League averages. Tom is just ahead of Brad Evans with 22 at 11.55 and Nick Wood with 21 at 17.29.

On Saturday the Athletic Ground will host the visit of Gowerton. It promises to be another absorbing contest and the Cowbridge CC hope that their support will swell as they fight out the remaining fixtures. On Saturday the match will start at 1.30 pm, the bar will open at four o’clock and the weather is set fair.

What more could you want than to watch highly competitive quality club cricket being played on a splendid ground? A visit to the Uffizi perhaps? Isn’t that in Maesteg?

RJB


SECOND XI REPORT

CLOSE GAME LEAVES COWBRIDGE NARROWLY DEFEATED


The weather has helped make this a glorious summer for playing Cricket and the main ingredients were there again on Saturday at the Broad Shoard, as Cowbridge 2nd eleven welcomed second-placed Drefach.  The sun was shining, the pitch was firm and flat, the opposition were a decent bunch of chaps, there was the lovely tea, prepared by Happy Days and a convivial evening at the bar afterwards.  The only thing missing was the victory, but it was a fabulous, close game, played in a good spirit.

Cowbridge batted first and managed to score 165 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in the allotted forty overs.  David Gascoyne was first out, scoring 59 and Jonathan Webb hung around to score 70.  Jonathan has scored a good number of runs this season, but hasn’t been at his most fluent, yet there were signs of him hitting top form towards the end of his innings, as we watched him drive the ball majestically down the ground on several occasions.  Even so, the total was only respectable, not brilliant and Drefach, chasing promotion, were always going to give it a go.  Unfortunately for Cowbridge, they got off to a flying start, as the home side’s opening attack struggled for accuracy and that meant that the opposition were never under sufficient pressure to make them panic.  Even so, the more accurate bowling of spin twins, Ian Evans (two wickets) and Naveed Younas, brought a degree of control.  This was followed up by club stalwarts John Gilbert, who took four wickets and Guy Parker.  In the end, it was only the experience of Drefach captain, Joe Evans, with some clever tactics, which enabled the away team to secure victory, reaching 166 for the loss of 8 wickets with seven balls to spare. 

Cowbridge remain sixth out of ten and venture to struggling Maesteg Celtic next Saturday knowing that another win will keep them well clear of the relegation position.

DG


Wednesday 18th July 2018


T20 REPORT

T 20 LEAGUE TITLE IN THE BALANCE

Having won all previous league matches Cowbridge travelled to Penarth with confidence knowing that a win against Penarth would guarantee the league title. This summer weather has provided little interruption to the cricketing programme but the Athletic field at Penarth provided an outfield that was cracked bone dry and quite dangerous. The wicket was very firm and devoid of any grass and both sides need congratulating on providing an entertaining game.

Cowbridge batted first and got off to a solid start though a little slow on the run rate. Tom Williams 49 and Rian Thomas 38 runs provided the backbone to the innings. In a chase for quick runs Cowbridge lost 7 wickets in scoring 123 runs.

An early wicket for Sami Khan lifted the visitor’s hopes of a victory that has eluded them at this ground for years, but Richard Skone with 69 not out and J Hitching 27 runs guided Penarth to victory in the 19th over for the loss of 4 wickets. Richard, a very accomplished cricketer has been the thorn of Cowbridge’s losses over the years as yet again he had a faultless innings.

Cowbridge hope to play the rearranged Cardiff game in a fortnight’s time to finish the season.

HW


Sunday 15th July 2018


UNDER 9’s REPORT


On yet another blistering hot Sunday morning the U 9’s played host Pentyrch, Miskin and Cardiff. First up were Cardiff and the team put on a splendid performance against the side where winning has eluded them. Batting first Cardiff reached 253 runs in a 12 aside game. In reply with the score at 248 with 1 over to it looked as though tables could be turned. However Cardiff held an ace up their sleeve leaving their best bowler to last. He got 2 wickets and the team lost by 9 runs. The lessons of the previous week were taken on board and this was a much more accomplished performance.

Playing 8 aside for the next 2 games Cowbridge dominated proceedings in defeating Pentyrch by 48 runs and Miskin by 13 runs. Daniel Thomas, Trystan Lucas and Alex Anderson were to the fore with their batting.

HW


Saturday 14th July 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

EMPHATIC WIN FOR COWBRIDGE


Swansea Civil Service travelled to Cowbridge with a heavy defeat in their minds earlier in the season. Knowing the strength of the home team’s batting their captain elected to bat first. On a wicket produced to give bounce and pace little did he realise the strength in depth of the home team attack. Brad Evans with 1 for 22 and Rian Thomas 4 for 14 were too good for the away team’s batsmen and they had no change from Nick Wood 1 for 6 and Tom Williams 3 for 15 when they came on as change bowlers. The Swansea innings concluded on 69 runs.

Early tea was taken before Ben Wright 33 not out and Tom Merilaht 34 not out polished off the game reaching 70 in 10 overs. Cowbridge remain hot on the heels of Gorseinon who also won their game at Dafen to lead Division 1. Maesteg Celtic is Cowbridge’s opponents away next week.

Earlier in the week the Club received the sad news that our President’s mother, Diana Phyllis Bird had died at Brocastle Care Home. Our sincere condolences are extended to husband Roger, son Jeffrey, daughter Heather and their families. The “Bird” family have long been established with the cricket section and Diana loved to come down to the ground with Roger to watch the cricket especially when their son, Jeff was playing.

HW


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE 2ND XI PUT IN GREAT TEAM EFFORT


It was a fine team effort from the Cowbridge 2nd XI to beat third-placed Baglan.  Cowbridge batted first and when Gascoyne was out for 12, unlucky to get caught off his glove when a ball reared-up off a good length delivery, it looked like the incredibly dry pitch was going to make scoring difficult, but it ended up being quite a high scoring game.  Jonathan and Heath Webb built a solid partnership, scoring 41 and 30 respectively, but it was a rapid 53 from Umar Rafique that was the biggest contribution, especially as it included four sixes.  He was ably supported at the other end by 14-year old Lewis Sevenoaks, who is maturing nicely and scored a useful 25 not out.  Cowbridge finished on 184 for 7 from their 40 overs. 

In response, Baglan found it quite tricky, thanks to tidy opening spells from Heath and Umar, as well as fine fielding and catching by local doctor, Ian Harris, but Baglan opener, Paul Morris, kept his side in the run chase.  When he was joined by Baglan’s experienced middle-order batsman, Keith Perkins, it looked like they might be able to overhaul Cowbridge’s total, but they hadn’t accounted for the wily experience of John Gilbert and Naveed Younas.  The former got three wickets, while Naveed was very economical and eventually dismissed Morris for 53.  Cowbridge then turned the screw and Baglan could only get to 157 for 7, so 27 runs short.  The win lifted Cowbridge to sixth out of ten in the table.

DG


Wednesday 11th July 2018


T20 REPORT

COWBRIDGE TEAM LOSE UNBEATEN TAG


The semi final of the Vale Cup was played at home against Fontygary. Put in to bat Cowbridge started briskly with Chris Willey 29 and Tom Williams 39 runs gaining a first wicket partnership of 81 in 8 overs. The loss of middle order batsmen cheaply slowed down the scoring rate before young Heath Webb 31 not out and N. Younis 15 put some respectability to the score of 160 for 7.

