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2015 Match Reports

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Saturday 29th August 2015



After two seasons in Division Two Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI have been promoted back to Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association as runners up. It is a significant step for the Club whose clear goal is to bring the Premiership to Cowbridge. Now the Club is but one step away.

That Cowbridge were in Division Two at all was due to an innocent infringement of the arcane regulations which govern the SWCA. Legal advice suggested these rules had been misapplied and the appeal process flawed but the Cowbridge Club declined to seek a legal solution and now have let their cricket right a wrong.

After a week of heavy showers the work of Tim Williams was crucial to get the home fixture against Pwll from Burry Port on at all. Going into this final fixture Cowbridge needed five points to be sure of promotion should Drefach get maximum points at Champions Bronwydd. Anything less for Drefach would have dashed the Carmarthenshire team’s unlikely chance.

As it turned out splendidly heavy rain at lunchtime at Bronwydd reduced the overs in that match so Drefach could not achieve the 28 points they needed. Anything that happened at Cowbridge was now academic.

It was not known that the start would be delayed when Cowbridge’s Skipper Neil Brand won the toss and put Pwll in. Under any other circumstances Neil would have batted first but the five points, achievable by bowling out the visitors were uppermost in the team’s mind.

Despite three wickets from the Skipper getting him to fifty for the season Cowbridge could only get eight down as the innings closed at 166. What happened next was for those in the know an anticlimax as word had filtered through from the west. For those who believed Cowbridge need 40 for the fifth point it was unwatchable. With only Ed Lewis getting double figures the leading batting line up in the Division were skittled for just 42. Nevertheless Cowbridge were over the line.

‘We were not very good today’ was Brand’s take on the matter, a massive and deliberate understatement. However the promotion depended on a season long campaign where there’s been some very good cricket as the Club have begun the process of building a side capable of taking on and beating the best. The Captain has been the talisman, 50 wickets and 967 runs, a contribution of massive proportions that allowed others to develop. Neil’s undemonstrative but clear headed Captaincy has been enjoyed by his charges. The other leading batsmen, Tom Merilaht and Mike Lloyd were key men well supported by Chris Willey and the emerging talent of all-rounders Alex Kurobasa and Rian Thomas. Sam Russell’s progress has been a huge bonus and Matt Keating took wickets at crucial times.

Off the field the enthusiasm of Chairman Hugh Williams, the Team Manager Jon Smart and Scorer Sarah Russell have been key elements in producing success. Additionally while spectators are often heard to remark that the ground has never looked better it is a fact that Tim Williams has achieved a standard of presentation that makes the observation a truism.

Looking forward to next season the Club’s Committee have well advanced plans to ensure the 1st XI is significantly strengthened to allow a tilt at the Dan Radcliffe Cup, the First Division trophy played for since 1926, and the single promotion place to the Premiership.

The 175th Anniversary Season of the Cowbridge Cricket Club has been celebrated in style and on Saturday night it had been embellished with success.




Cowbridge 2nds made the 150 mile Bank Holiday round trip to Llandysul for the final game of the season knowing that unless other results went in their favour only a win would guarantee Division 5 cricket next season.

Sadly with 23 players unavailable only 9 were prepared to make the journey. Most weeks the game would have been over before a single ball had been bowled.

As usual the Cowbridge Captain lost the toss with the Llandysul Captain eagerly asking the 9 man Cowbridge side to bat first in the hope of bowling them out quickly. The Cowbridge top five had different ideas batting the through the 50 overs with excellent contributions from Jonty Webb 58, Naveed Younas 34, Umar Rafique 26 and another well compiled innings of 26no from Robert Thomas. Cowbridge finished on 164 – 4.

For once the Cowbridge bowlers had a total to defend, albeit with only 9 players. The challenge was made even more difficult as Cowbridge only had 2 full time bowlers and a large field to defend. The Cowbridge Captain was going to have to find 20 overs from part time bowlers!

The team spirit and commitment was excellent, but with gaps all over the field Llandysul reached their total, 8 wickets down with a couple of overs to spare. Had Cowbridge not dropped 3 catches the result would have been completely different with an extremely rare 9 man victory allowing Cowbridge to avoid the drop to Division 6.

Ian Evans finished with 3-44 from his only spell of the season, Umar Rafique 3-53 and John Gilbert 2-47 having all bowled their maximum 15 overs.

Saturday 22nd August 2015

Both First & Second XI Matches were Cancelled

Saturday 15th August 2015



By achieving a winning draw against Drefach on Saturday Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI strengthened their hold on the second promotion place for elevation to Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association.

At the start of play Cowbridge held a sixteen point advantage over third placed Drefach with three games to be played. This represented a solid position but certainly not one of great comfort with a total of eighty four points available. Any slip by Cowbridge could have had serious consequences placing them and Drefach in an even position.

As it turned out it was not far short of the end of the game that the Cowbridge faithful could breathe easily as a tense game finally swung their way.

