INDIAN seam bowler Muzammil Khan made a promising 1st XI debut in Monmouth Cricket Club’s battling 36-run defeat at table-topping Bay Dragons 1st XI in the South-East Wales League Division 7.

Khan, from Rajasthan in northern India, snapped up two early wickets on a lively pitch at Blackweir Fields in Saturday’s clash.

The newcomer (2-35) and teenager Sam Brennan (1-36) picked up early wickets as Monmouth, sponsored by Bürkert Fluid Control Systems, put the league leaders on the backfoot.

All-rounder Peter Keay (3-42) was Monmouth’s most successful bowler and claimed the scalp of the prolific Lakesh Bandi (34).

Duncan Delreeve (2-29) and captain Gareth Jones (2-32) also bowled well for Monmouth, before tailender Teja Peruka (58) came to the Cardiff club’s rescue.

The man-of-the-match cracked 10 fours and a six in a hard-hitting 49-ball knock that changed the course of the contest.

Dragons reached a competitive 212 before they were bowled out in 34.5 overs. Ian Morgan took two diving catches in the gully, while David Teague held a sharp slip catch.

Despite the efforts of David Teague (32), Monmouth lost early wickets against the new-ball pace of Pranay Manikonda (3-20) on an unpredictable pitch.

Keay (17), Paul Brooks (12), skipper Jones (11) and Morgan (10) reached double figures but Peruka (4-35) ripped through as Monmouth slipped to 126-7 from 24 overs.

Teenage wicketkeeper Will Hickmott (28 not out) showed lots of maturity with the bat and, supported by school-mate Brennan (16), helped Monmouth to 176 before they were dismissed in the 36th over.

This Saturday, Monmouth 1st XI will look to bounce back when they welcome Lisvane 3rds to the Sports Ground (12.30pm).

The returning Adam Roberts snapped up four wickets in Monmouth 2nds’ 61-run home defeat against unbeaten leaders Friends Union 1st XI at the Sports Ground in Division 12 East.

Former 1st XI skipper Roberts bagged 4-31 as Monmouth 2nds, sponsored by Latorre Consultancy, held a remarkable nine catches against a very strong visiting team of Sri Lankan players.

Wicketkeeper Barry Jones led the way, taking three, as Monmouth surprised the visitors, bowling them out for just 134 in the 37th over.

Spinner Nick Robinson (3-15), Kieran Shaw (1-22 from eight overs), Jonathan Roberts (1-28 from eight) and Jim Barker (1-8) all picked up wickets.

Newcomer Theo Minnie, captain Neil Saunders, Russell Giblin, Tony Brennan, Adam Roberts and Jonathan Roberts took catches, while Jacob Pakianathan (25) and Vel Ravidhas (22) put on 52 for the visitors’ first wicket.

But after the interval, Monmouth’s batters struggled against some outstanding swing bowling and, despite Adam Roberts’ 23, were dismissed for 73 in the 30th over.

Narayanan Muralidhar (3-19) bowled superbly for the leaders and was supported by Pakianathan (2-8), Rajeev Mishra (2-15) and Santhosh Govindarajan (2-24).

Despite the defeat, Saunders’ side remain third in the table and travel to Francis Field in Tutshill to face second-placed Chepstow 3rds in the league this Saturday (12.30pm).

Meanwhile, captain Chris Powles took two wickets in Monmouth 3rds’ heavy 237-run defeat at Pontymister & Crosskeys 3rds in Division 13 East, as the hosts piled up an imposing 283-4 from 40 overs.

Despite 16 from Sean McCluskey, Monmouth, sponsored by Gwalia Consulting Ltd, were shot out for 46 in 24 overs.

This Saturday, Monmouth 3rds host Friends Union 2nds at Chippenham Fields in Division 13 East (12.30pm).

Outdoor senior training takes place on Thursdays from 5.30pm at the Sports Ground and to sign-up for junior, senior or women’s cricket, please contact chairman, Dave Walters, by emailing [email protected]