Accurate bowling was needed on this fast track and even faster outfield. Cometh the hour and the visitors opening bat R. jones hit a faultless 99 not out and with the help of Adam Sylvester 26 not out steering the visitors to victory in the 18th over.

HW



Sunday 8th July 2018


UNDER 9S REPORT


The seventh U.9’s festival was held at Miskin Cricket Club on a very hot and sunny Sunday morning. The Cowbridge squad met the hosts and the 2 strongest sides they meet in St. Fagans and Cardiff. The first game was against the Saints but the total was restricted to 216 due mainly to the loss of 8 wickets costing the team 40 runs. However after the first 6 overs everything looked rosy having taken 2 wickets and no runs scored but the last 6 batsmen scored steadily without losing wickets to register 244 at the close.

Against a very young and inexperienced Miskin side the whole team bowled much better gaining 8 wickets and restricting the home team to 198 runs. All the batsmen scored runs With Reuben Davies, George Morgan, Alex Anderson and Trystan Lucas all top scoring with 8 for a total of 262 runs and a comfortable victory.

The last encounter was against Cardiff and as the temperature rose, so the concentration evaporated. Batting first Cowbridge scored 203 runs having lost 8 wickets but 30 runs did come off the bat. Cardiff lost only 2 wickets and scored less off the bat -20 runs, but totalled 258 runs which in the end was a comfortable victory. The lesson learnt in the heat of day was to defend the straight ball and when hitting out not to give catches.

HW


Saturday 7th July 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE XI GET MAXIMUM 20 POINTS, BUT REMAIN AT 2ND IN THE LEAGUE


To find genuine sport without gimmicks where the competition is enough to provide a compelling narrative is difficult. Don’t look at the professional sports, they so often trivialise their own product to an extent that devalues even their ‘crown jewels’. Look instead at The Dan Radcliffe Cup. First played for in 1926 Radcliffe saw presenting a trophy as a way of encouraging cricket across South Wales. Cardiff won the Cup in its inaugural year but soon the South Wales Cricket Association became concentrated in the area west of Cowbridge and now stretches down to deepest Carmarthenshire. It’s that competition that took Cowbridge down to the picturesque ground at Bronwydd last Saturday. There were no mascots, pop music, coloured clothing or any other meaningless marketing initiatives. You had two teams facing each other because they wanted to play cricket not indulge in peripheral floss.

 The Cowbridge season has been a very good one and on Saturday the 1st XI once again gained maximum twenty points as a result of beating Bronwydd by 66 runs. The emotion created by such an emphatic win at such a difficult venue should have been one of elation. Instead it was frustration. Gorseinon also won again and Cowbridge were only able to pick up a single point on the leaders. By the time Cowbridge’s team got back on Saturday Gorseinon had 202 and Cowbridge 181 with seven rounds to be played. It is within Cowbridge’s range but the importance of the home game against the leaders on August 11th becomes evermore evident. This is competition in the raw, it really does matter to the two Clubs.

All Cowbridge can do is keep winning and other than the two losses the team have dominated in every session throughout the season.  At different times different players have risen to the challenge as required but at Bronwydd it was once again the artful nudger, Tom Merilaht who again showed off his worth to the side and led the way to Cowbridge posting 250-8. Tom got 91 of them beginning in an 82 run opening stand with Ben Wright (40) and with Tatenda Cheradza (27). At 183 Tom fell but Jack Cropper (15) and the tail helped Brad Evans (37 in 28 balls) to show how destructive he can be. It was good to see Brad putting the opposition to the sword as he, perhaps more than anyone has suffered from lack of chances as a result of the openers’ extraordinary season.

Tom has now the aggregate of 755 from ten innings at an average of 188. He will now be eyeing Neil Brand’s record of 966 in his single season with the club in 2015. When Neil achieved that total it seemed unlikely it would be broken. Now there are two chasers as Ben is remarkably still ahead of Tom in aggregate – by one run.

It was a big ask for Bronwydd to chase a target of the magnitude set by Cowbridge after being in the field for fifty overs in such warm sun and it proved to be beyond the home side. It was Brad Evans with 3-27, Nick Wood 3-40 and Rian Thomas whose 2-15 included the top scorer who did the damage. Sam Russell’s capture of Glesson, always dangerous was another key moment. Brad now has twenty wickets with Nick and Tom Williams on 19.

The Bronwydd chase ended on 184 and Cowbridge had done all that could have been asked of them. In the 1966 World Cup Willie was all the rage yet now who remembers him? Dan Radcliffe’s Cup however is still fought over every summer Saturday. In any   comparison of their value and contributions to their sports Dan would win every time.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE 2ND XI HAVE HARD HOME GAME AGAINST LLANWRDA


Cowbridge 2nd XI welcomed league leaders, Llanwrda, to the Broad Shoard for the first time on Saturday.  Llanwrda, a village near Llandovery, used to play in the mid-Wales league and so had to join the South Wales Cricket Association at the bottom rung of the ladder a couple of years ago.  They gained promotion to division 5 last year having won every game and they had won every game this year.  Their good run continued at Cowbridge, but they were made to work hard for it.

Llanwrda won the toss on a hot, sunny afternoon and so, naturally, elected to bat, but Cowbridge’s bowlers put them under a lot of pressure.  Sami Khan, Heath Webb and Umar Rafique all bowled very well and wickets began to fall.  The pressure began to tell as Llanwrda’s batsmen started taking risky singles.  Sadly, the Cowbridge fielding was nowhere near as good as its bowling and the batsmen not only escaped, but also saw catches dropped and fielders missing balls that they ought to have stopped.  As the hot weather sapped the fielders’ strength, Llanwrda accelerated and finished its 40 overs on 196 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. 

Cowbridge came out after tea needing nearly five runs an over, but Llanwrda’s bowlers kept things tight and picked up wickets, although Jonathan Webb managed 35 runs.  The star of the show in this run chase was Naveed Younas, who scored a rapid 50, including an enormous six that must have finished in The Bear Field!  Chance of victory departed when he was caught on the boundary and the innings petered out.  Cowbridge could only manage 158 for 8, so 39 runs short of victory.  Those 39 runs could easily have been saved during the Llanwrda innings, had Cowbridge’s fielding been up to scratch and this is clearly an area of the game where the home team need to improve, if they are going to climb the table.  This defeat leaves Cowbridge seventh out of ten in the division.

DG



Sunday 1st July 2018


UNDER 9S REPORT


The 6th round of festivals was held at Barry Island last Sunday with Cardiff Blacks, Miskin and Barry being the competing teams. First up was Cardiff in a game of 11 a side. The more mature Cardiff individuals restricted Cowbridge to 230 runs. Cardiff gained victory scoring 265 runs with their running between the wickets a very positive aspect of their game.

Giving 2 players to Miskin in the second game to make it 9 a side meant that all 12 members of the squad played in all matches. Miskin scored 250 but the Cowbridge batsmen made light work in scoring 273 and victory.

In the last game Barry reached 253 without losing a wicket while Cowbridge replied with 273 with George Morgan and Daniel Thomas set the standard with an opening stand of 25 runs.

HW



Saturday 30th June 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE XI WIN BY A LARGE MARGIN


Where was Herny Blofeld when we needed him? The Test Match Special commentator would have been in his element at the Athletic Ground on Saturday. Not only would Blowers have had a quite remarkable spell of bowling of 10 overs, 5 maidens, 6 wickets for 10 runs by Cowbridge all-rounder Tom Williams to describe he would have had the somnolent crane in the nearby development site and joy of joys the Red Arrows performing a manoeuvre over the match having been the star attraction at the Swansea Air Show.

