Pembroke County Cricket League
Llechryd 200 for 7 beat Hook 99 all out by 101 runs
After a superb start Llechryd looked in deep trouble at 105-5 and well short of posting a winning total, but a patient half century from teenage batsman Joe Mansfield saved the day and helped steer his team to 200 off 45 overs.
The hosts were put into bat and they flew out of the blocks with openers John Curran and James Betterley smashing the ball all around the ground and there were sixty runs on the board after only eight overs. This called for a change in the Hook attack and spinner Dai Hopkins and medium pacer Matt Holder stemmed the tide, frustrated the batsmen and wickets tumbled in quick succession.
First to go was Betterley when he was bowled and soon after Johnny Lewis was undone just as he looked to be getting in when he was bowled around his legs by Hopkins. Left hander Steve Smith never looked settled against a pair of wily bowlers who varied their accurate line and length with changes in pace and Smith paid the ultimate price for a march down the wicket when he was stumped.
Opener Curran though was still at the crease and he moved menacingly on to 64 and looked set for another ton but he was caught expertly behind off the faintest of top edges. Worse was to follow when Rhys Beard was skittled off a bowl that kept very low and at 105-5 Llechryd were looking at a modest overall score of around 160. However young Mansfield, who was a little fortunate when he miscued to deep mid off where a fielder had been standing a few balls before, knuckled down and made the most of this bit of luck and played with great maturity. He and Graham Keen ran sweetly between the wickets and got their heads down, and the run rate picked up once again. Keen looked set for a decent score until he was brilliantly caught at mid on for 25 but Mansfield went on to notch his first ever senior half century before he was out. In the final few overs Mike Carter and Drewy Davies wielded the willow and took their side past the 200 mark for a total skipper Curran may not have thought possible after 30 overs.
Holder with 4-41 and Hopkins 1-33 were the best of the visiting bowlers.
The Llechryd total looked a reasonable score in the misty damp conditions but the home attack still needed to keep things very tight against a very capable Hook batting line up and Rhys Beard and John Curran, who opened the bowling, did just that for 14 overs with the opposition two wickets down with only 24 runs on the board.
Curran then brought on veteran seamer Peter Betterley, whose experience and guile helped to keep the runs down and he took 2-18. Curran also picked up a couple of wickets (2-24) but the outstanding bowler was Keen who finished on 5-20, as he and his team, who were outstanding in the field, bowled Hook out for 99.
Adam Phelps top scored for Hook with 24 not out and Jake Wicks and Brennan Martin both chipped in with 15.
This win keeps Llechryd in contention for the title just eight points behind league leaders Narberth. This weekend Curran and co are away at bottom side Johnston.