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2017 Match Reports

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First XI Review of the Season - 2107


The cricket season that has just passed will be remembered for some extraordinary happenings, some real progress in many areas but ultimate disappointment that Cowbridge are still seeking a place in the Premier League.

Early in the season there were signs that might have suggested it could be Cowbridge’s year. A successful chase to get in excess of 300 against Gorseinon and a victory against subsequent Champions Llanelli where the visitors lost their last five wickets for just sixteen with only twenty six needed were notable. However perhaps it was the way the young seam attack controlled the Aberdare run chase spoke for the way the team was developing.

Then came July and the optimism was doused by bad weather. Two matches were lost to the elements when others played and rain interruptions against Merthyr handed them a huge tactical advantage which they took. Then came the game at Gorseinon with the unprecedented incidents which led to defeat. By the end of the month thoughts of promotion had passed. As it happened August saw a couple of fine wins but three weeks from the finish it was clear that Cowbridge were destined to finish up in mid table.

However some of the individual performances were extraordinary. The runs came from the old school pals Ben Wright (847 at 60) and Tom Merilaht (783 at 87).  Both scored hundreds and set records but Ben’s 217 not out at Briton Ferry Steel and Tom’s 121 not out against Gorseinon will live longest in the memories of those privileged to watch them.

With the ball Rian Thomas and Sam Russell took 18 and 15 wickets respectively and Nick Wood performed consistently throughout the season and might have been rewarded by taking more than the 13 wickets he took and added experience and quality to the middle order. The emergence of Heath Webb was also a major plus as the youngest member of the seam attack claimed 8 wickets but never looked out of place. The brother combination of wicket keeper Matt and bowler Tom Harper were also invaluable. Matt’s diving catch at Aberdare and Tom’s brilliant effort to start the Llanelli rot were out of the top drawer. Another who was a great team man who never gave less than 100% was Joe Russell.

The Captain, Chris Willey also enjoyed a good season. Leading with a relaxed but clear minded style Chris has assumed the leadership of the 1st XI with aplomb. Chris proved himself adept at juggling his bowlers as the ten over limit created difficult choices as to who should bowl whem. Chris’ season with the bat was a success too.

Finally a big thank you to Hugh Williams, the Club’s Chairman, who spent many hours tending the square assisted by Jamie Miller; additionally the lads also owe a great debt to Sara Russell who in so many ways is the heartbeat of the club. Not just as a scorer of singular accuracy, but in so many other ways the 1st XI relies on Sara. This small support group is a vital component and the lads are very lucky to have them do so much for them.

The reports during the season have referred to the advances to the environment around the Club. The new benches and shed are examples of a policy of improvements, but the most visually striking will be the return of the refurbished Fred Dunn Memorial Gates. These will be ‘re-opened’ on the 29th September with a morning of talks in the Pavilion and a Service of Dedication of the new Memorial to those members who died in conflict. More will be written about this event nearer the date.


Saturday 26th August 2017



A second hundred in consecutive weeks from Ben Wright saw Cowbridge 1st XI to victory by eight wickets over Llandysul at The Athletic Ground on Saturday in the last league fixture of the season. As it happened there was little on the game in terms of league positions as Llanelli had all but won the Dan Radcliffe Cup the previous week and the promotion to the Premier League while Merthyr and Briton Ferry Steel were relegated. Maesteg Celtic and Swansea Civil Service will take their places in Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association. This is not to suggest that this was any sort of dead rubber fixture as Llandysul might have been relegated at the start of proceedings.

Under a typical late August watery sky Ben’s innings on Saturday was a little different in tempo to that of the previous week. Set 211 for victory Ben and Tom Merilaht (50) took Cowbridge to a match winning position before a couple of cameos from Chris Willey (21) and Jack Harris (12 no) helped Ben to get Cowbridge over the line.

That Ben was in control mood was perhaps a little disappointing to the supporters who might have expected similar fireworks to the innings at Briton Ferry Steel. However cricket is not like that. Time, chance and circumstance all come into play in determining batsmen’s approach and Ben quite rightly had his team hat on. As long as Ben batted the overs Cowbridge would win and so it turned out.

Earlier in the day there were good figures for young seam bowler Heath Webb who picked up 3-24 which helped confine  Llandysul  to a total of 210 – 6. This was probably always twenty short but the visitors stayed up so they were not too downcast as the teams enjoyed a convivial evening in the bar afterwards. As one of their more experienced players explained ‘to beat Cowbridge you need to Ben or Tom early, if you fail you lose’. It might have been stating the obvious but it was a succinct analysis.

Ben’s innings the equal of another club record of sorts as he joined only two other Cowbridge cricketers, certainly since the Second World War, to score hundreds two weeks running. Nobody has quite been able to affirm with any confidence when Norman Gauntlett achieved this feat but enough remember it that it must be true. The other batsman, Andy Daniels did it as Skipper in 2008 against Mumbles and Dafen.

Ben and Tom were able to steer Cowbridge to victory as the pitch was once again very good and the outfield as good as any in in club cricket. Perhaps the pitch was lacking a bit of the pace and carry that had been evident earlier in the season but it was reliable and easy to bat on.




Llantwit Major Cavaliers beat Cowbridge 2nd on Saturday.  It was Cowbridge’s final game of the season and third consecutive defeat.

Cowbridge were third in the league table before these defeats and in with a decent chance of promotion, but mid-table is what they’ve had to settle for.

The main problem has been the batting and this was the case again at the weekend.  Although captain David Gascoyne managed 47, no one else posted a substantial score.  Guy Parker’s 18 not out, being the next best contribution.  Cowbridge, batting first, spluttered to 114 for 7 in their 40 overs.

Cowbridge’s bowling has not been a problem this season and the bowlers were the reason that Llantwit found it difficult to get to their target.  All seven bowlers did a decent job, but opening batsman Kieran Davies made a patient 50 not out, helped by 34 from Dom Henson.  

The story could have been different had Cowbridge fielded better, but some bad luck and a number of sloppy mistakes took the pressure off the batting side.

A flurry of wickets towards the end for Ian Evans, who has finished as Cowbridge’s leading wicket-taker this year, made the game exciting, but the Cavaliers reached their winning target at 115-4 with more than three overs remaining.


Saturday 19th August 2017



At around a quarter past four on Saturday afternoon everyone at Briton Ferry Steel’s unique cricket ground stood from the cricketers to the tea ladies, from the drinkers to the mildly curious joined together to applaud Cowbridge’s Ben Wright as he left the field having scored a quite remarkable 217 not out of a total of 305-1.

Ben’s innings was the cornerstone of a victory by 68 runs but for once the result hardly seemed to matter. What will live long in the memories of those who were privileged to witness it were the eight sixes and twenty seven fours that went to make up the total. The grace and beauty of Ben’s innings was best appreciated by the man who was at the other end for much of the onslaught, Tom Merilaht.

Tom later told of being Ben’s partner on this record breaking day using words such as ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’ and ‘unbelievable’. Tom, the rock of the Cowbridge batting himself, suggested it was Ben’s timing on the day that was close to perfect. Every single one of the one hundred and sixty three balls he faced seemed to hit the middle of the bat, every ball was treated as if Ben were its judge. Indeed as they were dismissed with the tenor of punishment they deserved it seemed The Lord Chief Justice himself could not have punished the attack with more severity. Although there was no was no sympathy for the bowlers and fielders at least they were privileged to have seen one of the great innings of the modern era in the South Wales Cricket Association.

 When Ben first walked onto the Cowbridge Athletic Ground as a very small boy to play mini rugby he knew nothing of cricket. Coached by the likes of Jon Smart and the late Peter Hardwick his cricket talent soon shone through.  His professional career with Glamorgan was highly distinguished and this return to the hometown colours has been well documented. All along however there has always been a sense of natural timing  his to play as a cricketer or indeed as Cowbridge RFC’s full back.

 That Ben now holds the individual Club record score is very fitting. That he now holds the first wicket record of 258 with his old school friend Tom is even more so. The two of them also hold the record for the second wicket having put on 187 together against Porthcawl in 2014.

Of course Ben is one the very best cricketers to have been closely associated with the Club and the innings last Saturday does little to alter his place in that firmament. The previously held record was by the one season Captain, Neil Brand whose 166 at Hills Plymouth in 2015 which was an epic in it’s own way. However this was a triumph for a home product and it was all the more special for that. To find the only known other Cowbridge cricketer to score a double hundred you need to go back more than a century to Billy Russell who scored at least two of them. However Billy’s innings were not strictly for Cowbridge as the team he represented was Mr E H Ebsworth’s XI which was more akin to country house cricket than the modern First Division. Whether the previous record holder was Neil or Billy hardly matters, there is no doubt who holds it now.

Buoyed by a fine tea there could be no room for complacency as Cowbridge began their second innings task of bowling out their hosts. The Steel ‘s Jason Hughes held the reply together with a fine 129 off 131 balls but it was Sam Russell who bowled with pace and precision to take 5-55 who set up the win.

In 1992 Cowbridge’s 1st XI played a Welsh Cup round at Briton Ferry Steel.  Cowbridge were then in their first season of the SWCA and were obligated to compete in Division Five. The Cowbridge XI scored 158 all out and were beaten by nine wickets. As the crestfallen XI trudged from the field a little old man called across to the vanquished team from the Vale of Glamorgan ‘Welcome to the First Division, Cowbridge!’ Sadly the old guy was not there on Saturday to see the world stood on its head. Briton Ferry Steel slips out of the First Division, Cowbridge live to fight another day.