All this excitement set up another win by a large margin, this time by nine wickets over third placed Dafen Welfare.  The result kept Cowbridge in the hunt to win the Dan Radcliffe Cup and the prize of promotion to the Premier League. Leaders Gorseinon  scraped home at Llandysul  and continue to lead by 21 points which in effect is a win and a few bonus points. Cowbridge remain second and it seems already that the fixture at Cowbridge when Gorseinon visit on August 11th will be crucial.

It remains a big ask to pull back twenty one points over eight matches., If  the Cowbridge XI continue to play as well they did on Saturday it might just be possible. Of course it’s also difficult in the current heatwave to imagine bad weather intervening but August is a wet month and Cowbridge cricketers of the past will remember 1984 and 1994 as years when Championships were decided by rain.

Had the great commentator turned up he would have found a browned off outfield under a cloudless sky which might have reminded him of Karachi. Thanks to Tom’s spell  the home team dropped the visitors for 136. The Cowbridge attack had been opened by Brad Evans (10-3-28-1) and Tatenda Chiradza (7-1-19-0) and the visitors trundled to 33-1 before the Skipper, Chris Willey brought Tom into the attack.

 It was to prove fundamental to the course of the game as Tom proceeded to take the next six wickets reducing the visitors to 52-7. Bowling at a brisk pace Tom’s accuracy is such that he rarely strays off a straight line which is evidenced by the 2.1 economy rate he has produced this year. That makes it difficult for batsmen to score without risk and if they miss Tom hits. With eighteen wickets this season Tom is just ahead of Brad Evans and Nick Wood who have sixteen apiece.

Once Tom had bowled his ten overs the Dafen lower order rallied somewhat to get to 137. The Dafen skipper Chris Hudson kept the innings together with 43 but Tom Merilaht (2-18)  and Nick Wood (1-22) eventually wrapped the innings up.

Fortified by a Happy Days tea which would surely have received top marks from Aggers, Sir Geoffrey and their friends  the opening pair of Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht soon got to work. They were well on the way towards a comfortable victory when with the score at 54 when Ben was caught by a spectacular one handed effort at short mid wicket which seemed to surprise the catcher as much as anyone else. You can imagine Blowers exclaiming  ‘My word ‘ at the sheer  impertinence of it. Having made 37 off 27 balls Ben had set the tempo and had built the platform for Tom, the Artful Nudger (58 not out) to lead the way. However it did not turn out quite that way as  the  new favourite of The Athletic Ground faithful, Tatenda Chiradza  played a series of handsome strokes  (42 not out off 47 balls) to take Cowbridge to victory in  the twenty  sixth over.

Tatenda, like Brad Evans is a former Zimbabwe age group international cricketer exhibited a presence at the wicket that spoke volumes for his ability and confidence. This newcomer is box office and on Saturday making his home debut he made the large gathering around the Pavilion forget their beer and take notice. It would appear that Tatenda is going to prove a very good acquisition. It was a shame that the game ended so quickly but it gave more time to stoke up the barbeque and enjoy the evening as a team together.

Indeed this 1st XI has become a team very quickly and it is very much the Cowbridge team. Six began their careers in the Junior XI’s ( Ben, Tom, Rian, Sam, Tom and Chris ), two have moved into the town ( Nick and Jack) and another(Matt) came from a local club to play at a higher standard. Then there are the two students, Brad and Tatenda who add an international dimension but have both settled in remarkably quickly. Blowers would have said something like ‘My dear old thing that’s marvellous , simply marvellous. Now is there any more cake?’  

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE SECONDS MAKE HAY


“It’s a funny old game, Saint” as Jimmy Greaves used to say.  A fortnight ago, Cowbridge CC second team could only muster 7 players.  This week, it had seventeen players available, while Porthcawl’s ranks were decimated by the loss of players attending the wedding of its first team captain.  So Cowbridge took full advantage and, batting first, scored 244 runs for the loss of only 3 wickets in the allotted 40 overs.  While Jonathan and Heath Webb, contributed about 20 runs apiece and Jonny Napier hit a fluent 39 not out, it was captain, David Gascoyne, who most made hay as the sun shone, continuing his rich vein of form with 150 not out, a personal best at the tender age of 48!

The chances of Porthcawl surpassing Cowbridge’s total were slim and they were almost non-existent after opening bowler, Sami Khan, took 3 wickets for just 18 runs from his 8 overs.  Ian Evans came on and got the ball to spin and bounce menacingly, taking two wickets, before he selflessly volunteered to make way for young Will Harris to have a bowl.  Will rewarded Ian’s generosity with another strong performance and took his first ever hat-trick in senior cricket, which included a fine catch by Heath Webb.  Porthcawl captain, Paul Mason, returning from injury, put up resistance with 36 runs, but Naveed Younas got in on the wicket-taking act and Porthcawl were all out for 114.

This win lifts Cowbridge second eleven to sixth out of ten and they look forward with confidence to facing top-of-the-table Llanwrda at home next week.  However, they won’t have the services of Will Harris, nor Jonny Napier and everyone at the club wishes Jonny a safe and successful trip to America with the Paras.

DG


Wednesday 27th June 2018


T20 REPORT


In the Vale of Glamorgan mid week league Cowbridge extended their unbeaten record to 6 games in a close encounter with Dinas Powys. In this limited form of game it’s unusual for one player to be outstanding with bat and ball. Andy Harrison took over the captaincy of Cowbridge and made the victory possible with his heroic effort. Put in to bat on the slope of the Dinas Common Ground and with a wicket that had variable bounce the team did well to reach 163 for 4 at the close. Saranya Marina on his debut for Cowbridge scored 2 sublime fours before he was out with Matt Harper quickly following. In came the captain and took over proceedings aided by John Napier in a stand of 83 runs. Andy carried his bat for an undefeated 85 which consisted of 2 sixes and 11 fours. John in his last game for the club this season before work takes him abroad scored 31runs.

Dinas started very positive keeping up with the required scoring rate with Rian Thomas and Heath Webb finding wickets hard to get. The introduction of Quin Silk and Andy changed things around with Quin taking 2 wickets for 26 runs and Andy 4 for 12 in his spell. Daniel Thomas deserves mention for bowling accurately in taking 1 for 28 with Dinas all out with the last ball for 144 runs despite the effort of opening bat L. Di Naro who scored 61.

This victory by 19 runs puts the Cowbridge team in top spot in the league and they also look forward to the Cup semi final in 2 weeks time. Penarth away is their next match.

HW


Sunday 24th June 2018


1840 CUP REPORT

CUP SUCCESS FOR COWBRIDGE


The 1840 Cup was won by Cowbridge at Newbridge Fields in Bridgend by a margin of eight wickets.

The highlight of the day was a magnificent unbeaten 100 by Matthew Harper, who spurred his team to regain the trophy.

This was not a full-blooded league fixture, more a celebration of the links between the two clubs that goes back 178 years.

The first fixture was played on a field close to The Golden Mile on September 10, 1840 and Cowbridge were the victors by 61 runs. There is no record of the weather then, but on Sunday it was glorious for cricket.