Batting first on a tired end of season pitch; only Mike Lloyd batted with any authority making a patient 62. Skipper Neil Brand had got to 25 but at 110-3 with Merilaht away and Lloyd and Brand back in the pavilion it was time for some hard graft from Adam Wood (20) and Alex Kurobasa (24) who added 30 for the fourth wicket in what would prove a vital partnership.  A flourish from the tail with Gethin Davies (11) leading the way eventually got Cowbridge to 172-8 off 50 overs.

While some of the XI who are more used to scores well in excess of 200 were anxious the consensus was that if they bowled and fielded well then the total was probably enough.

While Sam Russel and Alex Kurobasa bowled steadily for the home side there was a solid start from Drefach. The visitors got to 33 before Neil Brand struck with a catch at the wicket by Chris Willey which was followed straight away by his bowling the new batsman with an arm ball. At 37-2 Drefach though remained in the game and as the third wicket partnership grew to 99 there were some worried faces around the ground.

However two wickets, a bowled by Brand followed up with Rhydian Harris also hitting the stumps reduced Drefach to 100-4. A stunning slip catch by Kurobasa off Brand and an LBW meant that the seemingly good position had become one of hopelessness, four wickets having fallen for the total of eight runs.

At 107-6 there was speculation that Drefach might go for glory and attempt an unlikely chase. They chose not follow this route and limped along to 138-9 at the close. Cowbridge had been unable to take the final wicket to achieve an outright win for the fifth time this season.

The pick of the bowlers was Neil Brand (5-27 off 15 overs) and Alex Kurobasa ( 2-27 off 12) whose all- round contribution had been a  significant factor in the satisfactory outcome.

By Saturday evening the new position became clear. With two games to go it would seem Bronwydd on 332 points have one hand on the Trophy. The battle involving Cowbridge and Drefach is still alive with Cowbridge 24 points clear, 297 to 273. To even things up going into the last game should Cowbridge would need to lose badly at Gorseinon next week and Drefach win well against Maesteg. After that Cowbridge play host to lowly Pwll while Drefach are at Bronwydd. The promotion spot is now Cowbridge’s to lose.




Sadly the 2nd XI did not have a fixture on Saturday as Morriston conceded the game. The silver lining was 28 points; which keeps the 2nds in seventh place in Division Five.


Saturday 8th August 2015



A thrilling match which began with a Merilaht – Brand stand of 166 and ended with a wicket with just one ball left saw Cowbridge claim an outright victory at Briton Ferry Town by 100 runs last Saturday. The result kept Cowbridge in the second promotion space for elevation back to Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association.

 Given Cowbridge’s record of batting sides out of the game it was a surprise that the home side invited Cowbridge to take first use of a good pitch and short boundaries. Mike Lloyd was lbw for 24 with the score on 41 but this start allowed a stand of 166 for the second wicket. To watch Merilaht and Brand bat together is to witness a contrast of styles. Merilaht, as ever, batted with great effectiveness to post his second near miss of a century this season.

Do not expect the spectacular when watching Merilaht go about his business, just look at the scoreboard and wonder how he has scored as many as he has. Brand though  is a marked contrast to his predecessor as Captain. Tall and left handed Brand’s assaults on the bowling have a brutal air, dealing less in the pushes and nudges of Merilaht, more in the currency of hard hit boundaries.

Their stand was broken at 200 when Merilaht was caught for 92 but aided by Chris Willey(10) Brand continued to demoralise the home attack as his total rose to 124 and the Cowbridge innings concluded on 257-3.

This was the prolific Brand’s fifth century of the season in fifteen innings and he needs just 62 runs to become the first Cowbridge batsman to score 1000 runs in a league season.

There was never any likelihood of the home side getting close to the Cowbridge total but an outright win was vital to Cowbridge. Wickets proceeded to fall at regular intervals but nothing like fast enough to allow Cowbridge supporters a real hope of victory. There were wickets for all the bowlers; Rian Thomas took 1, Neil brand 3, Tom Merilaht 1 and Matthew Keating 3. Their efforts had meant that the four wickets needed in the ten last overs had been reduced to one off the last. Enter Alex Kurobasa, a stylish batsman but one who’s nearest and dearest would describe as only an occasional bowler. This proved to be an occasion to remember for Alex as he bowled the obdurate Briton Ferry No 7 who had top scored with just one ball left. High drama indeed but a vital win and with it maximum points had been achieved.


All the three top sides won at the weekend leaving the table:

Bronwydd 304

Cowbridge 281

Drefach 264


With a maximum of 28 points available the quality of opposition and the weather could play important parts. Cowbridge play a vital home fixture against Drefach on Saturday, they dare not lose. Thereafter it’s Gorseinon and lowly Pwll.

Drefach have to play the two sides above them and Maesteg. It’s all reaching an exciting climax, but Cowbridge have it their power to take a giant step towards achieving their goal on Saturday at the Athletic Field.




The 2nd XI lost a game they might have won against Llanelli on Saturday by five wickets. The defeat was the end result simply due to not scoring enough runs, possibly another 30 was needed,  as they only managed a paltry 119. There had been some hope when Robert Thomas (23) was at the crease, but after his fall the innings disintegrated.

In the Llanelli innings John Gilbert was, as is so often the case, the leading Cowbridge bowler taking 2-20. Had there been a couple more wickets or had they had to chase 150 from what could be gathered from their batting they would have struggled.