Looking at the placings in Division One it looks as though Llanelli will be crowned Champions next week. Briton Ferry Steel will be joined by either Llandysul or Merthyr dropping to Division Two with Maesteg Celtic and either Morriston or Swansea Civil Service coming up. Coming back to the SWCA from the Premier League will be Ynystawe. Cowbridge will finish in the top half should they defeat Llandysul in the season’s final fixture at home next week.

Ben is a special person as well as a fine cricketer. His talent has never been in doubt and his place in the way Cowbridge record books is testament to it. If the 217 not out is ever to be beaten there is only one man who might do it.




A week of heavy rain gave way to bright breezy conditions for this Division 5 clash against Maesteg Celtic. With a drying wicket and a slow, moist outfield batting promised  to be a challenge, and so it proved. Batting first, Maesteg made cautious, slow progress against accurate bowling by Gilbert and Hordley, the latter removing both openers including the dangerous Morris neatly caught behind by Gascoyne for 21. Jones (19) and Richards (37) dug in to rebuild, blocking over after over of tight bowling by Naveed, Sian Russell and Parker. Their departure, with Maesteg on 75 for 4 heralded a spectacular batting collapse. The main tormentor was Will Harris. Bamboozling the batsmen with his mean line and subtle variety of pace, Harris took four wickets for just 12 runs in his five overs. Good catches by Webb, Hordley and Gilbert, together with some inspired all round fielding helped immensely to keep up the pressure as evergreen Ian Evans mopped up the tail with a quick brace, leaving the home side just 102 to win.

The home side’s hopes of a quick victory were, however, stifled first by being locked out of their changing room for almost an hour, and then by a curmudgeonly Maesteg attack which restricted the scoring to 20 for 2 off 11 overs, Colston removing both Naveed and Webb. Gascoyne (34) led the recovery but was brilliantly run out going for a sharp single. Thereafter it was a tale of batting woe as successive batsmen succumbed to the stranglehold of accurate bowling, attempting to pierce the close ring of keen fielders. Ciroco took three wickets, Morris two as only one batsman reached double figures.

Cowbridge go into their last game on Saturday away at Llantwit Major looking for a good win to lift them to third place in the table.


Saturday 12th August 2017



August is meant to be a lot of things, the climax of the cricket season among them. Test series are won in August. County Championships also; however if you turned up at the Athletic Ground last Saturday you would have thought the season for the SWCA had passed as Cowbridge played Dafen.

There was a feeling of a friendly fixture as the league points hardly mattered but Dafen found enough energy to defeat a holiday-hit Cowbridge XI by nine wickets.

There was a good start from the home team with Tom Merilaht and Ben Wright putting on 55 for the first wicket.

Thereafter the batting crumpled to 96 all out which did scant justice to the decent pitch and beautifully mown outfield. Dafen ran up the total without undue alarm.

Still it was pleasant to watch while it lasted Once again the splendid new benches were well used. The second of which commemorates The Reverend Owen Jones and Bingo’ was quite obviously quite a character.

Born in West Wales Bingo was educated at Llandovery College and Jesus College, Oxford. However he did not have an unblemished undergraduate career having been ‘rusticated’, sent down for a week, on two occasions.

The first was as the result of unruly behaviour in a railway carriage the second for travelling in First Class when in possession of only a Third Class ticket.

Nevertheless Bingo came to the Vale as Rector of Llansannor and Penlline. The ruffians of Llansannor soon learnt what muscular Christianity meant as Bingo used his boxing skills to keep the pub orderly.

Bingo’s favourite pub though was The Duke of Wellington which was run by his friend and another who made a big contribution to Cowbridge cricket, Arthur Spencer.

It was not unknown for the cricketing cleric to enjoy a quiet hour or so there when Cowbridge were batting.

‘Bingo’ was a very good cricketer. He had played for the South Wales team, a precursor of Glamorgan, as a fast bowler once taking 5-34 at Lords against MCC.

He must have been dismayed on arrival at Llansannor that there was no ground other than the school field in the district.

The Cowbridge XI had no home at the time but help was at hand with the arrival in the district of E H Ebsworth whose wealth was vital in the creation of the current ground.

Bingo’s enthusiasm and Ebsworth’s money made a powerful alliance and it was fitting that the first game at the ground in May 1896 was between Xl’s raised by the two main protagonists.

Later, in 1906 Bingo created the Cowbridge Wanderers CC to complement the private Xl of Ebsworth.

The Wanderers eventually took a lease on the Ebsworth ground and then metamorphosed into the current Athletic Club to purchase the ground from the Scotland bound squire. Bingo was at the centre of these developments and his wisdom shines through the minute books.

That great character Selwyn Davies recalled Bingo shouting at him for dropping a catch on his debut, buy yourself a bloody breadbasket boy’. Hearing a clergyman swear was something of a shock!

Nevertheless a contemporary of Selwyn’s, Ralph Bird wrote that Bingo was great fun, wore unusual apparel and used unorthodox strokes.’

The Rev’d Owen Jones was a cricket enthusiast and enthused others. It is entirely fitting that his contribution to cricket in Cowbridge is marked by the naming of a bench.

One can imagine Bingo and Arthur Spencer sitting on it and chatting as many do on a Saturday evening. They would have undoubtedly have felt entirely at home even allowing for the passage of time.




With only three games remaining before last weekend, third-placed Cowbridge travelled to second-placed Kidwelly.  Only two teams can win promotion, so this was an important contest.

Kidwelly won the toss and asked Cowbridge to bat first.  In their forty overs, Cowbridge managed 162 for 6 wickets; a respectable score, but not a big one.  David Gascoyne (76) and Jonty Webb (36) put on an opening partnership of 128 runs in 30 overs, but Kidwelly did well to stop the middle-order batsmen from accelerating the run rate at the end.

Kidwelly got off to a good start, as Cowbridge’s opening bowlers took time to find their rhythm, but a fine catch by Lewis Sevenoaks settled the fielding team.  Sami Khan then began to run in to form and he clean bowled batsmen one and three.  

Cowbride’s bowlers now began to exert pressure, as the run rate for Kidwelly moved up to five an over.  The Kidwelly batsmen started going for big hits and Cowbridge had several chances of catches, but failed to take them and the runs started to flow again.  Only four runs were needed from the final over with Kidwelly having lost eight wickets.  Three runs were scored off the first three balls, so all the Cowbridge fielders came close to prevent a single.  Bowler, Mike Hordley, then bowled two fine deliveries and no runs were scored.  One ball to go, one run needed, the Kidwelly batsmen swung hard and managed to lift the ball over the fielders for the vital winning run.

After such a fine match, cricket was the winner.  

Cowbridge seconds now need to win their final two games if they are to have any chance of winning promotion.


Saturday 5th August 2017



August can be a strange month for club cricketers. For those teams still fighting out promotion and relegation issues each match, indeed each session is vital. For the rest who still have three games to go the knowledge that they will play in their current division next year is enough to take away some of the bite that existed in the earlier part of the season. So it is at Cowbridge where neither promotion nor relegation was very likely last week and is now after a losing draw against Aberdare which garnered nine points it is now mathematically impossible.

It would seem that Llanelli are likely to be champions, they sit at the top with a full win points lead over Bronwydd. The relegation issue was confirmed with Briton Ferry Steel certainly and probably Llandysul or possibly Merthyr dropping down. It’s interesting to wonder what might have been had happened if Cowbridge had played the two bottom teams earlier in the second half of the season and the rain fallen elsewhere. However such pondering will wait until the season comes to its conclusion.

On Saturday Cowbridge entertained Aberdare and on a drying pitch and slow outfield the visitors totalled 182 for 9 off their 50 overs. Pick of the bowlers were the spinners, Nick Wood with 1-19 off his ten overs and Tom Merilaht 1-29 off his allocation. Rian Thomas, Sam Russell, Heath Webb and Tom Harper form a phalanx of young seam bowlers but the slowness of the pitch was such that it was never likely to be their day. Tom Wood will remember the match though as two spectacular pieces of fielding brought about two run outs.

Despite being 29 for 2 at one point Tom Merilaht (74 not out) and Nick Wood (46) added 104 to steer the home side to safety without undue alarm. Cowbridge finished on 153 for 4.

The fin de circle atmosphere seemed to pervade the whole ground on Saturday. The regular supporters were in place but seemed more interested in chatting than concentrating on the action while using the new seats.

 Three splendid new teak benches are now in place on the patio and provide a touch of class. Only one of the three has so far been named and is in memory of Colin Adams who was Secretary from 1938 to 1983 and President from 1983 to 1992. Colin or ‘CH’ as he was best known was born in Llanblethian and educated at Cowbridge Grammar School. For most of his career CH worked in the old Rural District Council office in Eastgate where his duties there seemed to fit nicely around his cricket administration ones. CH ran the Club for all those years from the back seat of his motor car but efficiently managed all that it entailed including the getting up of teams; the buying of cake and alongside his pals Mervyn Evans and Selwyn Davies, there was little that went on that CH was not at the centre of.

Over the next three weeks the other benches and a splendid bell will each be named in memory of a Cowbridge stalwart and be profiled in this column.