Over the years there has often been some needle in the fixtures. In 1866 there was a rumpus when Cowbridge needed 61 and were 39-3 and at 6.45 pm the Bridgend team left the field claiming that was stumps.

If this was not enough, the Bridgend XI claimed victory on the basis of a first innings lead!

Happily, later in the summer cordial relations were restored after a match on the side of the Aberthin road - the visitors won the game and the teams retired to the Horse and Groom for a fine dinner and singing.

There was regrettably no singing in this latest encounter but the match had followed in the best traditions.

Batting first, Bridgend scored 189-6 with Rhys Clayton scoring 91 not out. However the target seemed to be paltry as Matt Harper hit 16 fours in reaching his ton, well backed up by the skipper, Chris Willey, who made 77. Matt just kept the attack going until victory was assured.

With the Cowbridge batting so strong this year it was good to see Matt take his chance when it was presented. It was especially good, though, to bring the silverware back to Cowbridge.

JRB


UNDER 9S REPORT


The Cowbridge squad of 12 played at the delightful ground of Miskin where again the 3 teams met with St. Fagans having withdrawn. The results were the same with Cowbridge defeating Penarth by 39 runs and Miskin by 47 runs. Two players were given to the opposition to make the games 10 a’side. Well done to all that played showing much improvement in all departments, batting, bowling and fielding.

Congratulations to 3 members of the squad who played in the victorious Welsh Schools soft cricket ball finals held at Aberystwyth. Alex Anderson, Cyffin Tudno Flay and Trystan Lucas are pupils at Ysgol Bro Morganwg – our congratulations go to the school and individual players.

HW


Saturday 23rd June 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

RECORD SCORE FOR COWBRIDGE XI IN A LEAGUE MATCH


There are undoubtedly many links both public and private between Cowbridge and Aberdare where the 1st XI won on Saturday by 180 runs. One of the most interesting is recorded by a plaque on the old Grammar School that commemorates the life of Alun Lewis who had been a pupil there. Lewis’ reputation as the greatest of the poets and story writers of the Second World War is now gradually being re-established.

Lewis was an Aberdare boy whose school teacher parents sent him to the Cowbridge Grammar School as a boarder on a Scholarship. Quite what he made of the bucolic backwater after living in one of the valleys busiest towns is not recorded. However as the nearest School that was affordable and similar to an English public school it provided hockey and football and Lewis enjoyed them both, playing in the 1st XI’s.

 Last Saturday another generation of sportsmen, the 1st XI of Cowbridge made the opposite journey to Lewis to play cricket at Aberdare on The Ynys, a superb facility for cricket in terms of pitch, outfield and backdrop.  When Cowbridge Captain Chris Willey won the toss and elected to bat on a very warm afternoon his team were duly appreciative and mightily relieved.

Cowbridge went on to score a record for the 1st XI in a league match of 339-5 with Tom Merilaht making an unbeaten 167 not out and Ben Wright 120, his third century of the season. The opening stand of 228 was the third partnership for the fist wicket to exceed 200 this season and it set the team well on course for a winning total. The 2nd XI had scored the same total in 1935 at Porthcawl but as this was a 1st XI game the honour is with the 1st XI. It was Merilaht’s ninth hundred for Cowbridge and the artful nudger now has 606 league runs at an average of 202 this year. Meanwhile Ben has 679 at 84 and now has eight hundreds. These two batsmen are now closing in on the eleven hundreds scored by Billy Russell.

 It all slightly surreal as a generation ago teams rarely scored two hundred let alone three and more. Cowbridge were assisted by a nice man who rejoiced in the name of Wesley who put down Ben Wright at slip early in the innings. Wesley was soon accorded ‘very’ nice man status when he then failed to hang on to a catch off Tom Merilaht. Teams cannot miss chances like those and get away without punishment.

When it came to the Aberdare innings the combination of having fielded in the heat for 50 overs and having a mammoth total in front of them was all too much and they succumbed to 159 all out. The early damage was done as expected by Brad Evans (3-23) and by debutant Tatenda Chiredza (1-3). Once the Zimbabwean students had done their stuff it was the locals, Tom Williams, Heath Webb, Tom Harper and Nick Wood who wrapped up the host team’s innings.

Indeed it is the bowling that has won so many of the matches this year so far while the batsmen have decided by how far. Cowbridge have three of the division’s leading top ten wicket takers, Brad Evans, ranked four with fifteen wickets, the off spinner Nick Wood at five also with fifteen and Tom  Williams ranked ten with twelve. The addition to team of Zimbabwe age group international Tatenda Chiredza, who is in fact a student in finance at Cardiff Metropolitan University, will add depth to the attack.

Players of games keep links alive between towns alive. Alun Lewis’ body of work does this too. Now as his works are re-assessed people are coming to realise that his poem ‘All day it has rained’ and his book of short stories ‘Raiders Dawn’ stand comparison with anything his contemporaries wrote. It would do no harm to Aberdare or Cowbridge should Lewis’ reputation be fully restored as the greatest writer of his genre and of his time.

Cowbridge are at home to Dafen on Saturday next. Gorseinon won again and retain the lead but Cowbridge’s return to normal service means they still remain in contention at halfway through the season. Gorseinon will know they dare not slip but Cowbridge have to keep up their form.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE SECONDS BACK TO WINNING WAYS


Saturday was a glorious sunny day for cricket and Cowbridge won the toss and elected to bat against Llandarcy.  Skipper, David Gascoyne, had some luck along the way, but led the innings with 81, but it was Jonny Napier, 27 runs, who once again gave the innings impetus with some ferocious hitting; one six travelled 70 yards and hit the sightscreen so hard that it took a chunk of wood out of it!  The middle order of Lewis Sevenoaks, 17 runs, and Umar Rafique, 32, both made valuable contributions.  Cowbridge finished their 40 overs on 192 for 9.

Llandarcy, in reply, made a fine effort to reach the target, with Lee Tanner, 21 runs and Chris Harland, with a rapid 28, giving Cowbridge a scare, but fine bowling from Will Harris in particular, pegged them back.  Maybe it was the sight of his father, Ian, wearing an apron and serving the Happy Days prepared tea that inspired him!  Will is only 14 years old and so is only allowed to bowl five overs at a time, but we look forward to the days when he is allowed to bowl the full eight overs.  This week, his five overs included two maidens and two wickets, both clean bowled by beauties, for just 10 runs.  Llandarcy wickets fell at regular intervals thereafter and they finished 153 all out from 33.2 overs. 

This fine victory for Cowbridge moved the team away from relegation danger and everyone looks forward to a trip to play Porthcawl next Saturday afternoon.  May the sun keep shining!

DG


Sunday 17th June 2018


UNDER 9S REPORT


Cowbridge hosted the next round of Festivals. Unfortunately the day was rather damp. The enthusiasm of the 3 teams that turned up (Cardiff having pulled out), was commendable and the games went on. We had 2 debutants in Charlie Earnshaw and Kieran Boon who both [played their first competitive cricket match. Kieran scored 8 runs in the total of 246 against Penarth. He bowled well for the team restricting Penarth to 231 and a win by 15 runs.

In the second match Charlie played his part in the winning game against Miskin with Ed Johnson outstanding with the bat, 21 runs in a total of 269.  Miskin reached 250.

