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2016 Match Reports

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For Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st and 2nd XI’s the 2016 season proved to be one of progress. The 1st XI were newly promoted to Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association and retained their new status with a degree of comfort while the 2nd XI rose five places and challenged for promotion from Division Five.

Off the field the net pitches were replaced, a new outfield mower purchased and the scoreboard renovated. The pitches were excellent, certainly the best in most members’ memory while the outfield continued to be quite magnificent. Adding to the quality feel were splendid teas provided by the Aroma Café. All this was due to the hard work of a dedicated off the field team of Chairman Hugh Williams, Vice Chairman Andy Brace, Treasurer Paul Freeman, Junior Co-ordinator Sara Russell and the esteemed groundsman, Tim Williams. However it was the Captains who were responsible for the cricket and in Chris Willey and Jonathan Smart the Club was fortunate to have two of the best.

In 2015 the 1st XI had been led by South African Neil Brand. Neil scored nearly a thousand runs and took fifty wickets. In 2016 Neil was eligible to play in the Premier League and as a budding professional it was no surprise that he decided he needed to play at the highest level he could. The vacancy for the skipper’s job was quickly filled when the senior players proposed Chris but even those who knew him best could hardly have imagined that he would undertake his new role with such aplomb. A fine cricketer who had been with the club since he was youngster Chris demonstrated a tactical flair and in his level headed way an ability to walk with Kipling treating triumph and disaster just the same.

It was as well that Chris possessed this quality as the first six matches were something of the latter and in early June Cowbridge were bottom and prospects were bleak. Then came fightbacks to save draws at Gowerton and Maesteg Celtic and a scrambled win at Bronwydd. For Cowbridge it was something of an El Alamein moment as the cricket improved dramatically. Of the last eleven games of the season there were five wins and another match would certainly have been won but for the interference of rain. There was only one loss and a losing draw. Had the league been just the last two thirds of the season Cowbridge would have been runners up.

The talisman Ben Wright brought back to Cowbridge all the talent and professionalism he had shown in his distinguished career as a Glamorgan player averaging 100. Most runs were scored by Ben’s old schoolmate, Tom Merilaht, 625 at an average of 78 which was the rock on which the innings were built week after week. Mike Lloyd slammed a magnificent 125 at Dafen and the return to the ranks of Adam Wood gave the side experience and stability. It was good to welcome Alastair MacAlpine and the Harper brothers who all played their parts.

With the ball Tom was the leading wicket taker with 20 but the advance of Sam Russell (15 wickets) and Rian Thomas (16) from promising youngsters to fully fledged Division One players was testament to the Club’s policy of giving young cricketers every chance. Indeed Rian’s 6-32 won the Gowerton match and Sam’s 3-21 saw off Maesteg Celtic. Newcomer Jake George (11) may not have fulfilled expectations as a batsman but his miserly off spin was invaluable.

The league was won by Tata Steel, as good a side as has graced the Division in recent years. For next season there is every chance that the completion will be less stiff as Aberdare are the newcomers dropping down from the Premier League. The Club needs to be a Premier League outfit, the structure and facilities are there and the way the 1st XI improved as the season progressed there are grounds for optimism that this ambition can be achieved.

For the 2nd XI there was a major change in game regulations with the number of overs per side reduced to 40 from 50 and a straight win or lose format. This change was well received by the team who prospered under the leadership of former 1st XI Captain Jonathan Smart. Having done nearly every job in the Club it was no surprise that new Skipper was able to use the new regulations to turn around the fortunes of a side that had struggled a little.

As it turned out the 2nd XI finished third, narrowly missing promotion. The success of the XI was based on the excellence of the opening pair of David Gascoyne and Jonty Webb. David made a big impact at the Club in his first season coaching the Under 11’s but scoring the highest aggregate in the entire league, 701 runs, Jonty scored 450. With Ian Evans success as an off spinner and Rob Thomas continuing to get runs in the autumn of their careers it made it possible to develop Heath Webb, Lewis Sevenoaks  and Will Harris who are in the spring of theirs. Naveed Younis and John Gilbert continued to make significant contributions.

To say that 2016 was a vintage season would perhaps be going a little fat but that the Club has made significant progress in undeniable.


Saturday 27th August 2016



At just past half past seven on Saturday evening as the premature dusk of late summer descended Cowbridge Cricket Club’s Captain, Chris Willey lowered the green, white and black Club flag. There was no ceremony yet the action retained a certain poignancy as it signalled another season over and a job well done.

It was as though the whole day had been waiting for this moment. Bronwydd were the visitors and might have been relegated had results elsewhere taken a peculiar turn but for Cowbridge the intensity of competition had been left behind with the Club having secured Division One status two weeks ago. Although the match produced some notable moments the feeling among the 1ST XI and the spectators was decidedly autumnal.

Bronwydd batted first and took some time to get the innings going. Accurate bowling from Adam Wood (4-56), Rian Thomas (2-36) and Jake George (1-28) kept the visitors down to 96-5 at drinks. However a fine innings of 86 not out by the visitors’ George Glesson saw the visitors to a score of 230-9. To be sure the total was greater than it might have been as the Cowbridge fielders managed to drop seven chances. It’s simply not possible to be so generous and set up a victory.