Saturday 1st August 2015



It had to happen sometime. After scoring 851 runs in 14 innings the prolific Cowbridge Captain, Neil Brand failed to get double figures with the bat last Saturday putting the onus firmly on the rest of the lads to perform.

The Cowbridge faithful need not have worried; they did and achieved a crushing 81 run victory over Pontyberem. The win kept Cowbridge in the second promotion spot, twenty points behind Bronwydd, sixteen ahead of Drefach which realistically translates as a win behind and a win ahead with four rounds to go.

The match started with Neil Brand hitting two sumptuous boundaries before clubbing one to mid on. Normality was restored by Tom Merilaht and Chris Willey, two of Cowbridge’s stalwarts, who took the score up to 32 before Willey was caught at slip for 16. Some free flowing stoke-play from Mike Lloyd (29) helped the total up to 83 but the Cowbridge innings faltered as Merilaht (36) became the fifth to fall at 112. A couple of quick wickets at this point would have put real pressure on Cowbridge. Indeed the home team would have started their innings thinking in terms of a total of well in excess of two hundred. However the game now seemed to depend on the what happened next.

That Cowbridge got to 184 –8 was due to the excellent batting of Alex Kurobasa, 23 off 30 balls and especially teenager Rian Thomas whose 39 off 49 balls  took the game away from the visitors. It was gratifying to watch these two home grown young cricketers take responsibility at a difficult time and succeed. Although only scoring 6 another young cricketer, Matt Keating, faced 29 deliveries and kept an end secure. The star though was undoubtedly Thomas whose mixture of quality shots and brutal clubbing delighted his teammates and the spectators.

The Pontyberem openers could not have been best pleased to see that it was Thomas who was straight back into the action after tea opening the bowling. Their attitude was a correct one as their Anwar was caught at the wicket off the young all rounder. Things got appreciably worse for Pontyberem as their second wicket was lost, a run out through a splendid piece of fielding by Joe Russell. All of a sudden 185 to win seemed a long way off. With the experienced Matt Smart tying up an end with his accurate seam bowling Pontyberm found scoring difficult. Nevertheless the visitors made steady if slow progress to 51-3 before  Brand and Merilaht claimed a wicket each to reduce Pontyberem to 55-5. It was now a case of bowling out the visitors to gain a rich haul of points and once Sam Russell came on it didn’t take long.

The youngest member of the team, Sam picked up 4-13 off 6 overs to put Cowbridge on the verge of victory. There was to be little resistance by the last pair as that man Rian Thomas was recalled to the attack and his bowling of the No 11 was the signal for the celebrations to start. It was a game well won by the Cowbridge team; but in particular their youngsters.


Saturday 25th  July 2015



A flat performance from the Cowbridge 1st XI resulted in a six wicket defeat at league leaders Bronwydd last Saturday. Nevertheless Cowbridge still have the second promotion spot with a cushion of a win over the third side, Drefach.

Batting first all seemed well at 93 - 1 but despite Neil Brand, 45 and Chris Willey 30 getting starts the innings lost momentum and it was Mike Lloyd, 40 who was left to shepherd the tail. 

A score of 152 - 7 was never going to be enough and the home side cantered to victory. Matt Keating was the pick of the Cowbridge attack with three wickets.




Cowbridge 2nds needed to secure a victory against lower placed Maesteg Town to help cement their mid-table position.  The Cowbridge side was packed with a battery of three quick bowlers, two quality swing bowlers and with the weather set fair and to bowl on a wet wicket there was an air of confidence.

Losing the toss, heads went down in the Cowbridge dressing room, with no regular opening batsmen available the order had to be re-organised and everyone knew that victory depended on our three aggressive batsmen scoring quick runs before their luck ran out on a difficult pitch.

The Maesteg Bowlers performed well and reduced Cowbridge to 52 for 6 but Naveed Younis one of our make-shift openers was still there and when joined by Arabab Bulard the score increased quickly. With 36 and 37 respectively and a contribution of 24 from Sean Rowlands the team posted a meagre 112 in just 30 overs.

Now with 70 overs available to them all Maesteg needed to do was occupy the crease and runs would come and all Cowbridge needed to do was bowl well. The top three Maesteg batsmen were forced play very cautiously against the pace and accuracy of the Cowbridge opening attack and moved slowly to 50 for 1 off the first twenty overs. Following the introduction of the two slower paced swing bowlers, Maesteg thought they could return to their customary style of hitting the ball out of the ground. However, a well-judged catch by Shahid Jadoon out in the deep and a fantastic catch by Robert Thomas close in on the drive took out the best batsmen Maesteg had to offer.

Now at 74 for 3 the job was done by the swing bowlers and the battery of quick bowlers returned to make very short work of the remaining seven batsmen and the side crashed to 90 all out.

Shahid Jadoon return the best figures of 6 for 30 off 13 overs but support from all the bowlers and fielders helped significantly to create the pressure to secure the victory for Cowbridge


Saturday 18th July 2015



Another winning draw, this time against Maesteg, was enough to consolidate Cowbridge CC’s 1stXI in the second promotion spot in the South Wales Cricket Association Division Two. As things now stand with twelve rounds gone and six to come Bronwydd lead on 245, Cowbridge have 221 with Merthyr on 186. Cowbridge are well positioned but the players will know nothing can be taken for granted this far from the season’s end.