On their previous encounter in 2017 Cowbridge 2nd XI lost to Porthcawl and with the league points having reached a critical situation the return match would be an important occasion. It was clear from the outset that the weather and the Porthcawl pitch would play a significant role. There was a strong gusting wind across the pitch and the bounce was not only very different at the two ends, but also unpredictable.

Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field first. Openers David Gascoyne and Jonty Webb, limited by the conditions and tight bowling, made an uncharacteristically slow start, but one which controlled the accurate bowling of the Porthcawl openers until Webb, suffering from a 4am return from Mallorca, was LBW for 8. Gascoyne was joined by Naveed Younas whose big hitting style unsettled the Porthcawl bowlers who were now becoming seriously erratic. After Younas’s departure for 26, Jo Russell joined his captain and demonstrated a different method of attack using his reach and agility to punish balls outside the off stump which might well have been wides. He made a valuable 19 runs before being dismissed and was then ably followed by Alistair Lawson who, using his knowledge of local conditions contributed a useful 13 runs and Ian Evans a valuable 16 not out. Gascoyne was eventually dismissed for 43 after the fielder juggled the ball for long enough for him to reprise his whole innings. This was sadly one of the few catches that Porthcawl hung onto. Cowbridge finished on 139 for 7 wickets from their allocated 40 overs; a total that seemed about par given the difficult batting conditions.

In reply, Porthcawl were in trouble from the outset. With wind conditions of this nature and a difficult pitch John Gilbert’s accuracy, 2 for 29, made scoring difficult and risky, whilst at the other end Jo Russell, 3 for 7 from his 8 overs, bowled with venom and accuracy. Porthcawl’s innings slowly fell away as the required run rate steadily increased. Ian Evans with excellent figures of 4 for 16, and Naveed Younas with 10 runs from 4 quick fire overs of accurate spin continued the good work. Sian Russell returned excellent figures conceding only 8 runs from 5 overs, a real testament to her accuracy and Will Harris picked up a wicket resulting in Porthcawl being all out for just 92. There was a great contrast between the fielding of the two teams. Porthcawl had put down most of their catches whilst Cowbridge took theirs. Gascoyne took three behind the stumps and Lawson took another when a ball was hammered to him at chest height. Both Sian Russell and Jonty Webb took good clean catches in the deep, whilst Jo Russell also took three including a huge skier at deep long-on.

It was good natured match on a beautiful day, and what is more Cowbridge won handsomely. The Second XI who are now third in the League and just three points behind Saturday’s opposition, travel to Kidwelly Town to play the game that will no doubt decide who will obtain the second promotion spot this year.


Saturday 29th July 2017



If April is meant to be the cruellest month Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI might be excused for raising an eyebrow. At the start of July the team were looking like potential challengers for promotion to the Premier League. One defeat and second place in the South Wales Cricket Association led their supporters to think maybe this would be the year.

April cruel? July has been horrid. Matches rained off when others played, a game lost when their innings was curtailed by rain, extraordinary happenings off the field disrupting a run chase…and a top player banned for three weeks. It’s all been more traumatic than anyone could have imagined.

The fixture last Saturday was against Llanelli who had been beaten at Cowbridge earlier in the year. In the mean while the West Wales outfit have grown more effective and emerged at the table top.

On Saturday at Stradey Park, the home side totalled 217-6, a satisfactory total and one that would be around what would be regarded as par. Cowbridge started off briskly but with a rather makeshift look to the batting it was Tom Merilaht with 50 not out in 50 overs that kept the Cowbridge innings together.  In company with Nick Wood ‘the rock’ of the Cowbridge batting held firm and a draw was achieved. Cowbridge never really challenged and finished at 95-5 slipping down the table to mid table.

The Cowbridge Cricket Club would like to comment on the issue which caused the banning of one of her players for three weeks with a further nine suspended. However, when the facts of the issue and the punishment handed down have been put before a number of legal figures there has been unanimity that had a court of law been involved then there would not have been a case to answer.

The SWCA may behave as they wish but it is frustrating that they have chosen to do so in a way that appears to be removed from natural justice.




Cowbridge 2nds entertained 2nd placed Drefach in a game they simply had to win to keep any hopes of promotion alive.

Stand in Captain Dave Gascoyne kept up his 100% record by again losing the toss! The Drefach Captain eagerly asked Cowbridge to bat 1st on an understandably damp and green wicket, ideal for seam bowling.

The highly rated Cowbridge opening pair of Webb and Gascoyne yet again got Cowbridge off to a solid start, batting sensibly early on against the new ball in difficult batting conditions, gradually increasing the run rate until Webb was dismissed for 39 with the total on 128.

With the help of Naveed Younas, Mike Hordley and Joe Russell, Gascoyne increased the run rate until he was eventually dismissed for a superb 95, caught on the boundary unselfishly attempting to achieve maximum batting points for his team. Gascoyne has already amassed 700 runs this season, almost double any other batsman in the Division. Playing shots all around the wicket he was particularly severe on any short pitched bowling.

Given the wet conditions Cowbridge finished on an impressive 187-3 after their allotted 40 overs.

In reply Drefach got off to a slow but solid start with some accurate bowling by Umar Rafique and Joe Russell. When both bowlers took a wicket Drefach’s Captain and best batsman, who was averaging over 200, arrived at the crease.

Sian Russell was introduced into the attack and soon dismissed the dangerous Drefach Captain and with Ian Evans taking a further 2 wickets for 5 runs off 4 overs Drefach slumped to 71-5.

Unfortunately the heavy rain that had been forecast arrived to end the game. Cowbridge however took the lion’s share of the points due to a far superior run rate. This meant that Cowbridge move up to 4th position in the league only 4 points behind 2nd placed Drefach.

Having narrowly missing out on promotion last season Cowbridge are back in the mix with only 4 games remaining. An away trip to local rivals Porthcawl waits next week, with Cowbridge hoping for a 3rd consecutive win.


Saturday 22nd July 2017



Meteorologists often point out that our weather seems to fall into patterns that go on for weeks. They tell us that it’s all to do with air currents at high levels that are reacting to small changes in temperature in the oceans.

The Cowbridge cricketers must be wondering quite what similar small changes have caused a four week pattern which has served to greatly diminish their chances of winning Division One of The South Wales Cricket Association. A home loss to Merthyr on Saturday probably turned what had become an unlikely task into an improbable one.

The pattern of success that the 1st XI enjoyed for the first half of the season has turned to one where it seems nothing goes quite right. An abandonment, when others played, unscheduled interventions by unruly spectators, and last Saturday a shower caused the curtailment of the Cowbridge innings to forty from fifty overs just serve to suggest that the benign conditions have been replaced by malevolent set.

Batting first at Cowbridge the 1st XI made a solid start expecting to bat their full allocation. Indeed before the rain came Cowbridge were looking good to get somewhere over two hundred which would probably been enough. But at an hour into the Cowbridge innings rain arrived and while never heavy there was an interruption of about an hour which caused the problem. Quite rightly Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht had batted with the caution of a pair expecting to bat for fifty overs. The tempo of such batting is very different to doing it for forty.

Nevertheless it seemed that the 181-3 Cowbridge scored was a decent enough total. Certainly there was a feeling that the game could be won. The innings had seen Ben Wright lead the way with 69 having started with Tom Merilaht (22) and then later Jonathan Hubschmid (45).

To their credit Merthyr were positive and amidst mounting excitement among their supporters it seemed that the Cowbridge total was becoming increasingly within their grasp. Despite the Cowbridge conviction that Nick Wood had one of Merthyr’s leading protagonists caught behind but the appeal did not convince the Umpire to raise his finger and it started to seem that just one good over was what Merthyr needed.  They got it. Twelve off an over with still 32 needed changed the balance of advantage. Sixteen runs were still needed off sixteen balls but as it turned out the visitors only needed ten and Cowbridge succumbed to their third defeat of the season.

Afterwards the amongst the Cowbridge supporters there was a realisation that Merthyr had pulled off another victory over Cowbridge when it mattered. In the 1980’s Cowbridge had travelled to the valley town for the season’s penultimate fixture. The skipper of the day lost the toss; Cowbridge found themselves batting on a wet but drying track and lost by nine wickets. The significance then was that which ever team had prevailed on that day would have been promoted to Division One of what was then the Welsh Club Cricket Conference. Not many recall that day but the Captain remembers well the realisation that in losing the toss that the game and promotion were probably gone too.

Nevertheless there are still five games to go this season and it’s time to observe that old cliché that the 1st XI need to treat every game as a Cup Final. It may seem unlikely that Cowbridge can get back into the fight at the top as next week’s away opponents, Llanelli, now lead Cowbridge by 54 points but there are a theoretical 270 available. All we need is the Pacific to warm up a bit!




The onset of the school holidays ravaged the squad available for Cowbridge Cricket Club Second eleven.  Taking only eight players to compete against the eleven of Felinfoel in Llanelli, the odds were stacked against them.  Two of the eight being over age sixty and one, Wales Ladies star Sian Russell, being only fourteen.  Happily, of the eight players, six could bowl and one was the wicketkeeper and stand-in captain, David Gascoyne.

Felinfoel batted first and managed only 137 runs in their 40 overs, thanks to accurate bowling by all six bowlers and brilliant fielding by Sian’s older brother, Joe.  With only eight players, there were lots of open spaces, but Joe covered the ground like a gazelle and also took a brilliant, one-handed catch.