Yet for a long period during the first part of their innings it seemed Cowbridge were on track to do just that. Cowbridge’s leading run scorer Tom Merilaht (69) and the skipper, Chris Willey (47) enjoyed an opening stand of 126 before Chris fell to an outstanding catch. Tom left the scene he had seemingly occupied since early May at 136 but with wickets in hand there was still a chance of an unlikely victory.

From there on Adam Wood (20) and Jake George (13) played a couple of cameo innings but wickets fell as the chase continued. In the end the placing of six fielders on the boundary to cut off fours and meant Cowbridge could not sustain the scoring rate needed to threaten the total. As the overs began to run out it became apparent that their destiny was to settle for the draw and the innings petered out to 172-7 at 50 overs.

All that was left was for the teams to shake hands and head for the Pavilion bar. While they did so the Captain had that one last job to do and as he did it the season passed into history.




It is all too easy to take for granted what lies before you as you drive through the ‘Fred Dunn’ gates on a Saturday afternoon either to play or watch England’s traditional summer sport. The splendour of the tightly mown outfield, the beautifully manicured wicket, the deckchairs that adorn the patio and the Club flag fluttering proudly high above the clubhouse is what greets you upon arrival. In stark contrast, Pontardawe Park, home to Llandarcy Cricket Club, Cowbridge 2nd XI’s opposition last weekend offers little by way of comparison.

The ground, enclosed by tall dark trees and situated to the rear of an industrial estate is in itself difficult to find but no more so was the wicket upon arrival. Cut in the middle of a large field was a damp, green, weed ridden pitch which made the decision to field first a straight forward one for the Cowbridge captain upon winning the toss.

Although promotion was no longer possible, the team was determined to come away with a victory and secure third place in the league, a position that was no more than they deserved given the efforts they had put in during the season and they got off to the best possible start.

In the absence of the reliable John Gilbert, Umar Rafique and young Heath Webb were entrusted with the new ball and Umar delivered immediately dismissing the opposition captain and opening batsmen with the first ball of the game. Accurate bowling and good ground fielding, assisted by the long outfield made boundaries difficult to come by and after 10 overs, Llandarcy had only managed to score 29 runs for the loss of two wickets.

With an increase in the run rate required, the opposition’s middle order decided that the unorthodox approach to batting rather than strokes worthy of the MCC Coaching Manual were required and this ‘agricultural’ method reaped its rewards to some extent as they accumulated a further 50 runs in the next ten overs.

The introduction of young Will Harris and Ian Evans stemmed the run rate with Will picking up a wicket and by the 30th over, Llandarcy had progressed to 109 for 5. With ten overs remaining, wickets in hand and Llandarcy needing to set a competitive total, the agricultural approach resumed and despite Guy Parker taking three wickets and Navid Younas taking two, the late order added a further 43 runs before being bowled out for 152; a target the home supporters considered to be sufficient given the conditions.

Little could have been further from the truth. Despite the early loss of Jonty Webb (9) the elegant Dave Gascoyne (79*) and the experienced Rob Thomas (42*) set about the run chase in determined fashion. The quality of the stroke play would have been admired by the cricketing Gods as the half volleys were caressed through the covers for four and the short pitched deliveries dispatched over the square leg boundary with aplomb. At no time did the duo look in any trouble and victory was secured in the 26th over.

There is no doubt that the undefeated partnership of 129, giving Cowbridge an emphatic 9 wicket win, was worthy of a venue more appealing but at least those that were there to witness it will have left knowing they had seen something special and that occasionally Pontardawe Park does have something beautiful to offer on a sunny August afternoon.


Saturday 20th August 2016


Saturday 13th August 2016


The great Maesteg, Wales and British Lions’ scrum half Chico Hopkins once memorably described his home town as a ‘veritable paradise’. On Saturday the Maesteg Celtic 1st XI travelled from their home patch to The Athletic Ground. Whatever the beauties of the former mining town the Cowbridge ground looked at its most splendid. A  Tim Williams’ striped outfield, an excellent pitch and the Club flag fluttering in the gentle breeze the surroundings were the perfect background to a glorious afternoon. Presumably the Maesteg team felt at home in these verdant haunts but after suffering a 129 run defeat perhaps they began to view the delights of Cowbridge rather differently.

Earlier in the season Cowbridge had visited Maesteg Celtic as the bottom side of Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association.  Yet it turned out to be this away match at Cowbridge’s 1st XI began to turn things around. Having conceded a massive total the lads fought back strongly to claim a creditable draw and it’s been a very different story since.

A scrap at Bronwydd gave Cowbridge her first win and victories followed five in eight matches, plus a dominant winning draw. Included in this run were ten wicket thrashes of Gowerton and Briton Ferry Steel, who now lie third and fourth, as well as Saturday’s massive triumph. Indeed during the past eight weeks Cowbridge have been at least the second best side in the Division.

The match on Saturday had little riding upon it for Cowbridge save the desire to win for its own sake, Chris Willey’s men being safe in already securing Division One status for next season. On losing the toss Cowbridge were invited to bat first but the wisdom of this decision by the Maesteg skipper was rather questionable with Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht opening up. To suggest it might not have been his best ever call was given some substance as the pair put on 111 in quick time. Ben was on 73 when he fell but Tom (34) and then the middle order of Michael Lloyd (25), Chris Willey(27), Adam Wood (31no), Jack Harris(9) and Ed Lewis (15no) led the charge to a total of 226-5. Given the way Maesteg Celtic have been batting recently it seemed that score was a decent total.