Neil Brand won the toss again batted. As usual it was Tom Merilaht (21) and Mike Lloyd (32) got the innings off to a satisfactory start without dominating, Merilaht falling at 39 and Lloyd at 101. By then the Skipper had moved smoothly to 31 but the remaining Cowbridge batsmen could only offer support rather than runs.  While Neil Brand got to 73 the total of 184 was a disappointment. Mention must be made of the bowling of Maesteg’s veteran Martin Wilkshire who took 6-40. 

As it turned out there were few scares for Cowbridge as Maesteg never really looked like challenging the total. The teenage opening bowlers, Sam Russell and Rian Thomas restricted the top order and removed the openers in the first twelve overs before Neil Brand took turned to spin bringing on Tom Merilaht and himself. In effect these two won the game by conceding just 70 between them with Tom picking up one wicket and Neil two. However it was Matthew Keating who’s left arm back of the hand variety which really halted the Maesteg challenge claiming 3 for 33 off 10 overs. To have three spinners of such quality is riches indeed at this level and there are few opponents who can compete. Maesteg finished on 147-9.




After last week’s win against league leaders Merthyr CC, Cowbridge 2nds travelled to high flying Briton Ferry Steel. Cowbridge were confident having won the reverse fixture.

As is customary the Cowbridge captain lost the toss allowing Briton Ferry to have first use of a good looking strip. BFS got off to a flying start with their 1st team opener hitting 24 in only 3 overs before being tricked in the flight and caught and bowled by the wily John Gilbert. In stark contrast the other opening bat took 35 overs to amass a paltry 28.

Wayward bowling on a small field allowed BFS to set a challenging total of 201-8. The only exceptions being Guy Parker 5-38 and John Gilbert, with 1-43 off 15 overs. Excellent catching aided Parker in particular with the highlight of the innings being Jonty Webb’s steepling catch on the deep ‘cow corner’ boundary. Jonty seemed to be under it for hours before it eventually came down!

After tea Cowbridge got off to a poor start with both openers falling cheaply. This brought young Sean Rowland to the crease. Sean finding form and confidence batted superbly for his 83. Cowbridge were well in the game until Sean departed. Robert Thomas and Umar Rafique got into the teens, but the total proved too much as Cowbridge was bowled out for 156.

An excellent game played in good spirit was closer than the final scores suggest.


Wednesday 15th July 2015



Once upon a time there was a young cricketer called Owen. He played for the Cowbridge Junior teams and kept wicket for a legendry 2nd XI under the leadership of the legendry C S White.

Grown up things got in the way of this cricketer’s progress, captaincy of Cardiff RFC, marriage and children and so forth. But the love of cricket was deep inside Owen and last season he returned to play T20 cricket on a Wednesday evening for Cowbridge.

In the twilight of his career there was enough competitive juice in his veins for him to record  what few manage – he scored a maiden century and a rapid one at that. In all Owen (Ruttley) created his own sort of mayhem as he hit six sixes and eleven fours

in his 104. Owen was afforded good support from Sean Rowland (34no) as their opponents, Barry West End were flogged for 167 – 4 in their 20 overs.

In reply the visitors made 67-7 and the victory was Cowbridge’s but mostly Owen’s. A just reward for a proper sportsman.


Saturday 11th July 2015



A record breaking innings of 166 by Cowbridge captain Neil Brand at Merthyr on Saturday was the cornerstone of the First XI achieving a winning draw and strengthening their hold on a place on promotion back to Division 1 of the SWCA.

The captain’s innings was part of a Cowbridge total of 295-4 before Merthyr replied with 163-9, the fourth time this season that Cowbridge have been denied the full win by a obdurate last pair.

The result puts league leaders Bronwydd on 239, Cowbridge on 204, Maesteg on 167 and Merthyr on 154. The cushion of 37 points above third is now a substantial one with seven matches left but after the black day at Pwll a couple of weeks ago, the team will be well aware that there still remains a lots of cricket to be played.

At Merthyr on Saturday, Cowbridge opened with their usual pair of Tom Merilaht and Mike Lloyd, who rattled the score up to 55 before Lloyd was caught for 33.

It was then time for Neil to come to the wicket and make the bowling look second rate and the famous old ground too small. The tall left hander proceeded to hit 13 fours and an astonishing 11 sixes in his innings, which was just 113 balls.

It is clearly a club record and takes Neil to 687 runs this season at an average of 98.14. Neil was well supported by Tom Merilaht (42) and Gethin Davies (39 not out) as the total reached a level that Merthyr could never expect to challenge.

Quite where Neil sits among the leading batsmen of Cowbridge Cricket Club is hard to judge. The game has changed a lot since the days of Thomas Babbington Jones, Billy Russell, Tip Williams, Norman Gauntlett, JA Davies and Eddie Dew.

However it is among these luminaries that Neil surely take his place. What might Neil achieve if he can continue in this vein?

