South East Wales Cricket League

Division 1

Chepstow 1sts (68 all out) lost to Usk 1sts 70-0) by 10 wickets

TABLE-topping Chepstow 1sts were demolished in an amazing display of fast bowling by Usk’s South African Mika Ekstrom at Mathern Road on Saturday, writes Bob Cypher.

It wasn’t only the home side’s players who were shocked as Ekstrom’s pace BROKE one of the bails and then SNAPPED one of the wickets in a devastating spell which saw him take a magnificent seven wickets for just 25 runs.

The 21-year-old, who is playing for Usk during his own country’s close-season, served early notice with two bouncers which saw Chepstow opener Sam Hope-Bell ducking for cover.

Ekstrom, who was clocked at 80mph when he was 16, bowled fast and accurately and after Hope-Bell (11) top-edged to Paul Murphy, the writing was on the wall.

Opening partner Jamie Rayner (11) hung around while partners returned to the pavilion and no other home batsman managed a double-figure score.

Chepstow, under-strength due to the absence of skipper Jason Dobbie, wicket-keeper/opener Gareth Ansell and the vastly-experienced Carwyn James, were unable to resist Ekstrom long enough to build a meaningful partnership as he took the first five wickets to fall.

Jonathan Price (2-26) and Pat Rodden (1-5) gave Ekstrom a brief rest during which he was on hand to catch Malith Madurasinghe for Price’s first victim. He returned to mop up the tail leaving Ricky Sahabdeen as the last man standing when the innings closed with the last ball of the 19th over.

Speaking during the interval, a delighted Ekstrom said his seven-wicket haul was his biggest.

“My previous best was six wickets for no runs although I’ve had a few five-fors in my career.

“Everything just aided me today, the wind and bowling downhill on a bouncy track.

“My plan is to return to Cape Town in the UK off-season to continue playing and visit family again.

“The only time I’ve ever had my speed shown was when I was 16. I played a school game which was televised and I was clocked at 80mph. I was probably in the low 80s yesterday.”

For the record, Usk openers Elliott Doyle (34 not out) and Olly Robson (32 not out) completed their task in 18 overs.

Skipper for the day Mitch Harris said one of the umpires told him Chepstow had been hit by the perfect storm.

“We can come up with a number of reasons why it happened but ultimately we were not good enough and were outplayed in every area of the game,” he added.