When it came to the visitors’ innings it really was a capitulation. Three early LBW decisions reduced Maesteg to 51-3 and from that point resistance totally fell apart. Tom Merilaht took 4-12 and that was enough to drop the visitors for 97. The Maesteg faithful being left to console themselves with whatever of Chico’s vision now remains in the Llynfi Valley as relegation is now their likely reality.

For last Saturday’s fixture Cowbridge was a very pleasant and orthodox place to be. Next week the 1st XI travel to the peculiar ground at Briton Ferry Steel.  Cricket is always fun at this long but very narrow home of cricket and Cowbridge will complete their away fixtures there for 2016 there next Saturday.



Cowbridge 2nd XI’s visit to Maesteg Celtic last Saturday did not deliver the result expected and has quite possibly dashed all hopes of promotion. Despite reasonable individual efforts in chasing 161 for victory, Cowbridge’s batsmen were unable to put together that one significant partnership to get them over the line resulting in a 13 run defeat.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, Cowbridge won the toss and invited the home side to bat first. On a good batting track, wickets were always going to be difficult to come by and the opening bowlers did a fine job in restricting the opposition to just 52 runs from the first 15 overs thanks mainly due to the excellent bowling performance of 13 year old Lewis Sevenoaks who only conceded 13 runs from his 5 overs.

Navid Younas and Ian Evans followed and both bowled accurately and although Younas managed to pick up two wickets, Maesteg managed to push their total on to 101 by the 30th over. With wickets in hand, the opposition batsmen had the freedom to play more aggressively which they did to great effect and amassed a further 60 runs from their final 10 overs finishing on 160 for 3 from their 40 overs.

A run chase of four runs per over should not have been too much trouble given the quality of Cowbridge’s batting line up. However, the early loss of Dave Gascoyne (19) shortly followed by Younas and Rafique both for single figures, left Cowbridge in a precarious position at just 50 for 3 from 17 overs.

The reliable Jonty Webb had batted sensibly during this mini collapse and when he was joined by Jon Smart in the 20th over with the score at 58 for 4, there was still hope and some expectation that the experienced duo would see Cowbridge to victory.

Webb and Smart began to rebuild the innings and they took the score on to 120 before Webb was dismissed for 47 in the 32nd over. With 41 runs still required from the final 8 overs, Ian Evans joined Smart and there was still a chance that Cowbridge could get over the finish line.

However the dismissal of Smart soon followed and despite the valiant efforts of Anthony Isles and Guy Parker, Cowbridge were unable to reach the target and finished on 147 for 7 from their 40 overs.

The defeat means Cowbridge 2nd XI remain in third place in the league. With a 20 point deficit from a promotion place, promotion now, although not impossible will be difficult particularly as they welcome the league leaders, Briton Ferry Steel to the Athletic Ground this Saturday.


Saturday 6th August 2016



This weekend marks the ninetieth birthday of The Times’ first and now only living former Cricket Correspondent, John Woodcock. The two men who will be sadly missed at the celebrations, Christopher Martin Jenkins and Alan Lee died younger than Woodcock who’s by line is now in the capable hands of Michael Atherton. Woodcock, Martin Jenkins and Atherton all came from the public school and Oxbridge tradition of cricket, Lee was a first and last a journalist but whose writing was the finest of them all. What is almost certain is that none of this group would imagine that they had any connection with Skewen.

There the cricket club is in a public park on the crest of a small hill and with it’s vista of industrial dereliction it comes from a different tradition to that familiar to The Times’ men. You have to go north to Neville Cardus of the Manchester Guardian and J M Kilburn of The Yorkshire Post to find writers who would have recognised the artisan origins of the Skewen Club. Through the efforts of a small band of enthusiasts including Dick Owens who was schooled in Cowbridge, they keep alive their tradition of cussed defiance, a characteristic of a Club that it must be said Cowbridge teams have had difficulties with over the years. It’s not the village green and cucumber sandwiches of Woodcock and friends, at Skewen it’s the competition in the raw of the northern game.

So it was to this home of cricket that Chris Willey took his Cowbridge 1st XI on Saturday. Chris would have been fully aware of the need to come away with a win to consolidate the Cowbridge 1st XI Division One status while for the home side relegation would follow without a positive result. Indeed probably the last place you would chose to take your team on a need to win mission would be Skewen. To their credit they did so, emerging victorious by 29 runs, taking maximum points from the game and ending the weekend sixth in Division One of the SWCA.

The victory was the result of a typically patient innings of Tom Merilaht who once again proved to be the rock on which the innings was anchored. Tom’s 86 not out off 163 balls set up the 180-6 total in which his principal ally was Chris Willey with 33. That Tom only hit three fours tells a story of a slow pitch and a competitive attack. The dour Cowbridge innings may not have satisfied the gentlemen of The Times but it would have been warmly received by The Yorkshire Post’ s readers.

The improvement of the Cowbridge 1st XI as the season has progressed has been largely the way the bowling has developed. This time Tom picked up 3-25 with his leg breaks which were considered a rare frippery by the Skewen supporters. The star man for Cowbridge though turned out to be teenager Sam Russell who has had a couple of quiet weeks as a result of injuries. Sam bounced back to form with 4-25. The Skewen batting never really got going and as the scoring rate needed increased so did the likelihood of a Cowbridge victory. In the end the home innings succumbed quietly and Chris Willey’s men were relieved to head for home secure in the knowledge that they had all but secured their status for next year.

