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NAIL CHEWER!

Here’s a first folks..this first synopsis of the new season’s Senior league matches begins with last night’s tweet of Premier League Umpire John Furnham -

“Really enjoyed umpiring a thrilling game of @swpcl cricket at @StFagansCricket today with @Marespool winning by 1 wicket in a low scoring nail-biter. Tense but conducted in excellent spirit by both sides. If all games were played like this there’d be no shortage of umpires”….HOWZAT?!

1st XI Captain Ryan Aingworth won the toss and elected to field. What happened next?

Well, writer Jed Mercurio could not have made it up!

Cardiff were slow out of the blocks, scoring just 50 from the initial 20 overs, admittedly on a slow wicket and outfield..both par for the first game out. Ryan had thrown the new orange ball to Dan Lewis-Williams (not unusual) and Gavin Williams (interesting)…the guys delivered! After 20 overs, Cardiff had raced along to 50-1…with the “1″ being former Glamorgan star Gareth Rees, superbly snaffled at slip by Max Phillips off Gavin! Gav finished with 1-21 from his 10 overs..we’ll return to DLW presently!

The fine ground fielding by all and the miserly bowling continued..Max Phillips (2-36), Ryan (1-34) and Jack Straw Junior (2-30) saw to that. So, where was DLW?

After his initial opening stint, Dan was like a cheetah…lurking in the undergrowth (thick outfield), stalking possible prey, chatting to fat boys on the boundary..generally minding his own business, looking forward to a second spell at the end of the innings and a nice cuppa or two of warming tea.

He came back on with the scoreboard boasting a home score of 122-5 from 43 overs, and Mitch Edwards had patiently contributed 56 to that total. Time for a flurry of home runs before the break, surely?

Fair do’s like..the flurry came, in one DLW over in fact, as 12 runs came from nowhere in the 48th. During Max’s next over from t’other end, Dan had time to reflect…not a track for bouncers, give it up son…bowl straight and full. The cheetah was now hungry and ready for a feed..

A run-out by James Palmer from the final ball of over 49 brought St Fags to 161-7…a breezy partnership of 35 was over. Dan The Man was to bowl the final crucial over. Well, in the event, the final three balls actually..DLW clean bowled the last three batsmen..161-8, 161-9, 161 all out!! HATRICK!! The Cheetah finished with 3-32! You’ve done your bit, Dan..relax, enjoy that cuppa…chill, like the rest of us!

To put things in perspective, a target of 162 to win was going to be a challenge on this pitch…180 would have been a potential “big ask”. Ryan’s Lads set off in pursuit…21-2 in no time! Dan removed his overcoat, picked up his bat and returned to the arena, joining James Palmer in the middle. The score rose to 51, before James was stumped for 13. Max joined his Millfield mate at the crease..

These two buddies were the perfect combo in the situation. Comedian Dan bludgeoned his way to 63 (4 boundaries on the floor & four that headed for St Fagans Museum down the road) whilst straight-man Max coolly accumulated 29 runs of his own (1 four). 51-3 became 112-4 when Dan departed…a final well deserved “feet up” in the hutch for the all-rounder! 

50 runs required, bags of time and, crucially, 6 wickets in hand…surely, a breeze?!

Well, the breeze continued as Max, J-P Cronje (13) and Ieuan Rosser (9) sensibly saw no need to play the DLW way, electing to simply continue the game with singles and the occasional two..112-4 became 135-5. Uh oh, in 2.5 blinks of an eye, 135-5 became 137-7! 

“J-P” was still in and, with Rahul Shah (10) providing great support, ever so calmly took the score to 161-7, thus guaranteeing at least a tie!

One to win, 36 balls to be bowled, spectators’ rugs were being folded, thermoses finally emptied…what could possibly go wrong now!

Well, “J-P” was adjudged lbw..161-8. Rahul was run-out..161-9! Bloody hell, chaps…what’s occurrin’? Hey, never fear…Captain Ryan is here! Ball heading for his pads on leg stump, Ryan chose this moment to resist his normal urge to clear a couple of adjoining fields, instead electing to just nurdle the ball round the corner…for the winning run!!! Never in doubt, as one would say!

WHAT A GAME!

Meanwhile, at HQ, our 2nd XI’s campaign was getting underway against Swansea. Batting first, Stuart Seaton’s Boys were 99-5 off 25 overs! Ooo-er..

Nah, it was all in Jed’s script! Ian Capon blasted a superb ton (101no, 14 fours) and Steve “Pows” Powell chipped in with a hamstring-soring 31 (2 fours) out of a stand of 108 as the total was stylishly moved on to 207-6! The final show of exuberance in the latter overs enabled MCC to take 251-6 into the tearoom!

After tea, top work by all Seats’ bowlers saw Swansea dismissed for 207 in the 44th over…new boy Dave Martin (2-31), Adam Frangakis-Williams (2-27), Luke “Sweeney Todd” Brown (4-54), Seats (1-25), a run-out and four catches by Stumper Pows facilitated that..a fine fine opening win, lads!

At Murton, new ‘A’ XI captain Phil Roche led the way before tea. With his side fielding first, he and Kaps each took 2 wickets, backed up by Lloyd Rochey, Mike Jarrett and debutant Ian Hoskison chipping in with a scalp each…Felinfoel had been reduced to 129-7 from their 40 overs. Despite young batsman Tony Dowrick missing a straight one early doors after tea, there were few further alarms as Rochey’s Guys waltzed to a seven wicket win in the 38th over. Mike (35, 4 fours) and former 1st XI Captain Carl Lawrence, on his return to MCC colours, (45, 5 fours) were our main men, thus serving up the Club’s third win of the day!

Next Saturday (11th), the 1st XI take on 2018 Champions Newport at Marespool, the 2nd XI march on Ynysygerwyn whilst the ‘A’ XI stop off at Llandarcy. On Sunday (12th) this year’s Welsh Cup competition gets underway, with our 1st XI travel to Stradey Park for the 1st round game v Llanelli, start 1.30pm

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