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2019 Match Reports

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SWCA Champions - 1st XI Team Members receiving the Dan Radcliffe Cup from Neil Hobbs, Chairman of the West Wales League. Pictured with President Jeff Bird, Captain Chris Willey, Chairman Hugh William and Scorer Sara Russell

Saturday 31st August 2019



Two weeks ago Cowbridge won the South Wales Cricket Association and at noon on Saturday the magnificent Cup, the oldest continuously competed for trophy for cricket competition in Wales, the Dan Radcliffe Cup was presented to Chris Willey by the SWCA Chairman Neil Hobbs.

As the 1st XI had to play Briton Ferry Steel the champagne had to wait.  Having suffered two defeats it was normal service resumed as Cowbridge won with ease having scored 231-5 with Ben Wright making his sixth hundred (141 not out) of the season and Brad Evans taking 3-13 to drop the BFS top order to 3-24 before they  were dismissed for 145 a win for Cowbridge  by 86 runs. Sadly for the visitors while Cowbridge were celebrating they were obliged to pack up their kit in readiness for Division Two next year as the defeat resulted in their being relegated.

Cowbridge followed their usual game plan. On winning the toss the partnership of Wright and Merilaht got things going until the ‘Artful Nudger’ was dismissed for 20. Ben continued to move with caution and aided by the ‘Harare Express’ Brad Evans  the  total gradually began to  look as if it might get to the 190-200 mark. O ye of little faith! As the opportunity presented itself so Ben took advantage. A ferocious assault on the BFS attack took him to the last over needing eight to overtake the club record of 1388 set by ‘The Bouncer’ Mark White in 1988.

Having set a target that was always going to be unobtainable Brad Evans was back in something like fully fit form to knock over the top three BFS batsmen at 3-24. Wickets fell steadily and as the wood pigeons cooed the 2019 season drew to a close.

It was a season that will long be recalled as the one that saw Cowbridge move back into the higher echelon of club cricket. The team was a close bonded outfit and worked with each other and for each other. There is clearly a need to strengthen in parts and the improvements to the ground will surely provide an incentive for quality players to join.

In the past year the rotten leylandii, the decrepit metal screen and the broken posts around the car parks have been removed and replaced. The sightscreens were refurbished and repainted and a splendid new viewing area, ‘The Mound’ has been created. Next to come will be the new Scorers’ accommodation which has been generously funded by a group of Members. This building will be ‘early’ for next season rather than late for the one that has passed to allow for the electrical work to be completed. This will fit with the marvelous electric scoreboard which honors JB, the late John Bevan.

On the field Ben’s partner, Tom Merilaht was not able to get his thousand runs this year but played a vital innings at Tata Steel at the start of the season and ended up fifth in the league averages with 738runs at 56.7 and three centuries. Not a bad season’s work by any measure.

Topping the bowling averages of the league once again was Brad Evans, ‘the Harare Express’, his effectiveness was compromised by an ankle injury but nevertheless Brad took 40 wickets at 8.5 topping the League averages .He was well backed up by Tom Willliams, Sam Routledge, Yodhin Punja who was constrained from bowling fast by injury and Nick Wood as well as Rian Thomas and Sam Russell. Cowbridge will be strengthened next year when Yohdin is off his long run.  

During the season Sara Russell has been efficiency personified despite having had to use a gazebo to operate from. Hugh Williams has combined the role of Chairman with grounds-man and produced excellent pitches. The ground and the team are ready for the challenges of 2020.

Let the last word go to all rounder Tom Williams   ‘I just can’t wait for next year’.




As the 2019 season came to a close Cowbridge made the short trip down the M4 to Skewen.  On a blustery day; and following a sensible discussion amongst the two captains, Cowbridge were given the option of batting first.  Both Alastair Lawson and club stalwart John Brazier started brightly against some spirited bowling.  Alastair went for 12 and following another quick wicket Cowbridge were left teetering at 22 for 2.  Heath Webb then came to the crease and put together a good partnership with John Brazier who was then eventually out for a well-made 27.  Wickets then continued to fall with only Naveed Younis providing any resistance hitting a blistering 35 with a number of big sixes being deposited over the boundary.  In the end Cowbridge finished on 127 off their 40 overs.