It’s a long way from Skewen, past Cowbridge, to Longparish in Hampshire. There the Woodcock family have been squires for nearly three hundred years. It promises to act as host to the great and good of the game in celebration of a special man of cricket. Now relegated Skewen will hold no party, yet both villages would recognise that cricket binds together society in more ways than we sometimes imagine.




Another fine century partnership by Cowbridge’s opening batsmen Dave Gascoyne (54) and Jonty Webb (74) was the backbone to the 2nd XI’s 80 run victory over Kidwelly last Saturday.

Having been invited to bat first in glorious sunshine on a fine looking wicket, the duo started positively and put on 60 before the first drink’s break was taken after 15 overs. With a relatively slow outfield and with boundaries difficult to come by, the pair ran well between the wickets putting the opposition’s fielders under pressure as they tired in the mid afternoon sunshine. When Gascoyne was dismissed for 54 in the 25th over, the stage was set for young Edward Lewis to take advantage of the excellent start.

Edward batted aggressively and took the score onto 130 before he was dismissed in the 25th over whilst Jonty continued his faultless innings at the other end. In the final 10 overs, Cowbridge added a further 50 runs with good contributions from Navid Younas and Rob Thomas and Cowbridge finished their innings on 184 for 5 from their allocated 40 overs, which seemed about a par score.

In reply, the Kidwelly innings got off to the worst possible start when their opening batsman offered ‘no shot’ and was adjudged LBW in the second over. Things did not get much better for them as few of the visitor’s top order were able to cope with the accurate bowling of John Gilbert and Ian Evans and after 20 overs, the team from West Wales were struggling at 61 for 4.

The introduction of Navid Younas, who finished with the excellent bowling figures of 3 for 13 from 8 overs, only made matters more difficult and by the 30th over, the chance of an away win was clearly unlikely as they had limped to just 89 runs for 7 wickets.

With only three wickets required in the next 10 overs, the talented youngsters which are Will Harris and Lewis Sevenoaks were introduced into the attack and they, assisted by some imaginative field placings, dismissed the final Kidwelly batsmen with relative ease; the opposition finishing on just 104 runs.

Cowbridge’s convincing victory was a good team effort and they remain in third place in the table hoping to secure a promotion spot with a victory when they travel to Maesteg Celtic this Saturday.


Saturday 30th July 2016



A career best 6-32 from teenage bowler Rian Thomas set up an emphatic ten wicket win for the Cowbridge 1st XI over visitors Gowerton. On a good pitch Gowerton could only manage 104 which proved little challenge as the home side cruised home on a golden summer’s late afternoon at the sylvan glade that is The Athletic Ground.

There was little to suggest that as Gowerton’s openers put on 40 for the first wicket in good time the rest of their batting would fail in such a calamitous fashion. However with Ben Wright keeping things very tight from the Bear Field end Skipper Chris Willey turned to Rian to replace Alex Kurobasa. If Chris was looking for immediate results he was to get them. Rian’s’ brisk right arm  bowling was to backed up by some excellent ground fielding and even better catching from Ben and Joe Russell.  With plenty of bounce and pace in the pitch Gowerton’s middle order had no answer to the young tyro as Rian’s spell ripped out the top order and reduced Gowerton to a paltry 62-5. From this difficult position a fightback of sorts took place with a stand of 29 for the sixth wicket but at 92 the second collapse of the innings took place as Jake George’s miserly off spin claimed 2-8. The tail could not do any better than their higher order and 104 was the sum total of the Gowerton effort.

The first innings had only lasted 36 overs but any hopes Gowerton’s bowlers may have had of replicating the Cowbridge effort could hardly have been helped by the sight of the former Glamorgan batsman Ben Wright and his old schoolmate Tom Merilaht, the rock of the Cowbridge batting for so long, striding out in pursuit of an early finish. In twenty eight uneventful overs with both batsmen playing beautifully Ben creamed six fours in his 57 while Tom did what he does every week as he reached 37.

The match winning performance came from Rian however. Indeed Gowerton must be heartily fed up of Rian Thomas. At the corresponding fixture in June it was Rian in partnership with Matt Keating batted out twenty five overs to save an unlikely draw. This time though it was the use of his major skill that did for the visitors. It is probably the case that this sort of devastating spell was always likely to be produced at some stage as Rian has now been in the 1 XI for a couple of seasons but while he has always been capable of producing good deliveries he has also found it difficult to demonstrate the ability to hold it all together over a spell, until now that is.

One element that helped Rian was the bounce and pace of the pitch. Over the past two years Tim Williams has been hollow coring the square, taking out cores of rather fibrous material and replacing them with a more solid loam. To complement this there has also been a programme to replace the invasive but useless Annual Meadow Grass with a special mix of grass varieties which will root deeper and help produce a more solid surface. The quality of the pitches this season would suggest that the programme is working.

