Pembroke County Cricket League
Llechryd 237 for 7 (28) drew with Cresselly 2nds 176 for 8 (7)
The Llechryd title chase continued on the weekend following another fine all round team performance with skipper John Curran in inspirational form once again.
Curran who has already made a couple of centuries this season, fell just seven runs short of the magical three figures but his cavalier innings helped steer his team to maximum points to keep his team on the tails of unbeaten league leaders Narberth who lead by just four points.
The in-form batsman lost his first toss of the season but he quickly showed that he had not lost his form and he and regular opening partner James Betterley soon had the scoreboard ticking over despite the best efforts of visiting bowlers Richard Harris (1-49) and Matt Lewis (4-35).
Both batsman hit some wonderful shots around all parts of the ground and moved quickly on to 98-1 before Betterley was stumped by Mike Lewis on 31.Two of the middle order batsmen in the shape of Michael Carter and Rhys Beard went for ducks to leave Llechryd on 98-3 and with some pressure on skipper Curran. However talented teen Joe Mansfield carried the pace on with Curran, who continued to smash the ball around the ground. Curran though was eventually caught behind from a bottom edge that carried to the wicket keeper but another hundred appears to be just around the corner such is his form at the moment.
Graham Keen with 27no and left hander Steve Smith (29) added more impetus to the innings and both chipped in with valuable knocks and the hosts finished on 237-7 after their 45 overs.
The north Pembrokeshire side knew full well that wickets would be hard to come by against a decent Cresselly outfit that included a number of old heads capable of occupying the crease for long periods, but Curran grabbed two early wickets with Steve Smith taking a fantastic slip catch for one of these.However all rounder Harris and Rhydian Rees put on a 70 partnership and Llechryd were left scratching around for a wicket.
However James Betterley and Richard Connolly bowled superbly well, with the latter taking 2-7 and the visitors who were at one time 156-5 with 7 overs to go fell four runs short of a point scoring draw and Llechryd gained maximum bonus points. Rhys Beard with 2-40 and Curran 2-27 also bowled well.
Rhydian Rees was the top scorer for Cresselly and he made 77 and there were useful contributions from Lyn Richards (20) and Richard Harries (14).
Match day sponsor was Pendre Garage, Cilgerran.
St Ishmaels II 173 for 4 (29) beat Llechryd II 170 for 9 (7) by 6 wkts
Llechryd 2nds were edged out by St Ishmaels after a close fought encounter that could have gone either way.
St Ishmaels won the toss and after some deliberation asked Llechryd to bat and their opening bowlers were steady and gave little away and they made early inroads with N Coutcher and Lee Ladd going cheaply with S Carpenter (9-1-32-2), bowling left arm medium doing the damage.
At the other end Kevin Bowen (9-1-24-1) kept it tight and further down the line the Hawking’s family combination of Ieuan and Darren caused the visiting batsmen a few problems. However Ben Mansfield and Ollie Roberts got their heads down and batted sensibly to get the score up to 84 in the 20th over before Ben was bowled by a smart delivery from Ieuan Hawkins for a valuable knock of 21. This precipitated another mini collapse with Darren Hawkings again doing the damage and returning figures of 9 overs, 47 runs and 4 wickets.
Llechryd were in deep trouble at 114 for 8, but Duncan Blackburn batted with determination and intelligence and the subsequent stand by Blackburn and Roberts (82 not out) moved the score up to 164 in the 39th over before the former fell trying to push for runs. The innings finished on 170-9 after 40 overs and a respectable total, given the visitors earlier position, and one which Llechryd had hopes of defending, but with the absence of regular opening bowlers, they were always up against it.
The Llechryd attack toiled throughout the innings, with most options being tried including rotating the bowling with Trefor Boston-Williams taking two wickets in his 9 overs for a respectable 34 runs. Peter Gregory also bowled well taking 1 for 30 off his 9 overs, with Richard Davies also taking a wicket with his second spell. Tish were eventually steered home by a splendid 65 not out by Darren Hawkings ably assisted by Iean Hawkings who fell after getting to 50.
A few missed chances in the field also hurt Llechryd, who stayed in the game until the 39th over and just failed to defend the total despite the lack of mainline bowlers and some missed chances. The margin of victory for Tish was small and another dozen runs could well have decided the issue in the visitors favour.
Crymych 106 all out (5) lost to Llanrhian 2nds 140 for 5 (29) by 34 runs
Crymych fell to a 34 run defeat at the hands of Llanrhian seconds at Glandycross depiste the best efforts of talented batsman Richard Thorne who made 58 runs. The Crymych skipper though eventually ran out of partners as he tried to chase down the 141 required to win and Crymych fell well short in the end.
Julian Harries (30), Karl Davies (35) and Rob Jones (31) were the pick of the Llanrhian batters whilst Llion Williams (4-24) and all rounder Davies 3-24) impressed with the ball in hand. For Crymych Ioan Davies picked up a couple of wickets.