To say this total was inadequate against such a strong a side as Skewen is an understatement.  Despite the impressive youngster Owain Scholey picking up an early wicket, Skewen set about overhauling the Cowbridge total with alarming ease.  Skewen cruised past the Cowbridge total in the 18th over without having broken sweat.  And so Cowbridge finished the 2019 season with defeat.

However, there are a number of positives to take from the season.  The quartet of youngsters; Heath Webb, Will Harris, Lewis Sevenoaks and Owain Scholey, all performed well throughout the season and are all real prospects for the future.  The bowling was led by the ever dependable John Gilbert; ably supported by Umar Raffique and Ian Evans along with Joe Russell who captained the side with growing confidence and ability as the season went on.  Most of the runs came from the bats of Naveed Younis, Heath Webb, Alastair Lawson and Jonty Webb with some particular eye catching knocks from Heath and Naveed plus Jonny Napier who unfortunately left mid season.  Mention should also be made of Ian “chopper” Harris who at the start of the season took up the wicket keeping gloves as a novice keeper to then finish the season as the leading wicketkeeper for dismissals in the division, which is a fantastic achievement.  

Thanks must also be extended to those unsung heroes such as Pam Lawson and Eleanor Sevenoaks; whose help with the teas and general organisation has been invaluable, as well as David Webb and John Brazier who performed admirably when asked to step in at times of selection problems.   Finally thanks should go to scorer Jeff Davies, who was ever present each Saturday with his scorebook and pencils, and who the side cannot do without.

So as the door closes on the 2019 season another door opens onto the unknown territory of Cowbridge 2nd XI playing premiership cricket in 2020.   The side knows this will be tough but they should look upon this as an opportunity and a challenge that ought to be embraced and hopefully Cowbridge 2nd XI will do so come the start of the 2020 season.


Saturday 24th August 2019



A loss by ten wickets at Llangennech was the result of a rather flat performance by the Cowbridge 1st XI last Saturday. Already Champions of the South Wales Cricket Association the team were only able to muster 74 and mercifully the home side did not spend overly long in getting to the total. It would appear that the Champions were suffering from a bout of ‘Tournament Won’ syndrome.

It was as though the parts of the engine were still in place but that the oil that made it run so smoothly had evaporated. It was hard to recognize the team on Saturday as the one that had put in place thirteen straight wins to lift the title – a collective yawn had overtaken the lads and they seemed strangely dis-united as a group.

Even the best sides suffer from ‘Tournament won’ syndrome. How many times have England lost a series only to win the last Test Match at The Oval, the victorious opposition having taken their feet off the pedal. You can go back to the 1966 West Indians, who under the great Sir Garfield Sobers, were reputed to have liked to party, having won the Series meeting up with a re-focused England who had new leadership in Brian Close and the recalled Tom Graveney who batted like a god and a number in the XI who were fighting for selection on a winter tour. Closer to our era Steve Watkin and Matthew Maynard played together when England, having lost the series against the West Indies.

So what is it? Is it motivation and momentum or is cricket just a straightforward game of skill? You would have to conclude it’s a bit of both. Cowbridge were able to harness the tide of the former to make the latter count during the campaign and it’s probably the case that any other Club in the same position would have found it difficult not to fall into ‘Tournament Won’ Syndrome.  

‘Tournament Won’ syndrome? No it is not a recognized medical condition but does seem to sum up the concept. Next Saturday is the season‘s finale when Briton Ferry Steel come to The Athletic Ground.  The Daniel Radcliffe Cup will be presented at noon to Cowbridge Captain Chris Willey prior to the match by Neil Hobbs, the Chairman of The South Wales Cricket Association.




As the season creeps inexorably to its end, Cowbridge welcomed Drefach to the Athletic Ground last Saturday.  On a beautiful day Drefach won the toss and rather surprisingly asked Cowbridge to bat first.  The Cowbridge opening pair of Jonty Webb and Heath Webb started slowly in the face of good disciplined bowling from Drefach.  Unfortunately Heath went early leaving Cowbridge 16 for 1 off 9 overs.  This brought Naveed Younis to the crease and both he and Jonty began to set about building a partnership.

