South East Wales Cricket League

Division 1

Chepstow 1sts (290-7) beat Blackwood 1sts (192 all out) by 98 runs

STAND-IN skipper Gareth Ansell hit a century to help Chepstow retain top spot at Mathern Road, writes Bob Cypher.

Ansell - deputising for injured captain Jason Dobbie - hit nine boundaries while amassing 113 runs in 129 balls before being run-out.

The opener started slowly, partner Sam Hope-Bell reaching 45 while Ansell had half that many on the scoreboard, but he accelerated after losing Tyler Morgan Huggett (20) and Carwyn James, before Ollie Thornhill took up the baton with the score on 133-3

Thornhill played some excellent shots at just over a run-a-ball before injuring a knee when stretching for a second run and was forced to retire not out for 39.

That brought Dave Bennett to the crease and he and Ansell - who also celebrated his century during their stand - took Chepstow to 246-4 before being caught off Kieron Rowe’s bowling for a valuable 22 runs.

Young Ben Kellaway took up the responsibility of supporting his skipper and after hitting a maximum off the first delivery he faced, the 15-year-old made 23 before being caught.

By then Ansell had departed with 113 on the board and Malith Madurasinghe (14) and Lewys Jones (1 not out) saw Chepstow to a good total.

In Blackwood’s reply, Madurasinghe struck first, having their skipper Andrew Clark caught by Carwyn James for eight runs, and Kellaway bowled opener Gareth Berry for 23.

The visitors threatened momentarily through Neil Pearson (72), but at the other end wickets fell regularly and cheaply until tail-enders Adam Lusardi (21) and Richard Matthews (22) became the first two of Lewys Jones’ four wickets and their chase ended on 192 with an over to spare.

After the match Madurasinghe paid tribute to Ansell and Kellaway for their contributions.

“It was another solid performance and we are really pleased to get maximum points to stay top of the league,” he said.

“Our strong batting was built around an excellent century from Gareth and good support from Sam and Ollie.

“Then a disciplined bowling performance from the start strangled the run chase to reduce Blackwood to 91-6 and we took control with Ben (3-22) and Lewys (4-44) seeing us home to a comfortable victory.

“We travel to Pentyrch next week looking to maintain our winning run.”