South East Wales Cricket League Division Three (Second XI) - Monmouth (97 all out from 37.4 overs) beat Pontymister and Crosskeys (63 all out from 28.1 overs) by 34 runs
MONMOUTH Cricket Club’s Second XI made it two-in-a row with a 34-run victory in a remarkable game at home to Pontymister and Crosskeys, which saw all 20 wickets fall for fewer than 160 runs.
Pontymister won the toss and elected to field, given the damp state of the ground. Although the home side’s batting was bolstered with the returning Ian Morgan, the decision to put Monmouth into bat seemed a wise one as the game progressed. Only 16-year-old opener Gus O’Connor (15) and Chris Chalk (16) made double figures, as almost each attempted attacking shot resulted in the fall of a wicket.
At 51-8 in the 18th over the game appeared lost. However, skipper Rick Parkes and vice-captain Gaz Hughes held their ground at the crease, and in the final overs Hughes (37) opened up and made scoring look easy in an innings which featured six fours, before the home side closed on 97 all out in the 38th over.
At tea, the home side knew that early wickets and tight bowling would be the key to making the game competitive on an uncharacteristically difficult Monmouth batting wicket. Opening spells from George Williamson (12-1 from five overs with one maiden) and a rare but highly effective opening spell from Aled Jones, who conceded just seven runs from eight overs, including three maidens and one wicket, saw the reply going to plan.
Further breakthroughs arrived thanks to Gaz Hughes (23-4 from eight overs with two maidens), and with the visitors reeling at 24-6 in the 18th over the home side closed in on an unlikely victory. However, there followed a difficult spell around the 20-over drinks break, which saw three dropped catches and other missed wicket-taking opportunities during a spirited counter-attack led by Pontymister’s captain Tim Gittins (23) aided by batsman S, Rhodes as the visitors progressed to 60-6 in the 24th over.
Nonetheless, Monmouth refused to panic and the partnership was broken by Chris Chalk (16-3 from six overs with one maiden). Steve Gale ended the game with three catches and Chalk with one, but it seemed fitting that the last wicket was taken thanks to a catch from man-of-the match Hughes, off the bowling of Ben Burnett. Pontymister finished the game all out for 63 in the 29th over - just 15 minutes before the advent of heavy rain, which would otherwise have caused the abandonment of the game.
Next Saturday Monmouth, sponsored by Bürkert Fluid Control Systems, are away to high-flying Crumlin.