Monmouth still in promotion hunt after fourth win in a row

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Cricket

South East Wales Cricket League Division Three - Monkswood CC (121 all out) lost to Monmouth CC (122-2) by eight wickets

MONMOUTH Cricket Club’s First XI made it four wins in a row on Saturday with a successful trip away to local rivals Monkswood and in doing so remain well in the promotion race in Division Three of the South East Wales Cricket League.

On a muggy afternoon, the hosts decided to bat first on what looked a good wicket but what would turn out to be far from it, as inconsistencies in bounce and carry saw Monmouth’s opening seam attack of Paul Swingwood (1-31) and Adam Roberts (5-20) beat the bat of Monkswood’s dangerous opening combo of M.Jones (9) and M.Malson (5) numerous times before Malson mistimed a pull stroke off Roberts to begin the Monkswood collapse.

From that moment on Monmouth remained in total control with only big hitter M.Watkins (13) reaching double figures as Monkswood crashed to 57-8 as Roberts proved too much to handle with his pace and swing adding to some variable bounce from the surface.

In dire need of some stability, a 63-run partnership for the ninth wicket then occurred from nowhere as Mark Jones (37) and wicket-keeper Chris James (22) showed great tenacity and fight to bat for nearly 25 overs as Monmouth, not helped by a couple of poor pieces of fielding, toiled away with little reward.

This changed when Wales under 15 spinner Ben Davies (1-16) finally removed the stubborn Jones for a hard fought 37. Even then though, it wasn’t until the very last ball of the innings that Raj Kuttappu (1-14) dismissed James as the hosts ground their way to a competitive looking 121 all out and most impressively were able to bat their full allocation of overs despite such a dismal start.

With the ball there were wickets also for Alim Hansraj (1-13) and in the field catches were taken by wicket-keeper Jon Despontin (2), Josh Grey, Adam Roberts, Matt Jones and Henry Breeze whilst a smart piece of fielding from Roberts also led to a run out.

In reply Monmouth, sponsored by Burkert Fluid Solutions, needed to lay to rest the tag of ‘bogey’ ground Monkswood has often been, and did just that by putting in a very disciplined batting performance thanks largely to the efforts of the in-form Matt Jones (47) and Josh Grey (48 not out) who together batted sensibly for a period of 22 overs together in a match winning 96-run partnership.

Monmouth chased the total down in the 32nd over and in doing so picked up a maximum 20 points, their fourth in a row in the league. Next week Monmouth host fifth placed Dinas Powys at the MCG, having beaten them earlier in the season at Parc Bryn-Y-Don. All spectators are most welcome, with a 1pm start.

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