Starting the reply, Cowbridge stalwart Jonty Webb batted very sensibly, mindful of the fact that his team had only eight batsmen, not eleven.  Ably supported by the bigger hitting Navid Younas, they gave Cowbridge a marvellous start, taking the score to 81 before Navid was caught.  Webb, joined by Joe Russell, then made short work of reaching the target of 138 with six overs to spare, finishing on 59 not out.

Back in the changing room after the game, The Magnificent Eight reflected on the strong team spirit that had carried them to victory and on their inspiration, convalescing captain, Jonathan Smart.


Saturday 15th July 2017


Saturday 8th July 2017



On Saturday morning Division One of the SWCA still seemed to be a battle between Bronwydd and Cowbridge.

By dusk an unexpected set of results, including a Cowbridge loss at Gorseinon, saw the two league leaders joined, and in Cowbridge’s case overtaken, by two more teams, Llanelli and Aberdare.

However, fortunately for Cowbridge, Bronwydd also lost; the difference of 16 points over Cowbridge has not altered.

As it is only one team to be promoted, the arrival of two more teams in the mix is making it a second half of the season of some tension.

Having defeated Gorseinon by nine wickets early on, the Cowbridge XI travelled to the Swansea suburb to play on the small, but well prepared ground where Glamorgan star Anurin Donald began to learn cricket.

And it all seemed to be all going to plan with Ben Wright, Jonathan Hubschmid and Sam Russell reducing the home side to 80-5.

This was to prove to be as good as it got for Cowbridge as Ashley Pass (124 not out) and Daniel Allen (69 not out) put on 187 for the sixth wicket and took the home side to 267-5 at the end of the 50 overs.

It was quite an onslaught but although Tom Merilaht was caught for 22 with Ben Wright and Jonathan Hubschmid attacked the bowling with the relish of a pair of lions after their prey.

All seemed well and at 151-1 there were solid grounds for optimism, but like the first innings the game suddenly turned around in the home favour.

Ben and Jon were dismissed for 77 and 66 and the Cowbridge charge faltered.

That Cowbridge only managed to score eight more runs once Jonathan was out at 181 was a capitulation of embarrassing proportions.

Nevertheless, as the other results were working in Cowbridge’s favour, it was a missed opportunity rather than a catastrophic defeat.

It really is all to play for and now each and every game takes on added significance. Next the first XI travel west again, this time to Gowerton. The only prize is for coming first in the league and the lads will be well aware of that when they take the field at Victoria Road.





Cowbridge Cricket Club Under 9's continue with their festivals on Sunday mornings with much success. Three weeks ago the squad travelled to Cardiff C.C. to play in a tournament that included teams from the hosts Cardiff Blacks, St. Fagan's Stags and Barry Athletic.

The coach had to juggle a team of 8 for each game from a squad of 12 that travelled which gave each player 2 matches. First up were the Stags where only 2 wickets were taken in a high scoring game. Starting with 200 runs and losing a wicket costs 5 runs, with wides and no balls costing 2 runs each Cowbridge scored 227 in their 8 overs.

Much stronger batting side from the Stags saw them conclude on 263 runs.

In the next game against Cardiff Blacks Cowbridge managed to get 2 wickets in a total of 272. Try as they might and without losing a wicket the batsmen found the going hard against accurate bowling of the home team and finished on 258.

There was no success in the final match either as Barry Athletic won by 11 runs in a 10s'side game.                     

On home ground in the next festival the team restored some pride winning all three matches against St. Fagans Cubs by 31 runs Harvey Rees top scoring with15 runs; Whitchurch by 11 runs with Finlay Thomas scoring 12 runs; and Penarth by 2 runs in a very tight finish with Freddie Valencia contributing 8 vital runs.

On Sunday July 9th the team travelled to Whitchurch to play 3 of the stronger teams.

First up was the Stags of St. Fagans. Harvey Rees with 17 runs and Joe Phillips with 9 set a score of 227.

St Fagans looked on course to overhaul this total until the 2 Osians, Davies and Bowen took 2 wickets each in the last 2 overs to win by12 runs.

Success followed in defeating Cardiff Blues by 22 runs. Captain Theo Walker with 21 runs and Joe Phillips with 12 runs were instrumental to the teams success.

In the last game against home team Whitchurch, outstanding running between the wickets saw the team amass 252 runs with Theo and Harvey contributing the most.

Good bowling by the whole team restricted the opponents to 223 and a winning margin off 29 runs.

The next tournament is at Whitchurch on July 23 and final Festival at Radyr on the 30th July.


Saturday 1st July 2017



The showdown clash between the South Wales Cricket Association Division One leaders and second placed, Bronwydd and Cowbridge, ended as a damp draw with the visitors from Carmarthenshire needing twenty five runs in four overs with seven wickets in hand. That the game was unfinished due to persistent light drizzle was perhaps to Cowbridge’s good fortune as the best the home side could hoped for was a winning draw but the hot money would have been on a visitors’ victory. The way the points were then distributed meant that the visitors gained three points on Cowbridge to continue to lead the Division One table with a margin increased to sixteen points. Bronwydd now have 202, Cowbridge 186 and Llanelli 180.

On a day that would inevitably have a significant bearing on the final outcome of the two clubs’ quest for promotion first blood went to the visitors as they won the toss and inserted Cowbridge. The home side was without Tom Merilaht for once as he was attending a wedding while Bronwydd’s leading bowler David Dunfee had left them in midweek to join Dafen. This toss was a considerable advantage in the tactical by plays. Bat first and it’s much more difficult to win than if you are chasing. Unfortunately on a pitch that was the most bowler friendly of the season the much vaunted Cowbridge batting failed to get on top at any time.  Five batsmen all got into the twenties but none could go on to build an innings that could provide the base of a substantial total. That Cowbridge amassed 179 all of seemed to some a decent effort but to many of the supporters it created an uneasy feeling that it might not have been enough.

When the visitors came out after tea there were two early wickets for Cowbridge paceman, Rian Thomas. At 5-2 the Cowbridge supporters were in a happy mode but solid if unspectacular progress from Willis and Furneaux who added a stand of 102 meant that by the time the rain began to fall the visitors had put themselves in a position to win the game.

It was brave of the Umpires to take the sides off with just four overs to go but it was the correct decision. A sheen of dampness had begun to make fielding difficult, it had ceased to be a fair game. Indeed there were a number of dampness related fielding errors on Cowbridge’s part to assist Bronwydd’s quest.

Now there are eight matches left which allows room for plenty of drama before the season ends. Cowbridge still have every chance and while disappointed that they failed to beat Bronwydd and go top there is the fact that had Bronwydd emerged victorious they would by now have one hand on The Dan Radcliffe Cup. If Cowbridge can continue to win they still need another club to beat Bronwydd. There remain 224 points available for each side so it remains a very tight situation.

The success of the 1st XI has generated a support that was augmented on Saturday by John and Martyn Bevan who were both Cowbridge cricketers of distinction. John, or ‘JB’ as was universally known was a fine bowler who took in excess of one thousand wickets for the Club in a career that lasted from 1957 to 1983. Martyn is remembered as a gifted all - round sportsman who in addition to his prowess as a cricketer was full back for Cowbridge when the XV played Pontypool in the WRU Cup in 1978. It was a great pleasure to welcome them both back to the Club.

Nobody said it would be easy to win The Dan Radcliffe Cup but it’s still there to be won. The potential disaster that defeat would have been was avoided even if the rain played a big part. So the 1st XI go to Gorseinon next week fully aware that they need to concentrate on their own game and not worry about Bronwydd. It promises to be a fascinating and tense eight weeks.




Cowbridge 2nd XI suffered a disappointing and comprehensive 7 wicket defeat last Saturday away against Baglan. Having been asked to bat first a total of 102 for 9 from their allocated 40 overs was never likely to be enough unless their bowlers could produce something truly remarkable after the tea break – unfortunately they could not.

Having lost Dave Gascoyne, caught behind to the first ball of the game, the top order struggled to score and seemed content on merely trying to see off the opposition’s opening bowlers. Out of the top seven batsmen, only Alistair Lawson (13) was able to make double figures and when he was dismissed in the 20th over, Cowbridge were in a mess at 50 for the loss of 6 wickets. Ian Evans (20) and Guy Parker (24) managed to put together the only partnership of note during the latter stages of the innings and Cowbridge were grateful for this along with ‘Extras’ that top scored with 26 runs in the under par score.

After tea, Cowbridge set about the impossible and there appeared to be a glimmer of hope as Baglan lost three quick wickets for just 23 runs. Whilst Ed Lewis was quite hostile, it was Mike Hordley who bowled accurately and deservedly picked up three wickets for just 8 runs from 5 overs. Unfortunately it was at this point that things changed for the worse. Baglan’s M. Harris set about Cowbridge’s bowlers with sustain and smashed an unbeaten 83 runs from the next 10 overs which included 9 fours and 5 sixes whilst his batting partner was content on blunting the Cowbridge attack scoring just 8 runs in their partnership.

Whilst the defeat is most disappointing, no serious damage was done Cowbridge’s quest for promotion as the other top sides in the division also lost. The game will be forgotten about quickly and a return to winning ways hoped for as the second XI welcome league leaders Gorseinon to The Athletic Ground on Saturday.


Saturday 24th June 2017



As the England cricket team have Jerusalem as their hymn / anthem maybe Cowbridge should settle on ‘Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?’ after the 1st XI’s own batting anchor, Tom Merilaht held fast and scored 130 in on Saturday to guide Cowbridge to overhaul the impressive Llandysul home total of 269-5. Tom’s innings, this time a league career best, saw Cowbridge’s 1st XI home by six wickets.

