ABERYSTWYTH were the victors as a fine day of cricket was played out on Saturday for the West Wales Cricket Conference T20 Finals Day.
Aber, who overcame the challenge of Aberaeron in the semi-finals, triumphed over the Commoners, who had earlier toppled Talybont Rachel’s, by 22 runs.
The day opened with the first of the two semi-finals between Aberystwyth and Aberaeron.
Aber’s Caleb Spencer continued his good form by clean bowling Alex Pitchford for 2. Steff Rees came in at 3 and was showing signs of his good summer, but was caught behind by Robert Rudge off the bowling of Zaid Khan.
Meanwhile, John Fice (20) kept the score board ticking over. Hywel Rees was next out for 12, caught by Tom Williams right down by his boot laces off the bowling of Andi Price.
Chris Strange was next man in and proceeded to smash the Aberystwyth bowlers to all parts of the ground, hitting 6 sixes and 5 fours in his 68. He was out in the final over thanks to Williams as Aberaeron set Aber 120 to win.
Aber openers Price and Mark Evans started slowly against Steff Rees with the new ball. However, Evans took a fancy to the short-ball tactics and hit a very quick 32 before Rees pitched one up and had Evans caught at cover.
Wickets fell regularly but the Aber batsmen chased out their target with three overs to spare, winning by four wickets.
The second semi-final saw the Commoners’ opening bowlers of Ian Lawton and James Brian tear though the Talybont Rachel’s batting line-up for just 69 in 12 overs.
The Commoners openers of Rakesh Bhatia and Dave Wilcoxon then reached their target without much fuss in the 10th over.
For the final, Aber captain Daniel decided to take the gamble and bat first.
His side opened again with Price and Evans producing a strong opening stand as Evans scored a very aggressive 22 before he was caught at extra cover off the bowling of Bill Somerfield. Price was joined by Ceri John (25) who also regularly found the boundary playing some classic cricket shots, but he too fell to the leg spin of Somerfield.
Commoners skipper Jacob Hughes-Pickering decided to remove Somerfield (2 overs, 2 for 9) from the attack, much to Aber’s relief. But Price was next out for 29, caught at cover off debutant Dan Ponting.
Khan, Harri Edwards and Tom Williams all played well to help rack up a total of 142 for 7.
Commoners openers Rakesh Bhatia and Dave Wilcoxon looked to start brightly, but Aber’s Spencer had other ideas, getting the dangerous Wilcoxon caught behind by Rudge for 2.
Aber’s other opener Khan then clean bowled Brian leaving the Commoners rocking.
Seeing the success the Commoners’ spinners had earlier had, Daniel asked Evans to bowl off spin in tandem to his left-arm spin. This proved to be a success and the Commoners innings stalled. However, Rakesh decided to make his move and tucked into Evans and Daniel’s last overs frequently hitting the ball out of the ground.
In Daniel’s last over, scoreboard pressure would take its toll as Rakesh drove hard to deep cover; as the batsman Ponting turned for the second run, Khan swooped in, collected the ball one-handed and threw the ball at the stumps from some 50 metres away. The ball hit the target, leaving Ponting a yard or so short.
Two balls later, with Rakesh on 65 and running out of partners, he chose to advance down the pitch only to run past it, where Rudge made a difficult stumping look very easy.
Will Copeland wasn’t ready to give up the fight and with Commoners needing 40 from the last two overs decided to smash Price’s first two balls over the railway line. Price didn’t panic and bowled a slower delivery which trapped Copeland plumb in front.
Harri Edwards would bowl the last over without too much trouble as Aberystwyth got over the line to secure the trophy by 22 runs.