After tea the Cowbridge attack steadily worked their way through the home batting line up. There were wickets for Neil Brand (3-34), Tom Merilaht (2-46) and Sam Russell (2-10) plus two excellent catches behind the stumps from Ed Lewis.

However on a good pitch there was just not quite enough time to get the final wicket, but in getting an advantage of 15 points over their nearest rivals it was a case of a job done in some style.




Cowbridge entertained league leaders Merthyr Cricket Club at the Athletic field hoping to build on last week’s away win at Porthcawl.

The Merthyr captain won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first on a good looking wicket and possessing a strong batting line up. Cowbridge opening bowlers Sean Rowland and John Gilbert started well, both taking early wickets to leave Merthyr on 11-2. Young Sean bowled with excellent accuracy coupled with away swing, bowling numerous deliveries which beat the bat but failed to take the edge. They were simply far too good for the opposition batsmen. Wickets eventually began to tumble. Merthyr were in trouble at 61-6.

An excellent stand between the No: 5 and 8 batsmen allowed Merthyr to set a challenging total of 170-8. Sean finished with 3 wickets with two apiece for John Gilbert and Guy Parker. For the second week in a row excellent ground fielding and catching helped support all five bowlers used.

Cowbridge knew that if they could bat the 50 overs on a decent wicket the Merthyr total could be achieved. The Cowbridge openers were determined not to lose quick wickets against the new ball attack and progressed slowly. At the fall of the first wicket Naveed Younas joined Jon Smart to take the total just short of 50, before Jon was dismissed for a well compiled 34.

At this point the game changed in Cowbridge’s favour with Umar Rafique joining Naveed. From the first ball he faced Umar was determined to increase the run rate by hitting the Merthyr bowlers to all corners of the ground with some devastating stroke play. This seemed to spur Naveed into action with the pair putting on a quick fire 71. At this stage Merthyr were forced into bringing their experienced opening bowler back into the attack. In the space of 4 balls the game was thrown on its head when Umar (48), Sean and Jon Brazier were all bowled reducing Cowbridge from a comfortable 122-3 to a perilous 122-6.

With the help of the big hitting Naveed (48) the Cowbridge tail wagged. John Gilbert (12no) and Richard Owen (10no) who literally threw the bat from the first delivery he faced saw Cowbridge home with five balls to spare.


Saturday 4th July 2015



By defeating Porthcawl by nine wickets on Saturday Cowbridge  consolidated their hold on a promotion spot to Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association. League leaders Bronwydd are on 213 points and Cowbridge on 183. The chasers are Maesteg and Merthyr with 162 and 153 respectively so it’s going to be important in the next few matches that Cowbridge do not lose to either of these two. A team could expect to get 20+ points for a win.

Saturday saw Porthcawl win the toss at The Athletic Ground and decide to bat on beautifully prepared Tim Williams pitch and outfield. The Cowbridge youthful pair of Rian Thomas and Sam Russell kept the visitors’ openers in check with Thomas bowling 7 overs for 9 runs and Russell 5 for 19. Nevertheless it was skipper Neil Brand whose orthodox slow left arm broke the opener’s partnership at 32. Aided by Matthew Keating with his unusual variant of slow left arm back of hand bowling, 2-21 and Tom Merilaht’s leg breaks 2-14 wickets fell steadily as the visitors slumped to Brand’s accuracy. The skipper took 5-19 off 13 overs as Porthcawl were dismissed for 94 in just 41 overs.

Due to Merilaht suffering a foot injury  a new combination opened the innings, Neil Brand and Mike Lloyd. At 51 Brand fell caught at mid on for 29 but Lloyd, aided by Joe Russell as his runner, went on to get 42 not out. Indeed it was Lloyd and Chris Willey who added a stylish 20 not out that saw the 1st XI home before half past five. Some of the Cowbridge supporters would have preferred some more cricket on a golden warm afternoon but the team were well satisfied by a comprehensive win.




Cowbridge travelled to local rivals Porthcawl for a must win game having fallen into the relegation places after three consecutive defeats. For the first time in four weeks they were able to field 11 players.

Porthcawl won the toss and decided to bat on a good looking wicket. Cowbridge got off to a great start with John Gilbert taking a wicket with his first ball, an excellent stumping by stand in keeper Sean Rowland. However disaster struck in the third over with the main strike bowler Umar Rafique pulling up with a torn side muscle leaving him unable to bowl again.

This brought Guy Parker into the attack. Guy bowled with his customary skill to finish with excellent figures of 3-45, superbly defending an extremely short leg side boundary. John Gilbert also took three wickets with Sean Rowland (taking off the pads) and Andrew Finucane also chipping in to bowl out Porthcawl for 156. A great effort with a quick outfield and a wicket right on the edge of the square.

Excellent fielding epitomised the Cowbridge team spirit.

After tea Cowbridge set about their run chase. A match winning opening stand of 60 between Jon Smart (19) and Andrew Finucane (51) set the tone for the innings. Sean added a quick fire 25. The game ended with the highly promising youngster Ed Lewis (15no) making his debut and hitting the winning 6.

This must needed win allowed Cowbridge to move up from 9th to a more respectable 7th in the table.