HW


Saturday 16th June 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE LOSE OUT TO MERTHYR, BUT STAY 2ND IN THE LEAGUE


The town of Merthyr Tydfil is forging a new future for itself in a post industrial economy. The days of sport being supported by companies like Hoover have long gone and the three cricket clubs that once represented the town are now one. However the new club is showing signs that the bold move to merge has been an astute one.

However after a loss to Merthyr on Saturday the Cowbridge 1st XI must wonder if it there might be some way of turning back the clock. Two years running have the merged Merthyr come to Cowbridge and despite their positions in the league suggesting the home side were favourites in both years Merthyr have taken the spoils home.

Having a make-shift attack as Cowbridge were without Brad Evans, Rian Thomas, Sam Russell and Jack Cropper did not seem to concern the two Toms, Williams (2-23) and Harper (3-32) led the attack which saw the visitors innings total 154 all out. At tea there was every expectation that the prolific partnership of Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht would take the team to another emphatic victory.

It was not long before both were back in the Pavilion, both LBW. It was as though the stuffing had been knocked out of the team as these two crucial dismissals served to boost Merthyr and deflate Cowbridge.

To add to the drama Chris Willey fell quickly and inevitably the pressure mounted. Despite the efforts of Matt Harper (22), Tom Williams (14), Nick Wood (26) and Gareth Williams Davies (14) nobody was able to take the bowling to task and as wickets fell defeat became inevitable. At the end it was 122 all out and the game was gone.

Gorseinon won again on Saturday and Cowbridge remain in the second spot. A win at Aberdare on Saturday is now imperative. At least there the bogymen are on our side. The founder of Cowbridge Richard de Clare seized Aberdare in 1246. Let’s hope it’s Aberdare who will wish for a time machine next week.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

SECOND GIVE BATTLE IN VAIN


The second XI could only muster seven players to travel to Felinfoel on Saturday, but, after a brave effort, they narrowly lost.

Batting first on a very slow pitch, Cowbridge managed to get 200 for 3 in their 40 overs. David Gascoyne was 86 not out, Jonny Napier scored 56 and Naveed Younas hit 32.

The innings started slowly and Cowbridge reached 47 for 1 after 20 overs, but then Naveed started to put bat to ball and, after his dismissal, Jonny continued in the same manner, hitting several enormous sixes.

Felinfoel were under pressure from the Cowbridge bowlers all along, despite the huge gaps in the field, with John Gilbert, bowling particularly well.

Even so, having only five fielders, a bowler and a wicketkeeper was always going to tell and Felinfoel reached 201 for 3 with three overs to spare.

DG



Sunday 10th June 2018

UNDER 9s REPORT


The 5th Under 9’s festival saw the squad travel to Creigiau on a blistering hot morning. 3 games were played with the older members of the squad playing Penarth. Cowbridge scored 245 to Penarth’s 209. In the second game the younger players played against the home team and were victorious scoring 250 to 229. The final game was exciting with the result going in favour of Cardiff in the final over 225 runs to 233. Well done to all 14 of the squad.

HW


Saturday 9th June 2018

FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE DEFEATED BY LEAGUE LEADERS


‘You can’t always get what you want’ sang cricket lover Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. The Cowbridge 1st XI wanted a win at Gorseinon on Saturday but couldn’t get it, defeated by the now clear leaders, Goseinon by five wickets. Gorseinon now have a twelve point advantage over Cowbridge 129 to 114 but importantly there remain 240 points to play for. Disappointing yes; disastrous no.

 Cowbridge were slightly makeshift on Saturday too. The rock, Tom Merilaht, scorer of nearly five hundred runs this season was absent with a back injury. Another back injury deprived Cowbridge of the fast bowling of Brad Evans who played as a batsman and Sam Routledge has returned to his home club in Nottinghamshire now the university term is over.

Nevertheless batting first Cowbridge might have been looking for two hundred and fifty and more. The pitch was good, the outfield striped both was ways and looking magnificent with no tattiness around the environs this greatly improved cricket ground presented the Cowbridge batsmen with every opportunity to get that sort of total.

A good start, a halting collapse and a lower middle order flourish sums up the way things went. The openers, Ben Wright (48) and Chris Willey (14) put on 64 then three fell quickly. Jack Harris (81) then proceeded to play the innings of his career so far stroking an elegant 81. He was ably supported by the other Jack, this time Cropper who battled well for 29 and then Tom Williams who scored 21 before being run out. Matt Harper got a useful 13 and the innings closed for tea at 222-8. It always seemed a little short.

The Gorseinon chase was an odd affair. The home players certainly know how to farm the short boundary hitting the ball in the air which just dropped out of the catching zone regularly. At 64-3 it might have been five or six down and it seemed that a couple of wickets could have come at any time and would have sufficed to strangle the home chase. Unfortunately   it was not to be.  The home side got home comfortably enough to satisfy the drinkers in the ‘gin soaked bar room’ that is the Lewis Jones bar adjacent to the ground.

 So Cowbridge must re-group and get back to wining ways against Merthyr at The Athletic Ground next Saturday. And recalling the Rolling Stones lyric of the song ‘You sometimes get what you need’. Want, need they are both in the Captain Chris Willey’s mind. After all for an ambitious leader without winning he ‘can’t get no satisfaction’.

JRB


Wednesday 6th June 2018

T20 REPORT


Cowbridge T 20 team kept up their unbeaten record for the season when they defeated Sully Spartans at home by 31 runs. Winning the toss Joe Russell our captain won the toss and opted to bat first. Andy Harrison scored a quick fire 19 runs which was followed by a 96 run partnership between Tom Williams 52 and Jack Cropper 69 not out. The captain contributed with 22 to bring the home total to 176 for 5. Saeed was the best of the bowlers with 3 wickets for 41 runs.

Accurate bowling from the start restricted the Spartans to 53 for 3 in the first 10 overs. Inman and Sathish scored an unbroken stand of 93 runs in the next 10 overs but the Spartans fell short by 31 runs to finish on 145 for 3. It was good to see the captain trust the last 6 overs to youngsters Quin Silk and Shiraz Khan who kept a cool head in spite of the dominant partnership.

HW

Sunday 3rd June 2018

UNDER 9s REPORT


The third festival of the season was held in the delightful country setting of Miskin Cricket Club; St. Fagans withdrew from the competition leaving the host team to play a round robin formation against Cowbridge and Cardiff. First up were Cowbridge and Cardiff where Cowbridge batted first where they only lost one wicket in a score of 243. Poor bowling especially with wides gifted Cardiff far too many runs as they scored 262 and victory.

While the other 2 teams played each other Cowbridge undertook a serious training session especially with the bowling. In fairness all the team improved that aspect in the second match against Miskin. Wides were halved and wickets taken doubled to restrict Miskin to 226 runs. In reply Cowbridge batted much better losing only 2 wickets in scoring 271.

Thanks to all the parents for their support on a lovely sunny and friendly Sunday morning.   

HW


Saturday 2nd June 2018

FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE FIRSTS ENJOY A PERFECT DAY


“Just a perfect day...” Lou Reed may have drunk sangria in the park and fed the animals in the zoo, but his Saturday afternoon might have better spent in the environs of the Cowbridge Athletic Ground, where Tom Merilaht scored the eighth hundred of his Cowbridge career as the first XI comfortably defeated their visitors from Llandysul by 82 runs to go top of Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association, albeit alphabetically.

In addition to the cricketing heroics there was a special tea for those connected with the new Memorial Benches, the re-furbished metal bench and the new bell.