The long drive to Llandysul has its reward in that it is an excellent high scoring ground but at the toss there was no consensus of what sort of score represented par, i.e. the score that would probably give both sides a chance to win. Llandysul looked far from a side wallowing in the lower reaches of the First Division. Gary Williams made 137 not out while Jonathan Hubschmid 2-58 was effective and paceman Rian Thomas and off - spinner Nick Wood contained well.

Whichever way you dress it up it’s a big ask to chase 270 in 50 overs to win a game. Chasing that sort of number requires some risk from one end and safety at the other, indeed to win requires one of the openers to bat most of innings. But then that’s what Tom likes to do

The start was not great as Ben Wright was run out for 11 but after that blow Tom and Jonathan proceeded to bat sensibly and the next wicket came with the score on 152.  Cowbridge had enjoyed  a  good start and he was followed by Jon who seemed set to get his first hundred for the Club only to fall for 77. Nevertheless the anchor was wasn’t moving, it was still there. As it turned out after the Dark destroyer, Jonathan was out Cowbridge’s batsmen seemed unsure of the best way to accumulate runs. However the team’s basher, Matt Harper’s and the solidity of lusty hitting Matt Harper (23) the wicket keeper and Nick Wood’s patience that saw to it that victory was achieved. Yet although it was a great team effort it is a game that will long be remembered as Tom’s triumph.

It’s not the former six times skipper’s way to be flamboyant,  Tom is the sort of cricketer who never gives his wicket away, never gives any succour to the opposition that he might present them with a chance. While sometimes statistics can create a false impression of value to a side in Tom’s case they tell you almost everything. To date this opening batsman has batted in league cricket 127 times, scored 5309 runs at 50.99, including posting 41 fifties and now six hundreds. In short Tom’s weight of runs has been the most important aspect of Cowbridge’s competitiveness in recent years.

In terms of value to his Club Tom sits with the batting legends of Cowbridge cricket. Thomas Babbington Jones, our first first class cricketer, Billy Russell who once scored 201 not out in an afternoon and played more than a hundred times for the then Minor County of Glamorgan, L E W ‘Tip’ Williams, John ‘JA’ Davies and Norman Gauntlett to name but a few. Remember too that had the regulations been different when Tom was playing for Leeds/Bradford MCCU he would have half a dozen ‘first class’ appearances to add to having played for Glamorgan 2nd XI and Wales Minor Counties.

Cowbridge’s unbeaten run is now eight weeks. The last defeat was way back at the first game, against league leaders Bronwydd. It is probably the fixture that will determine the Club that will win The Dan Radcliffe Cup. All support will be welcome.




A convincing 79 run victory over local rivals Llantwit Major Cavaliers last Saturday boosted Cowbridge 2nd XI to third place in the league table and just one point off a promotion spot at the half way stage of the season.

Having lost the toss and been asked to bat first, Cowbridge openers Jonty Webb and Dave Gascoyne hoped to continue their fine form from the previous week in good batting conditions. However, it was not to be as the main contributors this week to the home side’s total of 189 for 3 from their allocated 40 overs was a sublime 107 runs from the ever reliable Dave Gascoyne and a maiden half century from Alistair Lawson.

Having lost Jonty for 9 with just 13 runs on the board from the first 5 overs, Gascoyne and Lawson batted with sense beyond their years and blunted the opposition’s hostile bowling attack. With both running between the wickets like two scolded cats and dispatching any loose deliveries to the boundary, their partnership of 171 runs in 30 overs was one to be admired and appreciated by the home supporters who had congregated on the patio in the mid afternoon sunshine.

Despite both being dismissed in the final overs, their partnership enabled Cowbridge to post a more than competitive total of 189 and one that seemed defendable after the tea break.

In reply, Llantwit Major needed to get off to a good start if they were to overhaul the home side’s total and the opening pair of Dawson and Hughes made their intentions clear from the outset. Mike Hordley and the ‘evergreen’ John Gilbert bowled well creating several opportunities but after 10 overs, the opposition’s openers had put on 40 and seemed intent on continuing with their ‘no-fear’ approach to batting.

However, Hordley’s persistence paid off and he was rewarded with two wickets in the final overs of his spell before Ian Evans was introduced into the attack along with thirteen year old Lewis Sevenoaks who replaced Gilbert at The Bear Field end. With the opposition needing to continue to keep up with the required run rate, their middle order looked to be aggressive however; a truly remarkable bowling performance from the young left arm seamer halted them in their tracks. Lewis picked up two wickets in his first two overs without conceding a run and with Evans taking two himself; Llantwit Major had collapsed to 61 for 6 from 18 overs.

Llantwit’s chance of winning from this position was remote and Cowbridge were now in a position to secure a win and obtain maximum bowling points if they could bowl the opposition out.

Will Harris replaced Evans and bowled well conceding just 8 runs from his 4 overs but it was Navid Younas (3 for 23) who finished off the tail in the 35th over assisted by some excellent catching by Gascoyne and Ian ‘Chopper’ Harris.

After the game, whilst enjoying a quiet pint in the bar, it is usual to mull over the events of the preceding five hours and discuss the result and individual performances. Again Dave Gascoyne’s name featured given his fine 107 runs and four dismissals behind the stumps but it was young Lewis Sevenoaks who got the plaudits of the team and their supporters having finished with the excellent bowling figures of 5 overs, 2 maidens, 3 wickets for just 6 runs – well done Lewis!

The second XI travel to Baglan on Saturday hoping for another win that might get them into one of the two promotion spots – fingers crossed!


Saturday 17th June 2017



The 1st XI extended their unbeaten run by beating Briton Ferry Steel by nine wickets last Saturday. The win has moved Cowbridge up to second place but as it’s only one to be promoted to the South Wales Premier League so the real issue is how far ahead of Cowbridge are the leaders, currently Bronwydd and they have a thirteen point advantage.

However there are two hundred and eighty theoretical points available to both and Bronwydd have to come to The Athletic Ground. Can this be the year that Cowbridge finally achieve the Club’s ambition of playing in the top rank once again? If Saturday’s win showed anything it confirmed that Chris Willey’s men are in excellent form.

With the ball ‘The Dark Destroyer ‘, Jon Hubschmid claimed 2-33 and with the youngsters Rian Thomas ( 3-20) and Sam Russell (2-19) chipping in the Steelmen were never able to get any momentum slumping to 170-8 off the fifty overs. The cognoscenti took the view at tea that BFS were at least fifty short of a par score.

They were probably correct as on another excellent Cowbridge pitch there was never a doubt that the home side would end up victorious and although Ben Wright was lost for 40 at 66 Tom Merilaht (86) and Jon Hubschmid (36) saw the victory was secured.




On a glorious sunny afternoon, ten-man Cowbridge won a thrilling victory against a useful Maesteg side. 

Maesteg won the toss and elected to bat on a decent wicket.  Cowbridge were one short of fielders, due to a car breaking down en-route and it soon showed, as the Maesteg openers kept finding gaps in the fielding side’s defence and boundaries flowed.  Maesteg were 50 without loss after only ten of their allotted forty overs and both opening batsmen went on to score fifties.  It was feeling like a long, hot afternoon in the field for Cowbridge, but then young Will Harris, one of the Under 13 squad made the breakthrough and suddenly Cowbridge’s bowling and fielding began to apply pressure.  Will Harris got another wicket when David Gascoyne stumped the Maesteg number three.  More wickets followed as spin-twins Ian Evans and Navid Younas used their experience and Mike Hordley bowled a tight spell to finish.  Special mention goes to Tom Wood, who showed huge potential in his four overs too.  Maesteg finished on 193 for 5 wickets and they seemed confident that they would be able to defend this total. 

It seemed that Maesteg’s assumption was correct when tight spells from their opening bowlers kept Cowbridge to only 23 runs in the first ten overs.  A particularly well-controlled spell from Elliott Colston made the experienced opening pair of Gascoyne and Jonathan Webb struggle, but as the bowlers and fielders tired, the tide turned.  First Gascoyne and Webb started to run a series of sharp, but well judged singles and the innings gained momentum.  Then Gascoyne hit a flurry of boundaries, including a six over cover point.  Webb showed his class and sound temperament and Cowbridge were in charge!  By the time that Gascoyne was out for 85, Cowbridge were well on top.  Navid Younas joined Webb at the crease and the two guided the team home to victory by nine wickets with three overs to spare, Webb finishing on a season best 91 not out.

The win moves Cowbridge to fifth out of ten in the league, but within striking distance of second placed Llantwit Major, who they welcome to The Athletic Ground next Saturday.


Sunday 11th June 2017


On a windy but dry Sunday morning the Cowbridge Club U9's continued their successful start to the Cardiff and Vale U9's festivals. The team of 12 boys travelled to Radyr to play in a 4 team tournament.

First up was the team from Pentyrch and captain Theo Walker elected to bat first with the captain showing the way with 11 runs in the pair’s 2 overs. Other scorers were Wil Rees 8, Harvey Rees 16, Freddie Valencia 6 and Joe Smith 4 in a total of 262. Tight bowling by the whole team who only conceded 27 runs and taking 2 wickets saw the team home by 43 runs.