It was only five o’clock when the finish came and the Cowbridge faithful who enjoy watching the last hour or so of cricket with the aid of a little refreshment were bemused to enter the ground but see no game going on. Bemused they may have been but they were certainly not disappointed after all the win gave Cowbridge 26 points. The Division One bottom half now reads Llandysul 155, Bronwydd 147, Cowbridge 145, Maesteg Celtic 128 and Skewen 109. Cowbridge have to play the bottom two and Bronwydd as well as Briton Ferry Steel so there is no room for any complacency to creep in. There is too an administrative googly that might emerge. It is possible that three sides rather than the normal two will be relegated from the South Wales Premier League back to their feeder league, in this case the South Wales Cricket Association. The reason for this is that the numbers teams from the SWCA and South East Wales Cricket League in the pan South Wales Premier League must be kept in balance between east and west. With three SWCA teams occupying the three bottom places as things stand today Cowbridge would be in trouble. So there is much to play for at Skewen next Saturday.




Cowbridge 2nd XI’s defeat, away against Llanelli last Saturday was only their third of the season but may be a crucial one as they now sit third in the table, 15 points off a promotion spot.

Having been invited to bat first on their home patch, league leaders Llanelli set Cowbridge the formidable total of 206 for victory in 40 overs, courtesy of a patient 90 not out from the opposition’s opening batsman J. Verma. His innings, whilst not without a moment of controversy when a clear stumping was turned down, was the backbone to the home side’s innings and his early dismissal may have seen a different outcome.

The Cowbridge bowlers started well, with the ever reliable and economical John Gilbert bowling his 8 overs for just 8 runs and at 56 for no wicket after 20 overs, the visitors seemed to be in a commanding position. However, with wickets in hand and a strong batting line up, assisted by some indifferent bowling, Llanelli were able to increase the tempo during the second half of their innings and amassed a further 150 runs in the next 20 overs.

The Cowbridge fielders stuck to their task admirably during the onslaught and a mention should be made of Kevin Roberts, Umar Rafique and particularly Dave Gascoyne all of whom took outstanding catches but it would be fair to say that at the half way point, the home side held the upper hand.

Needing in excess of 5 runs per over from the outset, Cowbridge needed to get off to a fast start so in the absence of ‘run machine’ Jonty Webb (who is still recovering from a broken nose sustained last week) the hard hitting Navid Younas was promoted up the order to open the innings. Unfortunately, his early dismissal put Cowbridge on the back foot but a partnership of 47 for the next wicket followed and at 50 for 2 off 13 overs, the visitors were in a position that gave them ‘hope’ rather than expectation of a victory.

It is fair to say that much depended upon Cowbridge’s ‘find of the season’, Dave Gascoyne. To date, he has amassed 550 runs at an average of 68.75 and another high quality performance was required from him. Dave did indeed play another fine innings scoring 77 but when he was dismissed in the 25th over with the score on 112, Llanelli were firm favourites to win the game.

Despite valiant efforts from Rob Thomas, Kelvin Roberts and stand in captain Ian Evans, Cowbridge’s innings petered out as wickets fell regularly in the run chase and the visitors finished on 145; losing by 60 runs.

The end of the season is fast approaching with only four games remaining so the team will be hoping to return to winning ways and stay in the hunt for a promotion spot when they welcome Kidwelly to the Athletic Ground next weekend.


Saturday 23rd July 2016


Match was losing draw against Llanelli



Cowbridge 2nd XI secured another fine win when they entertained bottom of the table Llandysul at the Athletic Ground. Having been asked to bat first on a good looking wicket and in beautiful sunshine, Llandysul’s total of 96 all out was never likely to be enough given the home team’s formidable batting line up this season.

The opening bowling duo of John Gilbert and young Heath Webb was again economical restricting the opposition to just 39 runs from the first 20 overs, which included an excellent run out by Dr Ian Harris.

The introduction of the wile off-spinners Ian Evans and Navid Younas provided no let-up in the pressure and as they toiled away, with the aid of some quality fielding and three outstanding catches by Jon Smart, Navid Younas and Dave Gascoyne, Llandysul lost their next 7 wickets for just 26 runs. A final wicket partnership of 30 enabled the visitors to reach their total of 96 all out before an early tea was taken at 2:45pm!

Ian Evans was the pick of the bowlers taking 4 for 21 from his 8 overs, with Younas picking up 2 and youngsters Will Harris and Edward Lewis tacking one a piece.

In reply, the reliable opening pair of Dave Gascoyne and Jonty Webb set about the target in their usual confident fashion putting on 31 before Jonty had to leave the arena and make a trip to A&E! A blow to the face, resulting in a broken nose and two very black eyes, is probably a lesson for all (particularly youngsters) that a helmet is not a bad piece of equipment to wear!

Despite the loss of Jonty, shortly followed by Gascoyne for 25, Cowbridge chased down the visitor’s total within 26 overs courtesy of fine batting performances from Edward Lewis (24) and Navid Younas (29*) giving Cowbridge a maximum 20 points from the game.

The Second XI now sit joint second in the league with Briton Ferry Steel just four points behind league leaders Llanelli and the team, along with their band of loyal supporters will be hoping for another fine performance when they visit Stradey Park next Saturday.


Saturday 16th July 2016


Saturday 9th July 2016



A magnificent 123 by Michael Lloyd and a rock like 52 by Tom Merilaht set up a Cowbridge total of 216 which proved easily enough to play Dafen out of any chance of victory as the home side reached 116-9 when the Umpires took the teams off.