The terrace in front of the Pavilion is now a most comfortable place to watch from and the large gathering could only have been impressed by the Cowbridge first XI performance.

All this took place against a perfect sky in sylvan surroundings and on a benign pitch. What could have been better?

Certainly not the gloomy atmosphere of the test match when compared with early summer at one of the loveliest settings for cricket in South Wales.

Cowbridge captain Chris Wiley won the toss and decided to bat first. One can only imagine the trepidatious thoughts that must go through a bowling side’s heads as the Merilaht/Wright combination approach the middle.

Averaging 182 for the first wicket this season the openers seemed set for another of their mammoth stands when a fine catch dismissed Ben for 35 with the score at 82.

Although the skipper came and went for 11, it only served to bring to the crease the tall figure of Jack Cropper. New to the club from Derbyshire this year, Jack has had little opportunity to show what he can do as the openers have so often dominated the batting.

What was clear was that Jack is a very useful player. Starting carefully the tall, angular batsman proceeded to up the tempo as the innings proceeded and hit two enormous sixes in a well-made 61.

Already a popular member of the XI, much more of this type of aggressive batting will make him a favourite of the supporters too.

If Llandysul’s team were relieved to see the back of Jack the arrival of Brad Evans turned out to be no relief as the all- rounder hit 22 from 10 balls

Meanwhile Tom was artfully nudging on in his own way, pushing ones and twos and then showing an aggression which allowed him to proceed steadily to his second hundred of the season (104 in fact).

The club’s records are sketchy for the inter-war period but we are on safe ground to say that probably only Billy Russell, Tip Williams or JA Davies might have scored more hundreds for the club and that’s a pretty august list. What is certain is that Tom would have scored his hundreds in any era.

The total of 261-6 off the allocated 50 overs was certainly enough to give the home support confidence that the fifth win in succession was the likely outcome and that the seasonal unbeaten record would remain intact.

After another excellent tea-provided by Debbie from Happy Days in Church Street, a top-class piece of quick bowling by Brad consigned Llandysul to fall to 41-3, including danger man Gary Williams, all taken by the Zimbabwe-born quickie.

As a-contest it was all over and wickets fell at regular intervals as Cowbridge eventually dropped their opponents for 179.

There were wickets for Sam Routledge, who now returns for the university holidays to his home club in Nottinghamshire.

Sam has made a big impact at Cowbridge and will be warmly welcomed back next year. Jack Cropper and Nick Wood picked up two and three wickets respectively.

During the tea interval the president, Jeffrey Bird, welcomed the club’s guests and while not entirely sure what form of words best described the installation - of Memorial Benches, gave short biographies of those whose names are engraved on the plaques - CH Adams, The Reverend Owen Jones, Ian Cran, LEW Williams, J C Clay and J A Davies.

The president also spoke of his aunt, Flo Hinton, who, during her year as Mayor of Cowbridge in 1951-2, gave the seat that is now beautifully refurbished and referred to the bell which has been put in place to honour Billy Russell.

It was a very pleasant occasion and one that combined dignity and humour in equal measure.

One visitor, John Smith, who was the late Ian Cran’s son-in-law, remarked that he had thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of the day and could understand why Katherine, his mother-in-law, and Janet, his wife, held Cowbridge and its cricket club so close to their hearts.

It was nice to hear an outsider from Basingstoke remark in this way. Sometimes we need others to remind us that what we have is indeed somewhat special.

Next week’s match at Gorseinon, the joint league leaders, will not determine who will wins the Dan Radcliffe Cup and goes to the Premier League, but it would be much better to win than lose.

While there will be 10 more weeks, a win would significantly help matters. Thinking of Lou Reed’s lyrics, we have sown our seed, it’s time to reap the harvest.

It was John Smith who worked out the quiz question - what is Chris Willey’s middle name which began with an “E”?

Having given a clue to a number of head - scratching supporters, ‘You won’t find one in Oxford’ led our guest to think if something was not in the city of dreaming spires it might be found in its alter ego in the fens, a name of a Cambridge college perhaps.

Nearly there? The name is Emmanuel.

JRB


Wednesday 30th May 2018


T20 REPORT


Cowbridge continued their good form in the Vale midweek T20 league. Local rivals Vale Cricket Club were the visitors to the Fred Dunn field. On a grey evening where rain threatened throughout it was the turn of the Vale to bat first. Two former Cowbridge players put their stamp on the game with Mark Francis scoring a delightful 55 runs belying his age, and Sean Rowlands 11. Tight bowling by the 5 Cowbridge bowlers restricted Vale to 93 for 6 in their 20 allocated overs Best of the bowlers were Sami Khan 2 for 15 and Sam Russell 2 for 16 in their 4 overs apeace.

In reply Cowbridge had a slow start losing wickets cheaply to the excellent Alex Uppham 1 for 29 and James Thomas 2 for 15. However a well controlled knock of 36 by Jack Cropper and breezy 23 from captain Joe Russell brought victory in the 15th over

HW


Saturday 26th May 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE SEE OFF GOWETON BY NINE WICKETS


John Milton’s famous line ‘They also serve who stand and wait’ could easily apply to the Cowbridge 1st XI batsmen whose fate it is to follow Tom Merilaht and Ben Wright in the batting order Saturday’s win by nine wickets at Gowerton saw Tom (81not out) and Ben Wright (87) again dominate the bowling to the extent that it would have been a major shock had Cowbridge failed to get the 179 runs needed for victory.

We have barely seen Brad Evans, Tom Williams, Jack Cropper, Jack Harris, Chris Willey, Rian Thomas, Nick Wood or Sam Russell with a bat. Indeed there have only been fourteen wickets to fall in five innings at an average stand of seventy six. The Wright - Merilaht pair now have stands of 288, 5, 269 and 163 and remember this is the First Division.

The win was really the product of a fine fight back with the ball after the home side had reached 153 -3. The pairing of Brad Evans (3-33) and Sam Russell (2-4) brought to an end an innings that had threatened to get around 230.

Not that such a total would have been outside the Cowbridge compass. In fact nothing seems to be just now. It does then seem amazing that the lads are not top of Division One. Currently the top of the table looks like this

Gorseinon 89

Cowbridge 87

Llandysul   67

This situation was the subject of puzzlement in the Cowbridge camp on Saturday as Gorseinon had won with a score of 114-4 whereas Cowbridge had scored 180-1; a higher total and fewer wickets had fallen. How could Goseinon have acquired five batting points?

Nevertheless there only five of eighteen league fixtures have been played so far. Next week Llandysul come to the Athletic Ground, start time 1.30pm.

Also on Saturday at 4.30pm the eight people whose names are on the new memorial benches will be celebrated. The benches are dedicated to Colin Adams, The Rev’d Owen Jones, John Davies, L E W Williams, J C Clay and Ian Cran. The bench given by Mrs Flo Hinton in her year of mayoralty has been beautifully refurbished and at last there will be a pavilion bell honouring Billy Russell. Full details of the contributions made by this group are in The Bull magazine which is available in the Pavilion on match days. Any relatives or friends of any of the above are welcome to join us.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

SECOND TEAM ARE BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Cowbridge Cricket Club seconds returned to winning ways on Saturday, beating Maesteg Celtic second XI by nine wickets.

Despite inclement weather, Hugh Williams had prepared a fine wicket.