Four changes were made for the next game against Cardiff Blues to enable all 12 players to have 2 games. Batting first again the team scored 37 runs off the bat and only throwing away 2 wickets in a total of 242 runs. Again tight bowling by the team restricted the opposition to 224 runs and victory by 18 runs. Wickets by Osian Davies, Will Rees, Joe Phillips and Sam Boyce were crucial in this victory. 

With all the stars resting for the last game the younger boys took on the might of the home team. In a close run game where runs from the bat were few, with Ollie Morgan top scoring with 6 in a total of 241. Tight bowling accounted for Radyr to lose 5 wickets taken by Freddie Valencia, Osian Bowen, Dylan Kitchen, George Morgan, and Lloyd Morris to attain a 9 run victory.


Saturday 10th June 2017



No matches in Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association took place last Saturday as rain made play impossible. The league table is therefore unchanged in so far as the differentials between the teams are concerned.

After seven rounds of fixtures Cowbridge retain third spot with leaders Bronwydd thirteen points ahead. With twenty eight points available per game and eleven matches to come there is time enough available to claim the top spot.




The weather was the winner last Saturday as the rain that was forecast finally arrived at The Athletic Ground shortly after tea resulting in the match between Cowbridge 2nd XI and Kidwelly Town 1st XI being abandoned.

Kidwelly Town won the toss and chose to field first, a decision that came as no surprise given the used, tired looking wicket and damp outfield. The usual pairing of Dave Gascoyne and Jonty Webb opened the innings and battled hard in the testing conditions putting on 45 before Webb was dismissed for 7 in the 15th over. Alistair Lawson (5), Heath Webb (4) and Navid Younas (0) all found the conditions difficult and the trio were dismissed within the next ten overs leaving Cowbridge in the precarious position of 94 for 4. The resolute and charismatic Gascoyne meanwhile played sensibly during this period and having passed 50 for the third time this season, there was still hope that a defendable total could be reached.

However, his dismissal for 64 put a stop to the boundary scoring and despite valiant efforts from Sami Khan (16) and the lower middle order, the home team could only muster 136 for 8 from their allocated 40 overs.

In reply, in light drizzle and fading light, Kidwelly Town got off to the worst possible start losing one of their opening batsman in the first over to the young and hostile Heath Webb. Unfortunately it was not long before the rain became heavier and more persistent and the sensible decision to abandon the match was made with the opposition on 7 for 1 from 3 overs.

With only one other game played in the Division, this ‘no-result’ did no damage to the team’s league position and they remain in fourth place when they travel to Maesteg Celtic on Saturday hoping for better weather.


Saturday 3rd June 2017



A hard fought winning draw at Aberdare helped Cowbridge close the gap to between them and the leaders, Bronwydd which is down to just thirteen points. This was a match that saw the four young Cowbridge seamers take their lead off Jon Hubschmid (3-43), and come of age as a unit. The youngsters got the upper hand when it mattered with Sam Russell (0-37), Tom Harper (0-36), Heath Webb (1-15) and Rian Thomas (3-49) backed up by wicket keeper Matthew Harper show how they have evolved into a potent force. A similar force has swept through cricket in the Cynon Valley and those who had not been to Aberdare’s home ground, The Ynys, before were to find out.

Cricket is perhaps not what Aberdare is most well known for. Musical connections would possibly trump bat and ball especially as the composer of the Welsh national anthem is buried in the town. A contemporary of James James was Hubert Parry who is best remembered as the man who set to music William Blake’s poem Jerusalem. This hymn is now the official anthem of the England and Wales Cricket Board and while it was a seemingly ‘establishment’ sort of choice Blake was a radical in asking ‘And was Jerusalem builded here in England’s green and pleasant land? ’ he was pondering what sort of world had been created that allowed folk to exist around ‘those dark satanic mills’. Jerusalem it certainly was not but it’s not too fanciful to translate Blake’s mills into the collieries of our own Welsh valleys and indeed Aberdare itself.

In Blake’s day the Aberdare was a teeming hub of humanity, a typical Welsh mining town.  Yet on Saturday, a century and more on, once the clouds had unfolded it was hard to imagine a more pleasant setting for cricket. The Aberdare Cricket Club has been well supported by various re-generation bodies and can boast a sparkling new pavilion and a ground of excellent quality. No winding gear, no tips spoil the view now, just a magnificent backdrop of hill sides to frame the action as hosts and visitors fought out their absorbing draw. Perhaps Jerusalem has now been builded here after all, maybe the cricket authorities got it right in choosing their song.

Saturday’s game though was highly competitive throughout. Cowbridge scored 224 – 5 which local opinion thought was about a par score. There were runs for Tom Merilaht (50), Chris Willey (58), Jonathan Hubschmid (41), Matt Harper (28) and Rian Thomas (19 not out). Like last week against Llanelli it was a good total but not an impregnable one.

Aberdare’s response was impressive with both openers showing they understood the need to establish a base to allow a later attack. However to chase a total of the size Cowbridge had set generally requires someone to get a big score but nobody could. The top five of the Aberdare batting scored 46,49,12,30 and 23. It tells a story of batsmen getting established and then getting out.

The home side were unable to advance their charge was due to the accuracy of the Cowbridge attack which denied the batsmen boundaries and that caused the required rate to rise. As the rate rose so did the pressure and by the time the last over was bowled Cowbridge had secured the winning draw. It really was an excellent all round effort and Chris Willey deserves praise for the intelligent way he organised his fielders and made the bowling changes.

The next three fixtures see Cowbridge play three of the four bottom sides. The first of these opponents is Dafen away next week followed by Briton Ferry Steel and Llandysul.




Following last week’s cancelled match against Drefach, Cowbridge 2nd XI welcomed Porthcawl to The Athletic Ground last Saturday for a mid-table clash hoping to continue their winning home form. However, batting first having lost the toss, the home side only managed to score 150 for 5 from their allocated 40 overs, a total well below par given the excellent wicket and fast outfield. The fact that the margin of defeat was by only one wicket is however testament to the efforts and commitment of the team whilst bowling and fielding.

In the absence of Jonty Webb, Alistair Lawson and the elegant Dave Gascoyne opened the batting and got off to a solid start putting on 30 in the first 10 overs. By the time Lawson (31) was dismissed, the score had progressed to 63 in the 18th over. Although Jon Brazier (2) followed shortly thereafter, there was still hope that a formidable total could be reached as Navid Younas joined Gascoyne at the wicket. Younas (21) helped increase the run rate but when Gascoyne was dismissed for 60 with the total at 110 from 30 overs, much was left to do by the middle order. Michael Hordley, making his seasonal debut, batted well and took the attack to the opposition. His valuable contribution of 18 not out aided by Ian Evans and Sami Khan helped post a victory target of 151.

In reply, Porthcawl got off to a similar solid start and were 31 for 1 from their first 10 overs. John Gilbert was his usual miserly self conceding just 15 runs from his permitted 8 overs but Porthcawl’s opening batsman, R. Parsons, was looking in fine form and needed to be dismissed if Cowbridge had any hope of victory. Michael Hordley was introduced into the attack and delivered what was required. He picked up two quick wickets and with Ian Evans taking one at the other end, the game had swung in Cowbridge’s favour as Porthcawl were in a precarious position at 55 for 5 from 20 overs. However, the pendulum swung again thanks to a fine partnership of 70 by the sea-side town’s middle order pairing of Warren and Driscoll and with 7 overs remaining and just 26 runs required with 5 wickets in hand, defeat was looking the most likely outcome for Cowbridge.

However cricket can be a funny old game and following the dismissal of both Warren and Driscoll, pressure was put on the tail-enders due to some excellent bowling by Younas and Evans, assisted by good fielding. A further two wickets fell quickly leaving Porthcawl requiring 5 runs to win with the last pair at the wicket but unfortunately the final wicket remained elusive and the visitors secured victory in the penultimate over by the narrowest of margins.

Despite the result, no damage was done to the team’s league position and a return to winning ways will be on the menu when Kidwelly Town visit The Athletic Ground on Saturday.


Wednesday 31st May 2017


Wednesday saw the visit of LLantwit Cavaliers to the Athletic ground for a senior T20 match of the Cardiff and Vale mid week league. Young Sam Russell captained the team and elected to bat. He opened the batting with Andy Howells and looked comfortable at the crease in an opening stand of 27. Andy on the other hand should have been caught off the first ball with the old adage of catches win matches true to form. From that moment Andy scored a powerful 108 not out and carried his bat to the end of the innings at 183 for 4. Young Heath Webb, captain of the U15's, scored 17 while debutant Peter Gzonka scored 15.

In reply Llantwit had a disaster of a start losing 3 wickets in no time thanks mainly to Heath gaining 3 wickets for 7 runs. Tight bowling by father Samy khan and son Sohail and Sam Russell restricted the scoring rate, which allowed the captain to give all his team a bowl which was enjoyed by youngster Tom Wood and stalwarts Huw Mason and Peter Cartwright. Chris Anderson kept wicket very well for his first time, and who could deny Andy Harrison an over where he took 3 wickets for 0 runs for one of those days where everything turned to gold. Llantwit completed their innings on 107 for 8 giving Cowbridge a comfortable 76 run victory.


Saturday 27th May 2017


Another absorbing match with a dramatic finale saw Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI defeat Llanelli at The Athletic Ground by ten runs last Saturday.

That Llanelli needed 36 to win in ten overs with five wickets standing only to lose explains their utterly dejected body language at the fall of the final wicket. They sat, they looked, they didn’t move until trance like they went through the motions of handshaking and retiring to their dressing room.