Drefach continued to bowl well and scoring was painfully slow.  Jonty went around the half way mark with the score only at 45 with Cowbridge conscious they would have to up the scoring rate if they were to post a competitive total.  Thankfully Naveed took up the task; ably supported by senior pro Rob Thomas.  Naveed began to dispatch the Drefach bowlers to all parts of the ground.  The score rose and spirits lifted.  Naveed was finally out for an excellent 60 and with telling contributions from Rob (19) and Will Harris (12) Cowbridge managed to post 140 off their 40 overs.  Not the best of totals but at least a score that Cowbridge were hopeful they could defend.

Cowbridge started brightly but the Drefach score rose quickly through a combination of good batting and some indifferent fielding.  Although Cowbridge did take wickets at regular intervals they were unable to remove the Drefach opener; Aled Davies.  He provided the bulk of the Drefach runs (49) and with small contributions from the other batsmen, Drefach were able to overhaul the Cowbridge total with overs to spare.

This was a disappointing result and Cowbridge will rue some sloppy fielding and some indifferent batting, which was the catalyst for this defeat.  However; the atmosphere in the side remained good throughout and hopefully those who played enjoyed the game because at the end of the day without those two things there isn’t much point in playing at all.


 18th August 2019



Cowbridge’s game against was played on Sunday rather than Saturday as a result of an agreement reached between the sides earlier in the season.

So the side travelled west hopeful the rain would hold off long enough for a game to be played.  Upon arrival Joe won the toss and seeing that the wicket was quite green; decided to bowl first.  Unfortunately, Cowbridge started slightly depleted as a result of Heath Webb having been taken ill before the innings commenced.  However; credit must be given to Felinfoel who allowed a Cowbridge a substitute fielder so Cowbridge had a full complement of players.

The Felinfoel innings started slowly as a result of good bowling from Joe and John Gilbert.  Joe was the first to strike with the score at 35 off 11 overs.  This brought to the crease the Felinfoel number 3; R Jones who Cowbridge were aware was a regular first XI player.  Ably supported by the remaining Felinfoel opener; R Jones began to hit the Cowbridge bowlers around with alarming ease.  Despite some good tight bowling from the likes of John Gilbert and Guy Parker; who finished with superb figures of 4 for 28 off 7 overs, the Felinfoel score climbed.  With R Jones finishing with an excellent 87 runs; emphasising his first XI status, and S Jones with 54, Felinfoel finished on 183 off their 40 overs.

This was a good total but Cowbridge were hopeful that if they batted well they would overhaul the score.  Things started brightly for Cowbridge with the openers Naveed Younis and Jonty Webb putting on over 50 together at the halve way stage.  Unfortunately, Naveed was then trapped LBW for 20 with Jonty following shortly after for 33.  This left Cowbridge on 76 for 2 off 25 overs and conscious of the fact that they would need to up the scoring rate if they were to reach the Felinfoel score.  The impetus did indeed come from both Alastair Lawson and Heath Webb; who had thankfully made a recovery from his earlier sickness, who put together an excellent partnership.  Heath was then unluckily run out for 17 but Alastair continued to bat very well.  In the end Alastair was out for 39 with Cowbridge finishing on 169 off their 40 overs therefore falling agonisingly close to the Felinfoel total.

It was very disappointing that Cowbridge were unable to get over the line.  Cowbridge will rue some indifferent fielding and running between the wickets, which cost them dearly.  Hopefully Cowbridge will be more successful next week against Drefach.  Finally, mention should go out to Joe who unfortunately pulled a hamstring whilst fielding and was unable to bat.  We all hope he makes a speedy recovery.


Saturday 17th August 2019



‘The Lord’ he said, ‘does often work in strange and wondrous ways’. The old Max Boyce chorus is a bit of fun, but it might not have seemed so during Saturday afternoon.