Maesteg batted first, but scored slowly for the first 20 overs, thanks largely to Sami Khan, who had figures of 2 for 11 from eight overs.

The second half of their innings was quite different, as the side from Garth put bat to ball, despite losing wickets to Owain Scholey, Tom Wood, Will Hams and Naveed Younas.

The champagne moment, however, was Ian Evans’ fine catch at fine leg, from a skier’. They finished their 40 overs on 139 for 7.

Maesteg have a fine bowling attack, but a combination of a sumptuous tea, prepared by Happy Days, and Jonty Webb’s thou-shalt- not-pass approach, blunted their edge, allowing David Gascoyne to score an elegant 66.

Heath Webb helped Jonty see Cowbridge get safely to their target with five overs remaining.

DG


Sunday 20th May 2018


UNDER 9s REPORT


Cowbridge Under 9’s travelled to Whitchurch for their second festival to play against the home team, Penarth and Vale C.C. The whole squad of 18 players was available and it became a coaches head ache to select only 8 for the 3 matches. However the problem was solved when we played 10 a’ side, 12a’ side and loaned 3 players to the home team who were short of players for 3 matches. Unfortunately we were at the wrong end of the results with 3 narrow losses. Again 2 players enjoyed their debuts and the whole squad played in at least 2 matches. Thanks to the hosts for presenting a delightful and enjoyable sunny Sunday morning and long may this summer weather continue.

HW


Saturday 19th May 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE VICTORIOUS AGAINST MAESTEG BY EIGHT WICKETS


Maesteg Celtic came to Cowbridge with a mission to return to the Llynfi Valley with a win to consolidate their challenge to win the Dan Radcliffe Cup. However they were sent homewards to think again by the Cowbridge 1st XI that were victorious by eight wickets.

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s the Celtic were a cricketing power. Champions of the SWCA on a number of occasions. County players, including most recently John Hopkins, were produced as a matter of course and the Club was something of a model in terms of development. More recently the Celtic and Cowbridge have both been yearning for a return to a status both Club’s believe they should hold. This has resulted in some rare old battles.

However Saturday was not one of these. The Celtic skipper Gareth Hopkins won the toss and decided to bat. At 63-3 it seemed things were proceeding in an unexceptional but solid fashion and the visitors must have been eyeing a useful total. Then the Cowbridge pacemen, Brad Evans (1-21) and Sam Routledge (2-28), were withdrawn from the attack by the shrewd Skipper, Christopher E Willey. The change turned the game on its head as the sagacious Nick Wood proceeded to take 4-19 with his off breaks and in no time the Maesteg hopes had crashed to ruins. Sam Russell and Tom Williams also picked up wickets as the innings closed on 83 all out.

Trying to defend such a paltry score would have been difficult whoever was trying to defend it. The only real respite afforded by the home side to the visitors was the dropping down the order of Ben Wright to let some others get a knock. However the relief was short lived as the rock, Tom Merilaht continued his own good form with a carefree 45 not out and with 19 from Chris E Willey and 24 not out from Brad Evans the inevitable victory was completed before the bar was open.

That issue was soon put right and the lads settled into a lengthy de-brief. It was a comprehensive win and it put Cowbridge in second place. Gorseinon lead with 69, Cowbridge have 67 and Gowerton 65. The next clutch of clubs are a win behind. As it is just one up to the Premier League every point is important even at this early stage.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

HEAVY DEFEAT FOR SECOND TEAM


Cowbridge Cricket Club seconds lost badly on Saturday against Drefach in Division Five of the South Wales Cricket League.

The writing was on the wall before a ball was bowled, as Cowbridge only had eight players and it was fortunate that they won the toss and batted, as it would have been even more painful otherwise.

As it was, the Broad Shoard club managed 125-6 in 40 overs, with David Gascoyne scoring 55 and Naveed Younas adding 34.

With huge gaps in the field and Cowbridge having to call on second string bowlers, Drefach needed only 16 of their allotted 40 overs to score the winning runs and the game was over by 4.45pm, although there was time for Jonty Webb and Isaac Owen to get a few wickets, while veteran David Webb took a fine diving catch.

Clearly the club could do with some more players - Hugh Williams, Sara Russell and family, Jonathan Smart, David Gascoyne and others have been putting a lot of effort into the junior section to bring through talent, but that can take time.

Meanwhile, it would be very handy if anyone who would like to play cricket would contact David Gascoyne on 07974 391749.

DG


Wednesday 16th May 2018


T20 REPORT


The midweek T 20 team continued with their winning ways with a convincing 50 run defeat of Barry West End. The first round of the Cup was played away at Barry Island with Cowbridge electing to bat. The foundation of the victory was laid by an unbeaten 98 by opening bat Tom Williams in a score of 146 for 5. Youngster M. Lowry bowled well taking 2 for 16 and was on a hat trick at one point. The Cowbridge innings closed on 146 for 5.

In reply Andy Harrison and Sam Russell bowled well to limit West End to 22 for3 in the first 6 overs. Continued good bowling by Quin Silk and Joe Russell ensured victory, with West End ending on 96 for 5. Jack Cropper kept wicket very well on his first attempt.

HW


Sunday 13th May 2018


UNDER 9s REPORT


The Under 9s play a soft ball form of pairs cricket in Sunday mornings festivals at various grounds.
This week Penarth hosted visitors Cowbridge, Miskin and Radyr. With rugby and football still ongoing Cowbridge fielded five debutantes in their team of nine to gain their first taste of competitive cricket.
All acquitted themselves well in winning two out of the three matches. Team: Ed Johnson, Osian Davies. Lloyd Morris, Trystan Lucas, Nyc Chamberlin, Daniel Thomas, Alex Anderson, Cyffin Flay and Bryony Boyce.
HW


Saturday 12th May 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

OPENERS HELP COWBRIDGE TO SUPERB WIN


A win by 188 runs for the Cowbridge CC 1st XI at Swansea Civil Service emphasised once again the importance of the quality of their opening batsmen. Indeed the best cricket teams have traditionally had very good pairs. Think of Hobbs and Sutcliffe, almost ever present for England between the wars, think of Greenage and Haynes for the West Indies or for Australia Langer and Hayden.

Who of these or any others for that matter can have scored quite as heavily in any brand of cricket as Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht are currently doing? In the last five league innings their stands have been 140, 258, 269, 5 and 280, an average of 190. That’s extraordinary by any measure. Ben has scored 711 of the runs and Tom 324.

As now seems routine, Ben Wright (175) and Tom Merilaht (99 no) put the game at Sketty Lane beyond doubt. It was Ben’s fourth century in five innings and would have been Tom’s eighth for the Club had he scored just one run more. The opening record was beaten by these two batsmen at Briton Ferry Steel and then at Dafen and now at Swansea CS it moved up to 280 all within the space of five matches. It is all truly remarkable.

After the opening stand was broken the Cowbridge batsmen continued where Ben had left off and took the score to 332-2, another 1st XI record tumbling.

When the time came for Cowbridge to bowl the attack showed little mercy. With Brad Evans taking 3-15 and support coming from Sam Routledge, Tom Williams, Nick Wood, Sam Russell and Tom Merilaht who all claimed wickets it was always going to be a question of how large the margin of Cowbridge’s victory would be. As it turned out the home batsmen got the total to 144 all out after being 88-7, a Cowbridge triumph by 188 runs.

