What a Thriller!

Not the warmest of opening days to the new season at St Helen’s but at least there was a decent amount of sun about….so, what of the cricket?

Well, there was plenty to warm the heart if not the body, and long periods of sustained quality action!

Swansea won the toss and elected to field first…perfect, as new 1st XI skipper Aneurin Norman would have batted anyway. Openers Dan Lewis-Williams and Cameron Protheroe wasted no time setting their stall out as they put on 90 in 18 overs. After the impressive looking Cam (38, 7 fours) was out, Dan Roberts joined DLW. They added a further 85 from 13 overs before Danrob was caught, having contributed a quality 52 runs of his own, including 3 fours & 3 monster sixes! DLW remained not out. However, 175-2 from 31 overs soon became 198-4 when Ieuan Rosser joined DLW. These two students put on an entertaining 42 runs, of which wicketkeeper Ieuan notched up 28 (4 fours) 240-5 with over 6 overs remaining, a final total of around 300 was surely on the cards? DLW still not out…

Then, for some reason, Noddy’s Men slumped to 248-9! Of those who succumbed to the Swansea attack at this stage, DLW was finally dismissed for a superb 104 (11 fours)! A truly great innings despite sore shins! 19 year old debutant Gavin Williams chipped in with 13no to see his new team end on 264-9.

In reply, the new Swansea openers put on 80 in 19 overs for the first wicket. The score soon became 88-2….what did Swansea have left to mount a realistic assault on the visitors’ total?

The dangerous Jonathan Hubschmid came in and was soon into his stride, creaming 5 fours as he quickly had 28 to his name. At 133-2 in the 31st over, Swansea were getting back on track…but, then, DLW came back on to clean bowl “Hubby”! Now then, surely that vital breakthrough would see MCC well on their way to victory?

A fourth wicket quickly followed..Swansea 133-4. Then, ex Leicestershire all-rounder Dan Rowe strode down the St Helen’s steps, took guard…and checked out the respective boundary distances. He knew that it was more or less now down to him if Swansea were to clinch victory so off he set on his solo effort! Dan struck the ball to all parts during his pulsating 39 ball innings, scoring 6 fours & 3 maximums on his way to a score of 59 invaluable runs! During his time at the crease, the Swansea total raced from 133-4 to 220-7 in just six overs! Another 10 minutes of that hitting and it would have been game over, home win! BUT, Noddy’s bowlers stuck to their task and held their nerve. There was nothing left in the Swansea tank as they were strangled at the last. The 9th wicket fell with 3 balls of the game left..but victory just eluded the visitors, 239-9 was the final score.

No match winning 10th wicket for MCC then, no successful run chase for Swansea, just one “helluva” game of cricket to set the season up, and a thoroughly deserved winning draw for our 1st XI. The wickets were shared.. Ryan Aingworth, with 3-66, DLW 2-39, Danrob 2-45, Max Phillips 1-28 and the captain himself (1-28) all played their part.

At Marespool, Stuart Seaton’s 2nd XI racked up a massive total before tea. There were many entertaining partnerships which saved potential blushes as, at one point, the MCC score read 56-3! Opener Gareth Baglow had scored 23 (5 fours) of these in quick time. Old faithful, Tony Dowrick, with 67 (11 fours), then added 50 with his captain, followed by a blitz by Luke Brown. He scored 40 (4 fours & 2 sixes) out of a stand of 53 with Seats before showing he had lost yet another yard of pace during the winter months…run out! The scoreboard now read 159-5.

What followed could never have been predicted! ‘A’ XI skipper Alex Protheroe had been called into the side yesterday evening, as a bowler of course! However, it was Alex The Bat who then dominated Marespool and district as he smashed 67 (6 fours & 3 sixes) in an exhilarating 6th wicket partnership of 127 with Stuart..286-6! The home innings closed on 327-7…an excellent recovery!

After a tea, magnificently put together by Club Chairman Mark “Mary Berry” Portsmouth, Swansea reached 52 before losing their first wicket. “JS” x 2 then worked well together to reduce the visitors to 74-4…2 wickets apiece for Jamie Sheldon and Jack Straw. Despite various valiant efforts, including a last wicket partnership of 81, Swansea were never in contention. Luke (1-56), Jamie (2-43), Jack (3-54), Sam Harris (3-51) and Alex (1-16) saw to it that they were eventually bowled out for 275 in the 48th over. A great win by 52 runs, and a great start to the 2nd XI’s season!

Our ‘A’ XI had no game today.

Next Saturday (7th), Noddy takes his troops to Pontarddulais, whose 2nd XI in turn visit Marespool. Alex Protheroe leads our ‘A’ XI in their first match in SWCA Division 7 v Pwll at Murton. Then, on Sunday (8th), the 1st XI have a home tie v Carew in the 1st Round of this year’s Welsh Cup competition.

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