Monmouth firsts hold their nerve to stay top

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 8th August 2018 1:44 pm
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Medium pacer James Taylor held his nerve at the death and saw Monmouth home by the narrowest of margins as they were winners by just five runs ()

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South East Wales Cricket League Division Two - Lisvane (202 all out) lost to Monmouth (207-7) by five runs

MONMOUTH Cricket Club’s First XI were involved in a real thriller on Saturday away at St Melons-based title rivals Lisvane, winning by just five runs on a topsy turvy day where the result remained in the balance for the entire game.

Monmouth, sponsored by Burkert Fluid Control Systems, won the toss on a warm afternoon and chose to bat first. The hosts however started the stronger and a useful opening bowling attack of S.Hughes (1-31 off nine overs) and M.Mughal (1-30 off 10) restricted Monmouth’s openers to just 15 runs off the first 10 overs.

First to fall under the pressure was Matt Jones (19) thanks to a good yorker from Mughal, and then Wales under-15 Harry Friend went soon after despite getting a start for 17 off the accurate spin bowling of opposition skipper S.Powell (3-35 off 10). When captain Adam Roberts was adjudged lbw first ball followed swiftly after by Dave Teague for a well-fought 47, Monmouth were in a spot of trouble at 87-4 at the half way stage.

However, an 86-run partnership between the hard hitting Josh Grey (62) and Gloucestershire under-15 youngster Sam Swingwood (35) saw Monmouth to a more respectable looking 173-5 before Grey was caught in the deep trying one big shot too many. Once Grey fell, young Swingwood took up the scoring mantle and in partnership with young wicket-keeper Joe Harris (8) and then Dad Paul Swingwood (4 not out) managed to get Monmouth up to 207-7 at the 50-over mark, a score which seemed around par, but was controlled certainly by some outstanding fielding and bowling from the home side.

In reply, Monmouth struggled to contain openers J.Davies (42) and M.Curzon (14) as they raced along to 52 before Curzon fell lbw to Adam Roberts (1-52 off nine). Further problems came as opening seamer Paul Swingwood pulled up with a suspected hamstring meaning an early bowl for the ever reliable spinner Alim Hansraj (0-31 off 10). Lisvane, though, continued to tick along nicely, remaining above the required rate and reaching 103 before the dangerous Jack Pritchard was removed for 19 thanks to a wonderful delivery from Gloucestershire under-15 leg spinner Sam Swingwood that was caught by dad Paul at first slip.

Monmouth not for the first time this season were indebted to their young spinner for getting the side back in the game as he threatened all the Lisvane batsman and finished with figures of 4/49 off his 10 overs. Whilst Swingwood toiled away at the other end young Lisvane batsman Gruff Williams (38) was showing great composure and shot selection and it wasn’t until a change of bowling and the introduction of medium pacer James Taylor (2-29 off six) that he was clean bowled and the door opened for a Monmouth win.

With a couple of quick wickets for the economical off-spinner Dave Teague (3-14 off 10) Lisvane looked down and out of the contest when the score reached 176-9. However, captain Sean Powell (18 not out) and number 11 Murad Mughal (8) had other ideas as they batted very sensibly in a frustrating 26-run partnership which took Lisvane to the brink of victory before a Taylor short ball caught Mughal by surprise as he could only pull the ball straight to Sam Swingwood who managed to take a high pressure catch with the score on 202, much to the delight of the Monmouth players.

The resulting 19 points sees Monmouth remain top of Division Two, 16 clear of Blackwood in second and now 29 points clear of Crumlin in third as the race for both promotion and the title looks to go down to the wire. Next week Monmouth host Central Cardiff CC at the Sports Ground and will be looking to avenge a heavy 69-run defeat earlier in the season. The match starts at 12.30pm and all spectators are most welcome.

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