That Cowbridge are the South Wales Cricket Association Champions might have been foreseen, but no one could have predicted the events that led to it. Cowbridge needed one win from three matches to be crowned First Division champions. It ‘would be such stuff as dreams are made of’.

Club stalwart Chris Willey led the men with that goal in mind.  Cowbridge cricketers singing ‘Sospan Fach?  You will understand that we are not dealing with normal circumstances.

Possibly the most bizarre day in the one hundred and eighty years of the story of the club was influenced by the rain on Friday preceding the match. The arriving spectators were uniformly surprised to find the Umpires were content to wait as the ground dried under the direction of the Club Chairman Hugh Williams. Nevertheless eventually with a 33 over game agreed Cowbridge’s opening pair, the illustrious Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht  marched to take what hey hoped would be significant steps to securing the title.

If it had only been as straightforward as that. In no time three of the Cowbridge top order had visited the middle and returned to the Pavilion. All of them returning via the most unsatisfactory method of dismissal, LBW, none made double figures. Purely by way of providing a context of current First Class Umpires Neil Mallender is the man most likely to ‘trigger’ a batsman, 21% of his dismissals coming that way. Dear old Syd Buller, long passed away only gave 8%. When the finger is up before the appeal is complete does make one wonder how much thought has been expended on a decision. A third is big slice.

Add to this at 26-5 a straight drive was deflected onto the bowler’s stumps which ran out Ben and the chance of setting up the game plan was looking remote. At the end of the innings 46 was the meager total to defend.

But wait! News was beginning to filter up the M4. Tata Steel had been bowled out at Llanelli for 117. This had not been expected and its significance was not lost on the gathering in front of the Pavilion. If Llanelli could get home it would render any result at Cowbridge irrelevant. Tata would be unable to overtake Cowbridge and the title would be secure. It was 2nd XI Captain Joe Russell who raised his hand and just as at Cowbridge the home side were going down to defeat to announce ‘That’s it, 123-2 we’ve done it!’

As unlikely a scenario as you could have imagined had been played out at Stradey Park and The Athletic Ground.  The players shook hands and a blackbird sang, suggesting a moments reflection on what had been achieved was in order. The Cowbridge XI, the one that stood in line for all those who sought this moment over many years wondered what the President and Chairman were doing on the boundary edge. Broad grins but perhaps moist eyes were inevitable as a substitute trophy was presented to Chris. He had played his first game of 1st XI cricket as a fourteen year old in the company of many who were taking pleasure in the moment. It was fitting that a total Clubman should lead his Club from the darkness into light.

For now there remain two 1st XI fixtures, one at Llangennech and at home against Briton Ferry Steel. The League hierarchy will present the Daniel Radcliffe Cup at the Briton Ferry fixture at noon. A busy winter will follow. During the Autumn the new Scorer’s facility will be erected and the Annual Dinner with Roy Noble is on November 8th.

Next year the Club wish to extend their hosting of representative fixtures and we hope to welcome MCC to the Athletic Ground in 2021 to mark the 125th anniversary of the opening of the ground.

In practical terms why is it important to achieve Premier League status? Quite simply  so that never again will a player nurtured by the Club ask for a transfer to a  Premier League Club on the basis that he wishes to play at the highest level he can. It’s happened too often and debases everything a Club is trying to achieve. Cowbridge must provide that level.

Your correspondent has seen most of the 1st XI cricket. Almost without exception the play has been a treat. The improvements to the Athletic Ground have been gladly received.

We must now endure the’ winter of our discontent’ confident that it will be ‘made glorious summer by this son of York’.


Saturday 10th August 2019



At last it’s simple. For Cowbridge Cricket Club’s 1st XI to be crowned champions of the South Wales Cricket Association they need to win at home against eighth placed Dafen on Saturday. It’s not that there is anything other than a theoretical possibility that Cowbridge can be caught but it would be wrong of the League authorities to assume anything.

So the message is equally simple, come on down to support the lads in the hope of seeing a small bit of local sporting history being made. on the back of a twelve match unbeaten run just one more win it might be lucky thirteen.