All so far so good then but on Saturday evening Captain Chris Willey was under no illusions that sterner challenges  await such as next Saturday when  Maesteg Celtic visit The Athletic Ground. Make no mistake this is a big game even this early in the season.

JRB


SECOND XI REPORT

COWBRIDGE 2ND XI BACK TO WINNING WAYS


After a poor display the week before against Llanwrda, Cowbridge hoped to turn things around against the visiting side Baglan last Saturday.  On a lovely day Cowbridge lost the toss and were asked to field first.  Cowbridge immediately got off to a terrific start after some superb fielding from Ian Harris which saw one of the Baglan opening batsmen run out after a direct hit from Ian who was fielding in the covers.

Baglan though did not let this deter them and runs started to flow despite good bowling from Will Harris and Sami Khan.  The breakthrough came with the introduction of the evergreen Ian Evans who clean bowled the Baglan number 3 with the score at 65.  However; this brought to the crease the veteran Baglan wicketkeeper Keith Perkins who, along with the hard hitting Michael Powney, began to put together a good partnership.  At the half way stage Baglan were 102 for 2 and looking set to post a good total.  Cowbridge though rallied with both Naveed Younis and Umar Raffique bowling superbly; ably supported by good fielding, which resulted in Baglan finally being bowled out for 124.  This was an excellent fielding performance by Cowbridge but the side were conscious that they would have to bat sensibly to overhaul the Baglan total.

The Cowbridge innings though got off to the worst possible of starts with Dave Gascoyne uncharacteristically falling cheaply with the score only on 6.  This brought to the crease Jonny Napier who Cowbridge welcome to the side with this being his first game for the Club.  Both Jonny and Jonty Webb steadied things and put together a good partnership before Jonny was bowled for 15.  This brought to the crease Alastair Lawson who proceeded to put together another partnership with Jonty Webb as the runs began to creep up and the Baglan total got ever closer.  In the end; after big hitting Naveed Younis came to the crease, Cowbridge passed the Baglan total with some 5 overs to spare with Jonty Webb finishing on 56 not out.

This was a good all round performance by Cowbridge, the side has a good blend of youth and experience, which hopefully bodes well for the rest of the season.

JW


Wednesday 9th May 2018


20 REPORT


Cowbridge played their first match of the season in the Vale midweek league at home to Fontygary.
Winning the toss, the home side made steady progress to a total of 174 for 5. The main contributors with the bat were Tom Williams and Andy Harrison with 41 each, Joe Russell (43) and Dan Thomas with 26.
In reply, Fontygary finished on 138 for 9 with Tom gaining two wickets and Heath Webb gaining two and two spectacular catches and a run-out.
Young Ellis Murphy bowled well for his wicket as did Jack Cropper. Cowbridge won by 36 runs, gaining 18 points for their effort.

HW


Saturday 5th May 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

HARD FOUGHT WIN AGAINST BRONWYDD


Those masters of the English language, football managers love to talk about ‘winning ugly’ and often say ‘the boy done good’.  In the case of Cowbridge CC 1st XI’s win last Saturday and a sensational spell of bowling from Tom Williams both applied. Cowbridge had just 134 to defend but Tom’s 4-5 reduced the Bronwydd middle order to 51-7 setting up a Cowbridge win by 34 runs. The sage of the 1st XI, Nick Wood called it a ‘grown up victory’, how right he was.

Cowbridge struggling with the bat is not what the spectators at The Athletic Ground expect but had to endure.  The usually prolific openers, Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht were soon parted as Tom was caught for a single with the score at 5. Sam Routledge batted sensibly and with Ben and  it seemed as though this pair were starting to put a significant stand together. Then disaster struck as Sam (10), Brad Evans (1) and Ben (24) all fell in the space of two runs. At 37-4 it was a Corporal Jones moment but gratifyingly the lower order did not panic and sensible batting from Jack Cropper (19), Tom Williams (22), Nick Wood (16) and Rian Thomas (21) at least gave the home XI something to bowl at.

The Cowbridge attack knew they had to treat a difficult line. Attack too much and the total could seem paltry, attack too little and the batsmen would establish themselves. Should Bronwydd bat the fifty overs they would get to the target. Chris Willey is a shrewd skipper and as he does so often achieved the perfect balance.

The visitor’s innings got off to a similar start to the home side. An early wicket (Brad Evans the bowler, 15-1) was followed by retrenchment to what appeared to be a good position at 33-1. Then Tom was introduced to the attack. Bowling a shade above medium pace Tom’s four and one for Sam Routledge meant five wickets fell for 14 runs and at 51-7 the game was over as a contest. However Cowbridge could take nothing for granted but a couple of quick wickets for Sam Russell one a superb catch by Heath Webb set it up for pace bowler Brad Evans to claim the last wicket.

Cowbridge were ‘over the moon’, Bronwydd ‘sick as parrots’.

It was a hard fought win, just the type to develop an excellent team spirit as the newcomers have settled into the team. This team spirit is going to be called upon again as the twelfth man if Cowbridge are going to achieve their potential.

The First Division now looks like Maesteg Celtic 37, Gorseinon 30, Gowerton 28 and Cowbridge 27. Early days yet of course but from the Cowbridge standpoint they have made an encouraging start.

JRB


Saturday 28th April 2018


FIRST XI REPORT

RAMPANT BATSMEN SMASH CLUB RECORD!

A big hundred or 174 to be precise, by Cowbridge’s 1st XI opener and former Glamorgan star Ben Wright, set an amazing new Club record last Saturday. Nobody has ever scored three consecutive hundreds before and only the most mean minded would wonder if ‘consecutive’ can straddle the winter. That the game could not progress beyond tea resulted in an abandonment was disappointing. Nevertheless Ben and Tom Merilaht, ‘The Rock’ with his seventh 1st XI century (100no) got the season off to fine start posting 278-1. Ben and Tom’s stand of 277 broke their own record which had lasted all of two matches.

 In these two local lads the Cowbridge 1st XI have undisputedly the finest opening pair ever to represent the Club.  Not even the great professional of the Edwardian age, Billy Russell, ‘Tip’ Williams, Norman Gauntlett or John Davies scored such numbers of runs.  Ben, of course was a fine Glamorgan player and Tom would have also been labelled a fist class cricketer had MCCU matches been afford that status when he was at Leeds. Ben and Tom are a study in opposites. Ben hits the ball hard without seeming to, timing being his secret. Tom is the artful nudger, progressing his innings in a careful way. Both have an insatiable appetite for runs and there will not be any opposition opening bowlers who will fancy their chances as the season progresses.

It was a shame that Cowbridge skipper Chris Willey was unable to unleash his attack. Brad Evans and Sam Routledge are two quality all-rounders who have joined from Cardiff Met and the MCCU there. Add to these two Sam Russell, Rian Thomas and Heath Webb and there are five quality seamers. Nick Wood the off spinner and Tom Merilaht’s leg spin give the skipper real options.

Finally a big ‘thank you’ to Glamorgan CCC’s Chief Exectutive Hugh Morris who began his cricket career at Cowbridge for arranging  for the Swalec Stadium safety nets to be available should the need have arisen to play rugby and cricket on The  Athletic Ground at the same time on Saturday. As the rain on Friday saturated the outfield there was never a realistic chance of the 2nd XI game against Porthcawl going ahead but Hugh’s offer of help was greatly appreciated.

JRB