‎That decision from the Umpires may well have cost Cowbridge outright victory as there were still three overs to play. It certainly cost the 1st XI five points on the winning draw differential. Nevertheless a fourteen point haul was a useful reward; but the prevailing mood was one of utter frustration as to Cowbridge's feeling the conditions had not worsened, but had remained pretty well the same throughout the Dafen innings. One senior cricketer described the Officials' decision as an 'utter shambles'.

Cowbridge have played some good cricket in the past month with only one reverse to the Champions elect. A top half position remains possible.

The match on Saturday exemplified the way the team has begun to gel together. Merilaht continues to be the anchor allowing ‎the likes of Mike Lloyd to play an aggressive game. The attack of Tom Harper and Adam Wood backed up by Sam Russell and Rian Thomas plus quality off spinner Jake George has become a solid outfit. The arrival of Matt Harper as wicket keeper has also been a bonus.

The frustrations of this Saturday for these players will soon be forgotten, but the innings of Michael Lloyd will live long in the memory.




Following a convincing ten wicket win the previous week against Porthcawl due to excellent batting performances from Dave Gascoyne (60*) and Jonty Webb(54*) Cowbridge 2nd XI were hoping for another victory as they hosted Baglan at the Athletic Ground last Saturday.

A win was achieved although it was not as straight forward and all the team spirit was required to get the team over the line.

Batting first, Cowbridge scored 200 for 3 wickets in their allocated 40 overs. Again Gascoyne and Webb opened the innings and put on 100 before Jonty was dismissed for a well-made 46. Gascoyne continued his excellent form making a flawless 108*and was ably supported by Matthew Keating who made an elegant 24 runs. Their partnership, followed by contributions from Rob Thomas and Joe Russell enabled Cowbridge to reach their competitive total.

In reply, Baglan got off to a solid but quiet start as John Gilbert and young Heath Webb bowled accurately with the new ball restricting the opposition to just 45 runs from the first 15 overs. However, the momentum soon shifted in Baglan’s favour as some indifferent bowling and fielding followed and after 30 overs with only one wicket down, the opposition had progressed to 150.

The game was in the balance but the dismissal of Baglan’s opening batsmen for 104 courtesy of an excellent catch by Guy Parker, followed by two excellent run-outs by Keating and Russell left Baglan needing just 25 runs from the final four overs.

This proved to be 5 runs too many and Baglan finished on 195 for 6 giving Cowbridge their 7th victory of the season and now sees them sitting in third place, just four points behind the league leaders Llanelli.


Weekend 1st to 3rd July 2016


The three day Cowbridge Festival of Cricket began on Friday with a deluge and ended in glorious sunshine on Sunday.

In the meanwhile the much anticipated fixture against MCC was abandoned just after lunch as the ground failed to dry, the 1st XI lost a home game to league leaders Tata Steel but on Sunday to coincide with The President’s Lunch the Club defeated Bridgend by a large margin with Adam Wood scoring a magnificent 128 not out. On the Saturday the 2nd XI’s good form continued with a the wicket win over Porthcawl.



On Friday despite the efforts of Tim Williams and various bits of equipment ranging from the basic to the specialist the ground failed to dry sufficiently and there was an atmosphere of sadness that twice in two years the MCC fixture had to be abandoned.


By Saturday the conditions were playable and the visitor’s total of 170-9 was a target Cowbridge fancied getting. Tom Merilaht had got 4-50 and Adam Wood in miserly mood had conceded just 14 off ten overs. However a wholly disastrous start with the team’s top order gone for just four runs. Yet Captain Chris Willey (46) and wicket keeper Matthew Harper (31) put on 64 for the sixth wicket and while they were there there was just a sneak of a chance of pulling off an unlikely win. It was not to be though and after the fall of the belligerent Harper the end came quickly. That Tata lead the Division is no fluke, they are already deserved champions elect. Nevertheless Cowbridge can still achieve a comfortable placing and while currently hovering above the relegation zone significantly they are not under the red line.



The 2nd XI travelled to Porthcawl, restricted the home side to 119-6 off 40 overs and knocked the runs off without loss. Easy as that!

Cowbridge under the benevolent direction of Jon Smart have found the formula for success in the 2nd XI this year. However the key has been the fusion of the opening pair of former Captain Jonty Webb and newcomer David Gascoyne. On Saturday it was Webb 54 and Gascoyne 60 who made the total seem small.



The fun of President’s Day was the background for one of the Club’s most popular players, Adam Wood to score a fine 128 not out against visitors Bridgend in a total of 246 –8. The visitors wilted under the Wood onslaught and when the time came for them to bat they were never the races and were all out for 118.


Saturday 25th June 2016



Cowbridge CC’s 1st won their second successive game on Saturday at Bronwydd to lift themselves out of the SWCA Division One relegation zone. And what a game it  was. With three balls remaining Cowbridge needed two to win with nine wickets down. A scampered single levelled the score, a dot ball heightened the drama but a sneaked single from the ever cool Joe Russell was enough to get the lads home.

The picturesque Bronwydd ground nestles in the Towy Valley north of Carmarthen; it’s idyllic and even has a steam railway next to the ground. If it’s not quite the Settle to Dent line it remains a charming place to visit for steam enthusiasts and cricketers alike.