There was little doubt about win number twelve at Gowerton last Saturday. The home club worked hard to get the game on and was rewarded with a 35 overs a side contest. Cowbridge’s Skipper Chris Willey lost the toss, was invited to bat and by the end of the allotted overs the score had reached 299-1. Quite remarkable. True there were some dropped catches and the general fielding was not exactly out of the top drawer but that would be to pick at the edges. It was a sustained onslaught that delighted the Cowbridge supporters setting a total 299-1.

And who was responsible for this carnage? A fluent 77 from Tom Merilaht including unusually for him three sixes was no artful nurdling, it was a fine knock in it’s own right but it was the perfect foil for the star act. That was Ben Wright with 184 not out off 108 balls and included nine sixes and seventeen fours.  As a Gowertonian remarked their first mistake had been getting the game on, the second not using every square yard of mown grass as outfield. Maybe there would have been fewer less sixes, maybe not. Ben hit sixteen fours and nine sixes, he was quite impossible to bowl at.

Ben‘s century was his third in four innings. That’s quite remarkable in its own right. Even more remarkable is Ben’s seasonal tally of 1236 at an average of 123 including six centuries.

300 was always going to be an unachievable target and the Gowerton innings reached 144-6 before the players were able to seek refuge.

Captain Chris Willey issued an invitation to everyone who might be interested to come to the Athletic Ground next Saturday to witness history being made. It looks a straightforward proposition from the best part of a week away. It will not stay that way!

On Sunday at The President’s Day celebrations Mr Julian Ebsworth was invested as an Honorary Life Vice President cementing the link between the club and the Ebsworth family who created the ground in 1896. Mr Ebsworth presented a Copper Beech tree to Jeffrey Bird and Hugh Willliams the Club’s President and Chairman respectively.




As last Saturday dawned Cowbridge was swathed in slate grey skies with the almost inevitable promise of rain to come.  Sure enough the heavens opened and the rain came teeming down.  At this point the thought of any game of cricket taking place was far from the minds of most of the Cowbridge side.  However; Captain Joe Russell thought otherwise.  Having inspected the pitch at 11:00; and putting considerable faith in the weather forecast, Joe deemed the pitch playable.  To say there was scepticism that the game should take place is an understatement.

With Cowbridge winning the toss Llandarcy were unsurprisingly asked to bat first.  And so the match started; inauspiciously it turned out.  With one ball bowled the rain came down again and the players ran for shelter.  Cue further mutterings that the game should never have been played in the first place.  The rain though stopped and the sun came out and play resumed with Joe Russell and Lewis Sevenoaks immediately putting the Llandarcy batsmen under pressure. Both bowled terrifically with Lewis picking up an early wicket.  This pressure exerted from the outset was maintained throughout, with all the bowlers chipping in with wickets.  The Llandarcy batsmen were never comfortable and finally scrapped to 98 all out off 32 overs with Lewis Sevenoaks and Umar Raffique finishing with 3 wickets a piece.

This was an excellent bowling and fielding performance but Cowbridge knew they would have to bat sensibly to overhaul the target.  The Cowbridge innings did not start well with Umar Raffique falling with the score only 8 but this then brought to the crease Heath Webb who put together an excellent partnership with Naveed Younis.  Both batsmen clearly conscious that Llandarcy were putting all their faith in their two opening bowlers began watchfully.  When Llandarcy then turned to their second string bowlers both batsmen began to open their shoulders.  The runs started to flow.  Both put away the bad ball with ease and whilst the running between the wickets was at times slightly ponderous, the score rose steadily.

In the end Cowbridge overhauled the Llandarcy total off just 22 overs with Heath finishing on 35 not out and Naveed finishing on an excellent 50 not out.

This was a dominant performance by Cowbridge and a well deserved victory.  Joe’s decision to play the game was entirely vindicated and those pessimists, who questioned whether the game should have taken place; this author being one of them, should hold their hands up and admit they were mistaken.  This victory has now put daylight between Cowbridge and those sides in the relegation zone and hopefully Cowbridge can continue this momentum through to the end of the season.


Wednesday 7th August 2019


Wednesday saw the final of the T20 Cup of the Vale Mid Week League held at Barry Island.

