Llanarth CC v Ton Pentre CC
4:57pm Friday 6th September 2013 in Sport
Title winning Llanarth, sponsored by RDB Isaac Dental Practioners of Monmouth, failed in their attempt to complete an unbeaten season when they slipped to a final day defeat, to promotion chasing Ton Pentre, after a lacklustre batting display. Heath surprised all by winning the toss and he decided to have a bat on a beautiful looking straw coloured wicket.
Wharton and Baxter opened the innings and were immediately surprised by the incredible bounce that the pitch offered, making driving a tricky prospect. Wharton fell early edging such a drive behind giving Vaughan a chance, at three, to use his railway sleeper of a bat but after getting off the mark he was bowled by a beauty that nipped away to take the top of off stump. Nowell looked in good touch whipping the ball off his pads to good effect before he missed one to fall lbw and when C Dewfield departed shortly after the Trees were in trouble at 64-4.
Llanarth needed a partnership and who better to join Baxter than Lomax to try to repair the damage however Baxter dealt his own side a hammer blow by running out his regular opening partner in an horrendous yes-no-sorry mare. Skipper Heath (28), in conjunction, with Baxter led a fightback with a partnership of 65 but when the captain was followed back to the pavilion by Griffiths and James the innings was on its last legs. Baxter's vigil was ended for 74 when he was comprehensively yorked, and although compiled from 93 balls it was somewhat lacking in authority as a boundary count of only 3 would show, perhaps a compliment to how well the opposition set their field and bowled to him. Last minute call up Francis, replacing bad back victim A Dewfield, was the last wicket to fall as the Trees were dismissed for a below par 148.
After a sumptious tea Llanarth needed early wickets to keep the unbeaten dream alive and James (4-32) answered his teams call with a double strike in his opening over, both caught behind and repeated the trick in his 8th over to leave TP 45-4 with opener Thomas holding the innings together. Spin twins Powell and Vaughan were introduced into the attack and although both bowled teasing spells further batsmen could not be prised from the crease as the 100 was raised for no further loss.
It took Lomax (3-49) to breathe new life into the Trees as he split the dangerous partnership by clean bowling Hopkins in the 1st over of a new spell then in his next over scattered the stumps once more before inducing an edge behind that was superbly taken one handed by a diving Nowell, at 114-7 it was game on again. However dangerman Thomas remained at the crease playing a superbly controlled innings, repelling everything the Trees threw at him. Fisher joined Thomas at the crease and eased the pressure with some calculated slogging that paid off with four boundaries. Baxter was tossed the ball in a last throw of the dice and rolled back the years as he steamed in and launched the ball at pace rarely reached in his advancing years but to no avail as Thomas and Fisher held firm. An excellent innings by Thomas (55*) was completed when he struck the winning runs off of Heath's rarely seen leg spin as Ton Pentre won a tense game by 3 wickets.
Although disappointed not to attain an unbeaten season it was nevertheless an excellent campaign for Llanarth as Conference 3 was won by some distance.
The seasons success was down to a tremendous team effort, apart from the final day loss whenever the Trees found themselves in difficulty someone was able to pull out a performance.
As well as on the field performances a great deal of thanks should go to all of the members and supporters who undertook all of the off field tasks that helped made the season such an enjoyable success. Well done and thanks to all.