Cowbridge skipper Chris Willey won the toss and invited the home side to bat. An excellent spell from Jake George (3-13 off 10) was well backed up by Thomas Harper (2-24) and towards the end of the innings by Rian Thomas (2-23). The home total was 155 all out in what proved to be a crucial 49 overs allowing Cowbridge 51 to get the target.

At first it seemed the target would be easily achievable. Tom Merilaht and Chris Willey (34) getting the score to 77 before Chris was bowled. Tom ploughed on but wickets fell as the score mounted. By the time Merilaht left the scene for a well played 53 there were  14 needed with three wickets left. Some lusty blows from Matthew Harper (13) and brother Thomas (12) got Cowbridge to the verge of success but a run out left  them needing composure as the final moments were played out. It was Thomas Harper who took the plaudits for his fearless hitting towards the end and eventually  getting the team home.

Cowbridge’s good form in past three weeks gives hope for a decent finishing spot.




Saturday 18th June 2016



This was how things were meant to be. The talented Cowbridge 1st XI batting line up putting the opposition to the sword and emerging victorious against all comers.

Readers will be aware that until Saturday it had not worked out quite that way. By week eight  Cowbridge were at the wrong end of the table and were to welcome the top side, Briton Ferry Steel, but it was Cowbridge who emerged victorious with a stunning victory by ten wickets.

The win was largely engineered by the combined talents of Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht who chased down a target of 156 with few scares. Ben took 149 balls to get his hundred, hitting a six and thirteen fours, but the contribution of Tom was no less significant as the solid rock around whom the Cowbridge batting is built compiled a supporting 47 not out. That the target was of the order that allowed the Cowbridge batsmen to take their time was due to the best bowling and fielding performance of the season. There were good spells from Ben (1-15 off 10 overs), Tom (1-23 off 10) and Jake George (1-21 off 10) as Briton Ferry Steel struggled on a drying pitch. Thomas Harper and Adam Wood both chipped in with wickets and the total always looked somewhat below par.

The win puts Cowbridge up a place and in touching distance of the next two sides. For Captain Chris Willey the win brought welcome relief. ‘I can enjoy tonight’ mused the Skipper as talk turned to maintaining this form for the rest of the season.




‘Gutted’ was the single word that described the feelings of the Cowbridge 2nd XI after a narrow defeat by Briton Ferry Steel on Saturday. To lose by just five runs was a huge disappointment for the Skipper Jon Smart and his team. But what a game it was.

Batting first on the oddly shaped ground, long and very narrow, the home side got to 148-8 off 40 overs. The wickets were spread about but the top performance came from the talented Naveed Younis who took 2-11 off his allotted eight overs. Given the damp conditions it was thought that Briton Ferry Steel had probably got a score close to par.

As ever Jonty Webb and David Gascoyne opened the batting but at 19 Gascoyne fell for 10. Naveed Younis (28) and Jonty took the score on to 56 before Webb departed for 18. Gradually Cowbridge edged towards the target but none of the batsmen could play the match winning innings required. There were good efforts from Rob Thomas (26)and Stuart Ferguson (16) but wickets fell steadily as well. At the end agonisingly five short there was Jon himself and John Gilbert unable to get over the team line. A great game but one that will be remembered more fondly by the home side.

The result saw Briton Ferry Steel gain on Cowbridge who lead SWCA Division Five by five points from Briton Ferry Steel. There are worse positions to be in but what a difference a win would have made.


Saturday 4th & 11th June 2016 Reports

Whatever the prognostications for 2016 were for Cowbridge’s 1st and 2nd XI’s nobody envisaged that the 1st XI would be struggling in Division One, while the 2nds would be proudly at the top of Division Five of the SWCA.

It’s not that the Club is short of talent, it’s just proved difficult to get a full strength 1st XI onto the field. This inconsistency of availability has made for some weekly head scratching for Skipper Chris Willey, who has stuck to his task with commendable positivity.

The game against Skewen on the 4th June was really one the lads would have expected to win. What they wouldn’t have expected was to be chasing 273. After a good start, getting to 58 quickly talisman Ben Wright went to the sort of catch the fielder has probably never taken before and will never take again for 45. Jake George and Mike Lloyd both got to 22 but at 115-5 the writing was on the wall. Victory was now impossible maybe there was the chance of a draw. As the next five wickets then fell for just five runs it was a downcast XI that were forced to look at the reality of a lowly league position.

The game on the 11th June followed a similar pattern as Cowbridge bowled first and Maesteg Celtic ramped up 283-2. Once again this was always going to be a big ask and sensibly Cowbridge’s batsmen led by Tom Merilaht with 58 not out batted out the draw. This was much better but a further step up will be needed on Saturday’s visit of league leaders, Briton Ferry Steel.

Meanwhile the 2nd XI are going very well under Jonathan Smart. Their recent game on the 4th June against Kidwelly 1st’s saw them reduce their hosts to 132-9 off 40 overs with two wickets each for John Gilbert, Ian Harris and Ian Evans. In reply Cowbridge cantered to victory passing the target five down, David Gascoyne 63 and Naveed Younis 39.

This Saturday (11th June) the Maesteg Celtic 2nd XI were the visitors. The Llynfi Valley team scratched together a modest 136 after suffering at the hand of Naveed Younis (4-17) and Heath Webb (2-16). The run machine that is this season’s newcomer David Gascoyne took his seasonal total to 269 from five innings getting 48 this time in the company of Robert Thomas. Rob’s 51 was scored with the same elegant style that has featured throughout his career; indeed it was a treat to watch such batting in a 2nd XI fixture from David and Rob.