Saturday 27th June 2015




Cowbridge entertained West Wales side Llandysul. For the third consecutive week they were unable to raise a side, albeit only one short this week. At this level it is difficult to compete without a full side.

Llandysul batted first and amassed 187-8 from their 50 overs. Even though Cowbridge got off to a good start with ever reliable John Gilbert claiming two early wickets, the longer the innings progressed the lack of a fielder cost the home side dearly.

In reply Cowbridge managed 107 all out after a poor start being 25-4 at one stage. Robert Thomas and Ian Evans put on 45 for the 5th wicket before Evans was caught on the fence at extra cover.

Robert finished on an excellent 54 not out. A third defeat on the bounce means that the 2nds are now in the relegation places.


Saturday 20th June 2015



A 37 run home victory over Gorseinon was just reward for Cowbridge CC’s skipper Neil Brand’s third century in seven innings.

The firsts now hold the second promotion spot and have created a significant margin over the third-placed side.

The popular South African-born student made 116 this time, an innings the team manager Jon Smart believed was his best to date “Neil’s shepherding of the tail was quite brilliant, it was crucial to us getting a decent score,” said Smart.

Indeed the innings spluttered along with Tom Merilaht (24) and Chris Willey (20) making useful contributions, but at 130-6 it was vital that the skipper remained at his post.

He did and upped a gear to get to the point where, when he departed at 190, there was an opportunity for (Gethin Davies to play a few shots to get 26 himself and the side 219-9.

Few sides in this league can chase and get over 200 but Gorseinon are one of them. Based on two batsmen, Donald and Roberts, the visitors started to cause unease among the spectators.

At 141-3 with time enough it seemed that Cowbridge’s total might have been short. However the departure of Donald at 161 led to a collapse of such proportion that six wickets fell for 21 runs.

It was the spinners who did the damage, two for Merilaht, three for Brand and pleasingly on his return to the side, Matt Keating, who wrapped up the tail with 3-10.

Neil Brand commented that he was delighted with the way the side was developing.




The average age of this Cowbridge side was remarkably low for this away match against Maesteg Celtic but with only 9 players, the result was a ‘foregone conclusion’ long before a ball was bowled.

Asked to bat first, what a blessed relief! Cowbridge lasted 21 overs and scored  64, a spirited 17 from Andy Finucane playing his first  game of the season and a defiant 12 from John Gilbert who moved from his regular number ten spot to open the batting.

Our bowling attack wasn’t equipped to make rapid inroads into Maesteg batting order and despite the youngsters spirited efforts at fielding, the home team cruised to victory in 15 overs loosing just 2 wickets.

As one player mentioned at the end of the game, our weekly humiliation keeps the 1st XI in Division 2 and challenging for a Division 1 slot (League rules require Clubs to have 2 sides to participate in the higher Divisions of the League)


Saturday 13th June 2015



Amazingly Cowbridge’s 1st XI played some cricket on Saturday, a day better suited to whatever indoor occupation took your fancy! 

The 1st Xi travelled to the pretty and well kept but small ground at Drefach in Carmarthenshire. In a nutshell the home side scored 218-9 and then it rained.

No further play was possible, the game was abandoned and the 1sts came home. Only points for the abandonment we allocated. 

The Drefach wickets were claimed by Skipper Neil Brand, Rian Thomas and the returning Rene Regis, all getting two with Tom Merilaht and Joe Russell getting one each.

Darren van der Vyver was at his splendid best behind the sticks bagging a run out and a stumping. 

It is academic to speculate it Cowbridge would have succeeded in chasing the win but given the way they have been batting this year a bookie would have made them favourites. 

Frustratingly league leaders Bronwydd actually beat Pontyberem in the same corner of Wales to strengthen their position with Cowbridge still second. That the 1st XI are not leading is due to Bronwydd having had better luck with the weather, completing two more games than Cowbridge.





The 2nd XI had no chance of cricket and their game was abandoned suitably early.



The Club sends its congratulations to Skipper Neil Brand who led the Cardiff MCCU to the MCCU’s Two Day Championship by winning at Cambridge last week. Cardiff also qualified for the Challenge Final to be played at Lords on 23rd June. The MCCU’s is an MCC funded scheme that provides six university centres with first class coaching and competition. Indeed 22% of all England qualified first class cricketers have been through the scheme. Former Cowbridge players Tom Warner and Phil Harris are graduates, the Coach is Mark O’Leary who has also played at the Club and the Club President, Jeffrey Bird is hoping his eleven year stint as the MCC’s Mentor to the Cardiff MCCU will draw to a close on a successful note against Leeds/Bradford, alma mata of former skipper Tom Merilaht.


Saturday 6th June 2015



Cowbridge’s 1st XI moved into the promotion spot and second place in their league by beating Briton Ferry Town by 116 runs. As seems to be the pattern this year the current and immediate past Captains, Neil Brand and Tom Merilaht were at the heart of things, Brand scoring 108 and taking 5-30, Merilaht 93 and 4-45.