Not that the Cowbridge team minded, the home side had clutched victory from the jaws of defeat and that old chestnut can rarely have been more appropriately applied. Cowbridge had posted a first innings score of 219 – 6 which at tea seemed to be defendable but not impregnable. It had the look of being a tight one.

The Cowbridge score was based on an opening partnership of 113 between Tom Merilaht (28) and Ben Wright (80). The openers were followed by the skipper, Chris Willey (32), Matthew Harper (19) and Nick Wood unbeaten on 32. Importantly as it turned out Rian Thomas hit two fours off the last two balls of the innings and they would have great significance as they as events unfolded.

Llanelli started their chase poorly and a Wright catch, a run out off the Merilaht arm and an LBW put the visitors at 30-3. Victory for the Strady Park outfit seemed a long way off but a fourth wicket stand of 109 between Rees (58) and Devonald (71) brought them right back into the match. Griffiths continued the recovery such that it had become a likely away win. As the final ten overs began even the most die-hard of Cowbridge supporters would have had to concede that the odds were stacked heavily in Llanelli’s favour.

Things can change quickly in cricket matches and the start of the extraordinary collapse of the Llanelli innings where four wickets went for seven runs was a quite outstanding catch by Thomas Harper in the deep off Rian Thomas. Griffiths (40) had gone and that left two new batsmen at the crease. Nothing other than panic caused a run out going for a third run, the throw from the deep fast and accurate from Matthew Harper. Now we had a game on. It was down to eleven needed with two wickets standing.

Now we were in Sir Henry Newbolt country. As in his famous poem Vitai Lampada poem there was a  breathless hush, albeit around the pavilion rather than the Close, eleven rather than ten were needed to win and it was a good pitch rather than a bumping one.  One doubts too that Chris Willey put his hand on Jonathan Hubschmid's shoulder and suggested he ‘Play up, play up and play the game!’ Whatever Chris said it did the trick.

With the tension just as imagined by the Victorian poet Jonathan bowled and cleaned out the No 9, bowled comprehensively. One to get and next ball hit the pad of the last man, the team went up as one and the Umpire raised his finger. Cowbridge had won their fourth game in succession.

Jonathan finished with figures of 4-26 and Sam Russell 3-43. The catching was excellent and ground fielding good. All in all it was a good performance and every one of the XI played a part.

The placings remain as before the weekend  but Cowbridge are now just twelve points behind Bronwydd and three adrift of Aberdare who the 1st XI play away next week.




Sunday 21st May 2017


Cowbridge U9's were again in action at a festival held at Penarth C.C. on Sunday morning. After a late withdrawal of a team, Cowbridge were asked to fill the gap. At short notice a team of 9 was pulled together and a successful was accomplished. Under 9's cricket is a soft ball game batting in pairs and all members bowling an over. The score starts at 200 and 5 runs are lost from the total every dismissal.

First up was the home team Penarth who were put into bat and scored 203 with Ed. Jonson gaining 3 wickets for 5 runs.. Hard hitting by captain Theo Walker 14 runs, Harvey Rees 11 and Wil Johnson 10 ensured a comfortable victory by 64 runs.

In the second match Cowbridge played Cardiff and this game proved to be a close affair. Only 1 wicket was taken by either side with a hard hitting 18 by Wil Johnson proving the difference. Cowbridge scored 255 and good bowling by them restricted Cardiff to 244 - victory by 11 runs.

In the last match Cowbridge played Pentyrch who batted first and scored 221 runs. When it came to he last pair batting there was little in it but Freddie Valencia and captain Theo Walker ensured clear victory with some excellent boundaries in a score of 255.

Cowbridge Team were: Theo Walker, Wil Johnson Ed. Johnson, Harvey Rees, Osian Bowed Freddie Valencia, Osian Davies, Joe PHillips and Finley Thomas


Saturday 20th May 2017



A quite brilliant 84 by Jonathan Hubschmid out of a team total of 118 all out proved the decisive contribution as Cowbridge beat Merthyr by 38 runs on Saturday. Not content with playing an innings which dominated the Cowbridge scorecard Jonathan then bowled out the home tail taking 3-15 to secure the win.

The Cowbridge players were understandably delighted when Jonathan’s search for a new challenge brought him to the Club. As an all-rounder he had been one of Premier League’s brightest stars but no one could have imagined that he would illuminate the Pentrebach ground with an innings  which displayed technique, belligerence and experience in equal measures. In short on a pitch that was barely fit for play Jonathan was pure class.

The value of the innings is obvious when one considers that of the rest of the Cowbridge line up only Matthew Harper with 16 reached double figures. So the visitors had a total of 118 to defend. Not much you might think, and at tea it seemed Cowbridge were on the brink of losing to one of the bottom sides. Such an outcome would have been a severe setback to the 1st XI‘s lofty ambitions. Nothing short of an excellent bowling and fielding performance would suffice.

Captain Chris Willey need not have worried. The bowlers came up trumps aided by some fine catching. Although the home side proceeded at a snail’s pace to 38-1 there was no question of Cowbridge making their task an easy one. Nick Wood was accuracy personified as he claimed two wickets, Joe Russell also picked up a brace and Heath Webb’s first 1st team wicket was as a result of a fine catch by Ben Wright. There was also a great effort to cling on to a catch by Richie Howson. By the time the dark destroyer, Jonathan Hubschmid came into the attack a home victory  was looking remote and thanks to the man of the match the end was not long delayed.

By the time Cowbridge’s scorer, Sarah Russell had logged off her laptop (no old - fashioned pencils and books!) twenty wickets had fallen and only four batsmen had reached double figures. Consider that Jonathan scored more than the entire Merthyr score on his own; it really was an extraordinary achievement. It seems likely to prove to be one of the most important innings of the season.

At the end of four rounds of the eighteen Bronwydd are top with 103 points, Aberdare second with 88 and Cowbridge third on 82.




Cowbridge 2nd XI bounced back from their disappointing defeat against Llandarcy with a comprehensive 10 wicket win over newly promoted Felinfoel last Saturday.

It was the visitors first time playing at the Fred Dunn and upon winning the toss the opposition captain had no hesitation in deciding to bat first and take advantage of a fantastic looking wicket and fast outfield in the glorious May sunshine.

However, 96 all out inside their allocated 40 overs was all the side from West Wales could muster which was never likely to be enough given the strength of the home side’s batting line up.

John Gilbert and Sami Khan opened the bowling and assisted by some excellent ground fielding restricted Felinfoel to just 27 runs from the first 10 overs. In an attempt to increase the run rate the top order became more positive but this merely resulted in the loss of three quick wickets, two excellent catches by Jon Smart and young Will Harris and a superb direct hit run out by Matthew Smart.

Off spinners Ian Evans and Naveed Younas replaced Gilbert (0 for 12 off 8 overs) and Khan (2 for 26) and both continued in similar fashion picking up two wickets between them. At 80 for 5 from 30 overs, Matthew Smart was introduced into the attack in an attempt to remove S. Williams who had progressed to 30 and appeared to be the backbone of the opposition’s batting line up. The change in bowling proved successful as he was soon dismissed and the end of Felinfoel’s innings did not seem to be too far away.

Indeed this was the case. Fourteen year old Sian Russell had replaced Ian Evans at the Bear Field end and bowed accurately. The Welsh International deservedly picked up the final two wickets and finished with 2 for 9, and excellent achievement given it was the first time she had bowled in senior cricket.

Following a superb tea provided by Aroma Café, Cowbridge’s reliable duo of Jonty Webb and Dave Gascoyne opened the batting in search of Felinfoel’s under par total. The pair never looked in trouble and with an array of outstanding shots completed the task within 22 overs, Jonty finishing on 52 and Gascoyne on 42.

This excellent result sees the 2nd XI positioned fourth in the table but there will be a sterner challenge next Saturday as they travel to the league leaders Drefach.


Saturday 13th May 2017



A workmanlike victory by six wickets against Gowerton was somewhat less spectacular than last week’s heroics but was equally valuable as the league table starts to reflect the strengths of the various clubs.

The game was dominated by Ben Wright, Chris Willey, Tom Merilaht and Jonathan Hubschmid. It’s hardly surprising that was the case as all four are cricketers capable of playing at the level the Club aspires to. That said, Gowerton have come to Cowbridge with stronger sides and on the basis of this performance a more together and positive mindset.

The visitors were never able to get any momentum in their innings. With wickets falling at short intervals none of the Gowerton batsmen could dig in and occupy the crease for any length of time. The first five wickets fell at 5, 8, 16, 17 and 25 and that ripped the heart out of the innings. The collapse was due to good opening bowling by Ben Wright (1-26) and Jonathan Hubschmid (2-18). With Gowerton on the rack Tom Merilaht stepped up to show his all-round value to his side with 4-19 as the total stuttered to 90 all out.

For once Tom was unable to hold the innings together but the skipper, Chris Willey with 31 off 55 balls backed up the former Glamorgan batsman Ben Wright whose 44 off 37 balls ensured victory.

At the close of play Bronwydd remained on top of Division One with 77 points while Cowbridge have 55 and lie fifth. The four clubs above Cowbridge all play each other next week while Cowbridge play the bottom side, Merthyr Tydfil. The fixture list provides an opportunity for a further move up the table but given the way the Premier League works only the top side will achieve promotion. It seems likely even now that the excitement will be season long.

