Breeze stars as Monmouth win season opener

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Cricket

South East Wales Cricket League Division Three (First XI) - Monmouth CC (225-4) beat Monkswood CC (223-6) by six wickets

MONMOUTH Cricket Club First XI started their new season in Division Three of the South East Wales Cricket League with a flourish on Saturday with a six wicket victory over local rivals Monkswood. 

Having won the toss on a warm and muggy afternoon, Monkswood decided to bat first on what appeared an excellent looking early season wicket prepared by groundsman Gordon Grey.

Despite an early breakthrough from the returning Paul Swingwood (1-41), Monkswood progressed steadily through some watchful batting by Matthew Malson (92) and Mike Watkins (37) up until the drinks break where they were well posed at 80-1 off 23 overs.

In fact it took a remarkable low one handed slip catch from Swingwood to remove the dangerous looking Malson as Monmouth tried to regain control. This they were largely able to do through the middle overs through the bowling of Alim Hansraj (2-15) who bowled with great control and discipline to bring the Monkswood run rate under control.

Unfortunately once his spell ended Monkswood were able to counter attack through Adam Malson (57 not out) and Matthew Malson who fell just eight runs shy of a deserved century when stumped by Jon Despontin off the bowling of Henry Breeze (1-43) in the closing overs.

Monkswood, with some late over aggressive batting largely from Adam Malson, were able to take their score to a respectable looking 223-6 off their allotted 45 overs. For Monmouth with the ball there were wickets for new skipper Adam Roberts (1-52) and good spells from Raj Kuttappu (0-39).

In reply, Monmouth, sponsored by Burkert Fluid Solutions, made a steady start reaching the 10 over mark before Matthew Jones (15) was bowled by the economical Matthew Malson (1-29) to leave the score at 49-1.

When Josh Grey then fell soon after the match looked evenly poised as Monmouth reached the 15 over mark on 80-2. However, this brought newly appointed captain Adam Roberts (53) to the crease and his 114 run partnership with opener Henry Breeze (135 not out) proved to be a match winning one. Breeze was in particularly brutal form as the former King’s Taunton school boy punished any loose deliveries hitting a remarkable 22 fours and a huge six onto the pavilion roof in his 119-ball innings.

In the end Monmouth reached their target in the 37th over with Breeze the undoubted Ancre Hill-sponsored man of the match as Monmouth picked up 18 points for the win. Next Saturday Monmouth travel to Dinas Powys hoping to keep the early season form going.

Anyone interested in playing cricket for Monmouth this summer should contact JDespo@aol.com for more details.

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