It must be a Club record to have three centuries scored on three successive Saturdays. It was Brand with 120 a fortnight ago, Mike Lloyd with 129 last week and now Brand again. The value of the student at Cardiff Met is clear in his aggregate of 368 from 6 innings and 19 wickets at 13.3. Tom Merilaht has already got 306 and Mike Lloyd 261.

On Saturday Cowbridge again batted first and at 41 lost Mike Lloyd for 27. It was the stand of 164 between Brand and Merilaht that broke the BFT spirit. When Brand was finally out Chris Willey joined in the fun with 22 and Adam Wood with 10 saw Cowbridge up to 270- 5. It was sad that Merilaht failed to get his much deserved hundred but by the time he was out at 243 Cowbridge already had more than enough. As it was Neil Brand declared at 270 -5 three overs early to allow a bit more time to work a victory rather than endure another frustrating winning draw.

It turned out that Cowbridge got home with seven overs to spare. After Rian Thomas and the Russell brothers, Sam and Joe, had all had a go and BFT had reached 82-1 in slow time it was time to bring on the slow left arm of Brand and the leg spin of Merilaht. Three quick wickets knocked BFT back in the 80’s and after picking up wickets at 110, 137 and at 141 Cowbridge’s spinners then took the last three without drama with just 13 runs added. Job done: maximum points.




A severely under strength Cowbridge team travelled to Llanelli with only 9 players, knowing they had a difficult day in hand.

On losing the toss Cowbridge were asked to bat first. Cowbridge prospects went from bad to worse after only 4 balls of the first over with both Jon Brazier and Sean Rowlands being bowled for second ball ducks reducing Cowbridge to 0-2.

The only real resistance was shown by Cai Owen finishing on 14 not out, out of a total of 61.

This hugely below par score was easily achieved by the Llanelli openers.


Saturday 30th May 2015



Yes, for the second week running Cowbridge 1st XI racked up a big score and then had their opposition, this time at picturesque Pontyberem, nine down at  the close giving them a winning draw, 21 points and a position from which to move into the promotion spots.

The Cowbridge XI was not what would normally be recognised as full strength. However the outfit had enough quality players to be in charge for much of the game. With Tom Merilaht away at a wedding Chris Willey stepped up to the opener slot to join Mike Lloyd. These two put on  a solid  stand of 52 before Willey was out for 26. This brought Skipper Neil Brand to the wicket and he and Lloyd put together the partnership of 92 in quick time before Brand was caught behind for 46. Lloyd continued in aggressive vein and helped by a series of partners got the total up to 219 before getting caught for 129 off 141 balls. It really was a super innings, attacking bad balls at all times but never taking chances or being reckless. The Cowbridge total of 222-8 looked a good one as the players took tea.

The home side were soon in trouble as the Mike Lloyd – Neil Brand combination took the first wicket at 7, Lloyd taking a fine slip catch off the Skipper. As Neil brand rotated his bowling wickets fell at regular intervals. Highlights were 3-24 by Brand and 3-28 from Sam Russell whose control and confidence continues to belie his young age. There were a couple of wickets for Joe Russell and a spectacular catch from Rhydian Harris, equally as good as the one he took for the 2nd XI last week. However  try as they might Cowbridge’s bowlers were to be frustrated as the home last pair hung on to draw.




West Wales side Bronwydd visited Cowbridge for the second consecutive week to find the ground again looking immaculate.

The Bronwydd captain won the toss and decided to insert Cowbridge. The Cowbridge openers found it difficult to score against an accurate attack on a slow, low wicket. The Bronwydd opening bowlers used the overhead conditions well with Colin Tucker swinging the ball away from the right handed batsmen. The outfield was uncharacteristically slow making boundaries difficult to achieve.

Cowbridge were reduced to 33-4 before Ian Evans and debutant Shahid Jadoon shared a 46 run stand bringing Cowbridge back into the game. When Evans was unluckily dismissed for 15 wickets fell steadily. Shahid took on the Bronwydd attack single handily compiling an excellent 71 before the home side were finally dismissed for a disappointing 113. Only Evans and Jadoon reaching double figures.

After tea an excellent opening burst by Arbab Buland reduced Bronwydd to 16-3. However, the Bronwydd captain batted sensibly to finish on 38 not out. The visitors reached the low Cowbridge target with the loss of 5 wickets.


Saturday 23rd May 2015



A dominant performance by Skipper Neil Brand ( 120 not out and 4-24) saw the Cowbridge 1st XI take all the spoils against Bronwydd save an outright victory, having to settle for the strange hybrid, the winning draw. 

The 1st XI’s visitors from Carmarthen found a beautifully presented Cowbridge ground and were generously treated to a master class in building a total. Having got the scoreboard rattling along, Mike Lloyd departed for 21 with the score at 48, leaving the stage to Tom Merilaht (71) who put on 144 with the Captain.