As the afternoon developed news reached The Athletic Ground that former Cowbridge cricketer Ian Cran had died in his native Scotland. Ian and his wife Katherine were at the heart of the Club’s activities on and off the field during the 1980’s and they attended the Club’s 175th Dinner. Sadly their plans to visit Cowbridge later in the summer will not happen but ‘Crannie’ will long be remembered as a great man to have in your team.




Cowbridge 2nd XI arrived at Pontardawe Park the adopted home of Llandarcy 1st XI to be greeted by a wet uncovered pitch and an outfield that had been cut, but the grass not collected and therefore resembling a cut meadow.

Winning the toss was therefore crucial, but unfortunately stand in Captain David Gascoyne called incorrectly and the Llandarcy Captain showed no hesitation in asking Cowbridge to bat in these conditions.

The ever consistent opening pair of Gascoyne and Jonty Webb got Cowbridge off to an excellent start putting on 53 for the 1st wicket before Webb was unfortunately run out for 22. Many shots stopped in the long dropped grass, which would have been boundaries most weeks. This was to prove crucial later in the game.

When Gascoyne was caught for a well compiled 44 hopes of a large total faded. Apart from Naveed Younas (17) no other Cowbridge batsman got into double figures as the side limped to 124 for 8 at the end of the 40 overs under difficult batting conditions.

After the tea break the wicket had dried considerably making batting much less arduous.

John Gilbert opened the bowling in his usual miserly fashion giving the Llandarcy openers nothing to hit. He was ably supported by young Heath Webb. Both were extremely unlucky not to pick up wickets in the first few overs with the Llandarcy batsmen miss-hitting aerial shots tantalisingly close to Cowbridge fielders, but unfortunately none going to hand. Gilbert eventually made the breakthrough by bowling the opening batsman.

Ian Evans was brought into the attack to take the pace off the ball and took a wicket with his first delivery, aided by an excellent catch by Anthony Isles in the covers. Evans then bowled the other opener in his second over leaving Llandarcy in trouble at 38 for 3.

A first class spell of off spin bowling by Naveed Younas (4-33) backed up by excellent catching sent Llandarcy reeling at 97 for 9, still needing 28 to win on a difficult pitch with the last pair at the wicket.

However, with a series of unorthodox shorts the last wicket pair somehow built a match winning stand. An excellent game played in a good spirit ended in a 1 wicket defeat for Cowbridge.

After back to back away games Cowbridge 2nd XI look forward to a home game against newly promoted Felinfoel with the hope of continuing their unbeaten home form.


Saturday 6th May 2017



The Athletic Ground has been the scene of some excellent cricket in its long history but there can be little doubt that in scoring 304-1 to defeat Gorseinon on Saturday another piece of history was made.

A less than impressive bowling and fielding display in the first innings by Cowbridge had allowed the visitors to set the gargantuan target of 302. Indeed one former Cowbridge cricketer was moved to describe it as ‘tatty’. However conditions for batting were particularly benign, as the pitch while wearing a greater grass cover than has been the norm in recent years in cricketing parlance played like a ‘road’. This pitch allied to a fast outfield created such perfect conditions for batting that high scoring was always going to be the theme of the day. Yet even allowing for the opportunity to score runs quickly the task that faced Cowbridge at tea was the need to score the highest total ever made in a second innings of a 1st XI league match. In any circumstances it would be a big ask but coming off the back of a monumental collapse the previous week it seemed unlikely to the supporters that there would be cause for celebration a couple of hours later.

To say that the batsmen were sublime might be a small exaggeration, but only a small one. The three who created the victory have class and experience aplenty and they each were very aware that only a positive approach would get them home. As ever Tom Merilaht played role of anchor man, batting through to accumulate 121. Tom’s solidity was essential as it allowed Ben Wright to scorch his way to a quickly scored 86 and at drinks Cowbridge were in the driving seat. Even though the rapid innings of Ben was cut short by an LBW decision   Jonathan Hubschmid then made a classy 69 on home debut. Hubschmid, in particular, was guilty of peppering a home in The Broadshord which was not appreciated by the resident. It was a pity that the gentleman was not aware of what was being achieved as the supporters looked on with growing confidence. The win was achieved in the 46th over and the 1st XI moved up to fifth in the First Division after just two weeks.

For the statistically minded the match produced two records. In addition to it being the highest second innings score since league cricket began it was also the highest match aggregate.  The previous highest chase was 288 in victory over Hirwaun when John Tierney made 144 not out in 1995 and the highest aggregate was 581 when Cowbridge played a Benefit game against Glamorgan in 1994.

While it’s true that further heroics will be necessary for Cowbridge to become Champions it is hard to see any other club having a batting line up capable of scoring the sort of total achieved last week.




Cowbridge 2nd XI’s match last Saturday, away against Gorseinon is one that needs to be forgotten about as quickly as possible. It would be fair to say that it was a one sided affair as Gorseinon excelled in all facets of the game resulting in a 143 run victory.

In splendid conditions, with an excellent wicket and with relatively short boundaries, knowing what a good score would be was difficult to assess so upon winning the toss, the Cowbridge captain elected to field first – the first mistake!

Gorseinon’s opening batsmen played aggressively from the outset and put on 40 for the first wicket which fell to Heath Webb. It was well deserved given the way he had bowled and the opportunities he had created. John Gilbert picked up a second wicket shortly thereafter but from then on it was a case of ‘chasing leather’! Gorseinon’s third wicket partnership of 178 in 25 overs was both brutal and faultless and despite the efforts of the team, the runs could not be restricted. Two wickets were picked up in the opposition’s final over but an excellent innings of 122 not out by the opener Miles Murphy was the backbone of Gorseinon’s formidable total of 246 for 4 in 40 overs.

An excellent start would be required to chase down such an imposing total and with the reliable duo of Dave Gascoyne and Jonty Webb opening the batting there was hope, albeit limited.

Gorseinon’s bowlers bowled well and with some excellent ground fielding they made runs difficult to come by. The openers put on 63 for the first wicket before Gascoyne (40) was dismissed trying to up the run rate and when Webb (17) followed shortly after, victory was no longer a realistic outcome.

No further partnerships or individual contributions of note followed and Cowbridge were dismissed for a disappointing 103 runs in the penultimate over of their innings.

Gorseinon are a good side but so are Cowbridge. The defeat by such a large margin is therefore a hard one to take but it will be forgotten about quickly as the team travel to Pontardawe Park to play Llandarcy on Saturday hoping to return to winning ways.


Saturday 29th April 2017



A winter of anticipation finally ended at Bronwydd on Saturday when the Cowbridge First XI took the field.

To say that it ended in disappointment would be an understatement. The bare details of Bronwydd getting a paltry 111 and Cowbridge failing to get to that total by some margin was not what Chris Willey and his team wished for or expected.

It was hardly a surprise that the pitch at the picturesque Carmarthen venue was soft and slow. Accurate bowling from the Cowbridge attack backed up by keen fielding resulted in wickets falling steadily with a couple each for Ben Wright and debutant Nicholas Wood and three for Rian Thomas.

Nelson, as 111 is known in cricket, is considered an unlucky number. It proved to be that for Cowbridge as the pitch became more difficult to bat on as the innings progressed.

The fact that Cowbridge have probably the strongest batting side in the division counted for nothing as only Tom Merilaht, with a patient 36 not out, made double figures.

Cowbridge were 53 all out and somewhat shell shocked by the traumatic event. It really was a pitch that was not suitable for Division One matches and whoever had batted last on it would have found life difficult.

It would be wrong to read too much into the events of last Saturday. Nevertheless there is clearly a need to shake off the defeat and start the next match with a positive approach.




Cowbridge 2nd XI commenced their league campaign last Saturday with a fine win over Baglan by 15 runs. The visitors won the toss and elected to field first hoping to take advantage of the overcast conditions but a solid opening partnership of 45 between Jonty Webb and Dave Gascoyne was the basis of Cowbridge’s competitive total of 181 for 8 from their allocated 40 overs.

Following the dismissal of Jonty in the 11th over, debutant Alistair Lawson joined Gascoyne and the pair put on a further 48 runs before Gascoyne was dismissed for a fine 61. Lawson batted sensibly for the remainder of the Cowbridge innings and finished undefeated on 54 which enabled the middle order of Navid Younas, Sami Khan and Ian Harris to play freely and make valuable contributions towards the Cowbridge total. A late order collapse in the search of quick runs was slightly disappointing as it prevented the home side from achieving maximum batting points by just 14 runs but at the half way point, Cowbridge were in a relatively strong position.

In reply, Baglan started well despite accurate bowling from the ever reliable John Gilbert and 13 year old Lewis Sevenoaks who were entrusted with the new ball. The opposition’s openers put on 54 for the first wicket which came courtesy of debutant Sami Khan who had replaced Gilbert having finished with the very respectable figures of 0 for 19 from 8 overs.

Baglan put together several batting partnerships but wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the innings which kept them on the back foot but not out of the game. With just 60 runs required from the final 8 overs and with 5 wickets still in hand, Lewis Sevenoaks was reintroduced into the attack and he, along with the wily off spinner Ian Evans, managed to restrict the flow of runs. Sevenoaks picked up two well deserved wickets and with three run-outs thrown in for good measure, Baglan were bowled out in the final over for 166 giving Cowbridge their first win of the season.

The victory gave Cowbridge 19 points out of a possible 20 and sees them sitting at the top of the table after week 1.