Saturday 28th May 2016



On a day at Gowerton, when Cowbridge‘s 1st XI were facing a heavy defeat; the combined efforts of school students Matthew Keating and Rian Thomas, plus Swansea University mathematician Joe Russell, served to frustrate the home bowlers to the extent that an unlikely draw was secured.

Having posted a gargantuan score of 293-7 and having Cowbridge at 41-7 it seemed that an early beer was waiting for the home XI.

Not so thought Matthew and Rian, who proceeded to put on 61 for the eighth wicket. Rian faced 73 balls and made 35 before falling at 107. However the slim figure of Joe Russell proved well up to the task of staying with Matt as they ground out the heroic draw. The support of Rian and Joe had been essential, but it is Matt who deserves the main plaudits. Facing 112 balls, that’s more than eighteen overs on his own; Matt’s obduracy was a model of the defensive innings. That Matt only scored 16 in his innings was irrelevant while his obduracy increasingly frustrated the home side. That they resorted to sledging our youngsters, who incidentally were not perturbed in the slightest, served to suggest that here was a team who had rather taken victory for granted.

 Earlier in the match Cowbridge had started well reducing Gowerton to 79-5. Chris Willey took three and Jake George conceded just 25, both off ten over spells. The day belonged to Matt Keating though and maybe Cowbridge will turn a corner and start climbing the Division One table from now on.



Meanwhile the 2nd XI cannot climb to a higher position in Division Five as they currently lead it. A fine win for Jonathan Smart’s men by 5 wickets over Llanelli was a just reward for a good all round performance. John Gilbert conceded just four runs from his eight overs and Heath Webb picked up three wickets which served to put Llanelli on the rack at 35-6. Good hitting from the visitors’ No 5, Westcott who made 54 put a total of 135 on the board. Ian Harris took 3-11 towards the end of the innings. With Jonty Webb in pre nuptial form the target was soon reached in 35 overs with the former skipper left on 83 not out.

Another good win then for the 2nd XI, who travel to Kidwelly next Saturday, when the meet the opposition’s 1st XI


Saturday 21st May 2016


Saturday 14th May 2016


Both Cowbridge Cricket Club’s First and Second XIs suffered near misses at the weekend, with the First XI agonisingly seven runs short at Llandysul, and the Second XI fifteen runs light against Drefach.

The fixture at Llandysul saw the home side bat first and post a score of 189-8. There were two wickets each for Sam Russell, his brother Joe, as well as for Tom Merilaht.

When Cowbridge came to chase; progress was initially upset by the loss of Mike Lloyd (13) at 21, but Jack Harris (14) and skipper Chris Willey (26) started to put Cowbridge into a strong position.

An accomplished 36 from debutant Alistair McAlpine (36) upped the tempo, but when the final surge for victory was needed, Tom Merilaht was run out for an anchor man 66, and much to their frustration the lads could not get home, failing by seven runs.

A losing draw and some good performances suggest that the much anticipated return of a couple of experienced players will see Cowbridge First Xl begin to turn this sort of game into a victory.

At Cowbridge, the visitors from Drefach put together a useful total of 195-3 off the 40 overs played at this level.

At 98-I, Cowbridge appeared to be moving towards their third win of the season, only to lose the prolific David Gascoyne for 51.

Thereafter; despite the contributions of Jonty Webb and Rob Thomas, the chase petered out ending on 180-7.

As there are no draws in Second XI cricket, the lads suffered defeat.


Saturday 7th May 2016




Saturday 30th April 2016



Stepping up to the First Division of the South Wales Cricket Association was always going to be a significant challenge for Cowbridge - and so it proved last Saturday.

In the opening fixture, the First Xl had to settle for a draw at Tata Steel CC, after the hosts posted 274-4 and Cowbridge replied with 208-8.

Taking the field under new skipper Chris Willey, the First Xl were under pressure as Tata worked the ball around and without taking undue risks and amassed a very healthy total.

The pick of the Cowbridge bowlers were Sam Russell (2-45) and Jake George who bought control to bear on proceedings.

It’s not often that such a big score is chased successfully in mid summer, let alone a bright but cold day at the end of April.

Although at 42-I things were proceeding satisfactorily, but the fall of Ben Wright (28) made the target seem a long way off.

Cowbridge’s subsequent batsmen; Mike Lloyd (63), Jack Harris (47) and Chris Willey (38) all batted well and the target became increasingly academic. It was a nervy end that saw thee wickets fall for the last 10 runs, but Cowbridge eventually got to safety.

It is early days yet, but the visit of Dafen to the Athletic Ground on Saturday already assumes some importance in the club’s challenge for the promotion spot.




The Second XI, under Jon Smart, enjoyed an eight wicket win over Porthcawl.

The visitors batted first and were dismissed for 114. Cowbridge’s opening bowlers John Gilbert and Heath Webb both took three wickets. Will Harris and Lewis Sevenoaks bowling also caught the eye before Ian Evans claimed two more to wrap up the innings.

Debutant David Gascoyne (67 not out) and Jonty Webb (38) put Cowbridge well on the way to victory, which was achieved in the 20th over.

It was an excellent victory that suggests that after couple of difficult seasons, the Second XI might be a force in the months to come