Neil Brand who without fuss or flamboyance but with great technical merit, took advantage of the conditions to score his first hundred for the Club. Darren van der Vyver enjoyed a little flourish with 9 as the innings ended at 50 overs with the total on 244-2. It was never likely that the visitors would get anywhere near the total but at 61 –0 they seemed to be making a solid start. The illusion was shattered though as two wickets fell apiece to the Captain and young bowling phenomenon Sam Russell, aided by fine catching from Mike Lloyd. The first four wickets fell for four runs and at 65-4 it was just a question of whether Cowbridge could force an outright victory. Despite two more for Brand, a stupendous one handed catch by Sean Rowland and a couple of late wickets for Alex Kourubasa, the last man proved elusive. Credit was due to the last Bronwydd pair who batted 13 overs to save the draw as they finished on 126-9. Cowbridge massed 21 points to make amends for their unfortunate experience at Maesteg last week and they are now handily placed to move into the promotion zone in the next week or so.




Cowbridge arrived at sunny Maesteg for their second league fixture to be greeted by a surprisingly wet wicket. On winning the toss the Cowbridge captain had no hesitation in inserting the home side.

The third ball of the innings, a short leg side ball, was pulled at great pace by the Maesteg No: 1. Debutant Andrew Ruston at square leg took off like a premiership goalkeeper to take an astonishing two hand catch, surely an early candidate for catch of the season.

Quick scoring by the Maesteg top order forced an early double bowling change. Last week’s match winner Umar joined Arbab in the attack to again produce an excellent spell of bowling albeit without the success it deserved. This week it was Arbab who produced the excellent figures of 6-31 bowling with good pace and seam movement on a slow stodgy wicket.

Excellent fielding including a superb run out by Jon Wilks helped send Maesteg back to the pavilion for 137 all out in only 29.2 overs, leaving Cowbridge 70 overs to achieve their target.

Openers Jonty Webb (28) and Jon Brazier (16) got the innings off to a good start. At 28 Brazier was unluckily dismissed.

The home team introduced two spinners into the attack. Taking the pace of the ball on an extremely slow and low wicket made run scoring very difficult. Wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Combined with a slow scoring rate Cowbridge were in trouble.

Robert Thomas, for the second consecutive week, was the pick of the batsmen compiling an excellent 41 including a classic straight drive for 6, losing the match ball in the Llynfi river. When Robert departed, quickly followed by Arbab, 34 runs were still required for victory. With plenty of overs in hand Cowbridge were in danger of throwing away a winning position being already 8 wickets down.

Cowbridge captain Ian Evans was joined at the crease by the ever reliable John Gilbert. To the extreme annoyance of both the vociferous home ground and the fielding side Evans and Gilbert played with a combination of stoic defence and excellent shot selection to wear down the opposition.

Undaunted by the continuous comments from both fielders and crowd both batsmen continued to the end with Evans 19no and Gilbert 6no. Evans finished the game by hitting the leg spinner for consecutive boundaries.


Saturday 16th May 2015


It’s often the case in cricket at the start of a season that tosses can win matches.

At Maesteg last Saturday the home side’s use of the better conditions enabled them to score 212-7 with Cowbridge chasing the total all out for 169.

There were two wickets each for Tom Merilaht and  Neil Brand while the experienced Chris Willey chipped in with three as Maesteg produced a total that would normally be well within the Cowbridge compass.

Despite the efforts of Tom Merilaht, 78, and Mike Lloyd, 26, the pitch became more worn and run scoring ever more difficult. A flurry by Rian Thomas,22, suggested that Cowbridge might have made it but in the end even Thomas’ heroics were not enough.

It was a disappointing loss but there remains a long way to go in the season.




Cowbridge 2nd's entertained Briton Ferry Steel for their 1st start of the season. The Cowbridge captain dually won the toss and elected to field first. Debutant Arbab Buland opened the bowling with veteran John Gilbert.

Excellent bowling backed up by keen fielding reduced the visitors to 6-2, before the BFS captain was joined by their wicket keeper to put on an excellent stand of 69 to bring the ‘Steel’ back into the game. The innings then changed in a matter of two overs with the introduction of Umar Rafique into the attack. Three quick wickets reducing the opposition to 80-6.Umar finishing with match winning figures of 5-17, sending BFS back to the pavilion for 120 all out.

The highlight of the innings was a remarkable low catch by Rhiddian Harris to a ball travelling at considerable speed. The BFS batsman stood at the crease for some time in total disbelief that the catch had been held. Excellent ground fielding, notably by young Harry Donithorne playing his 1st game of senior cricket, typified the Cowbridge team spirit.

After an excellent tea the Cowbridge openers struggled for runs on a slow, low wicket against an accurate opening attack. Opener Jonty Webb made an excellent 36, with Umar hitting a quick fire 23.

However, it was left to the experienced Robert Thomas to see the side home. Robert finishing with an excellent well complied 36 not out.


Saturday 9th May 2015



Cowbridge CC’s 1st XI defeated visitors Merthyr by nine wickets.

The Valley’s side were all out for 152 in the 50th over, and the Cowbridge batsmen never looked in danger as they strolled to victory.

With the ball it was past and present captains Tom Merilaht (4-30) and Neil Brand (4-29) who did the damage. Tom’s good day got even better as he stroked a cultured 64 not out, putting on 103 with Mike Lloyd who made a typically aggressive 57. Neil Brand made a quick-fire 31 and Cowbridge were home.



Cowbridge 2nd XI conceded the match

Saturday 2nd May 2015