The finalists were Cowbridge and Penarth and both teams produced a memorable final of high quality cricket. The fielding of both sides was exceptional.

Batting first, Cowbridge scored 170 for 5, due mainly to a majestic 96 no by opener Jack Cropper. He was ably supported by Andrew Harrison, 20 not out in a sixth wicket unbroken stand of 91.

Little did Andrew know that in facing all the balls of the last over that his partner was stranded on 96.

Needing 8.5 per over, Penarth openers kept well ahead of the scoring rate with powerful hitting by Gary Jenkins and Nick Morgan. When Nick was dismissed for 24, Gary continued to 54 and when out to a spectacular catch by Tom Williams, the game changed. Tom bowled accurately and Andy Harrison at the other end was even more economical and the scoring rate slowed.

Three spectacular catches in the deep by Tom (another one) and Jack Davies (two) ensured victory for Cowbridge by 15 runs with Penarth on 151 for 5.

Thanks must go to the chairman of the league, Glan Williams who provided two umpires and food for both sides and the venue of Barry Athletic cricket ground.


Saturday 3rd August 2019



Victory when the odds seemed stacked against it is always a sweet sensation but the circumstances of the win by ten runs over Maesteg Celtic on Saturday gave the Cowbridge 1st XI into a clear route to becoming the South Wales Cricket Association Champions.

The most points that second placed Tata Steel can now post are 283, Cowbridge already have 256.  That means that Cowbridge need 27 points from four games to put the green, white and black ribbons on the Daniel Radcliffe Cup. A win over bottom club Gowerton next week would require some bonus points against Dafen at home the following week, providing Tata have beaten Llandysul. If Tata lose Cowbridge will be Champions there and then.

Saturday saw a game that seemed to be going according to the usual Chris Willey plan. Win the toss, bat first and unleash the opening pair of Ben Wright and Tom Merilaht. On Saturday they put on 96 for the first wicket with Ben putting together a speedy and attractive 46 after the two successive centuries in his previous two innings. However it needed Tom, the artful nurdler, to score his second century of the season, 106 to anchor the innings.

Cowbridge got to 230-7 in their 50 overs. It would have been a winning total in most circumstances. However the circumstances were not normal as for the first time this season rain came to interfere with the target and those dreaded names ‘Duckworth and Lewis’ came into play. This is the method by which the score is re-adjusted to allow for the weather causing loss of overs in the second innings. On Saturday rather than chase 231 in 50 overs the visitors were set 203 in 40. This is clearly an easier task than the one originally expected but it did not seem to matter when the Harare Express, Brad Evans took the first wicket with the score at 10.

It was 114 before the next one fell. The charge was being led by Gareth Hopkins, son of the former Glamorgan player John, an accomplished batsman who was in a different class to the rest of his colleagues. Hopkins scored 114, Davies got 31 and the rest failed to get double figures. Had Hopkins managed to stay in then the 36 needed with six overs and wickets in hand would have been within in the compass.

However Chris Willey had kept the two all-rounders Brad Evans and Tom Williams back, bravely so, that the last four overs could be defended. Two wickets in two balls by Brad, the second being the vital one of Hopkins caught by Ben Wright at 174 left the visitor’s tail needing the tail to wag but given the big ground that is the Athletic Ground boundaries were not easy to come by and the scoring rate began to climb.

From 150-3 to 192-8 the Cowbridge attack achieved dominance and the last over saw Maesteg Celtic needing 20. It was always going to be too much and the victory was secured.

 It was a victory largely due to Tom and Brad and the latter has now overtaken his total of wickets of last year, 38 now, The Zimbabwean student will be pleased to achieve the milestone of 50 but it is the team achieving the goal of promotion to the Premier League that will be the season’s goal achieved.

Next week sees the 1840 Cup on Sunday at Cowbridge when the Club defends the ownership of the trophy which marks the first recorded fixture between Cowbridge and Bridgend. Additionally there will be a special guest, Julian Ebsworth Esq whose family built the Cowbridge Athletic Ground in 1895.




As the season creeps towards a conclusion Cowbridge 2nd XI were hopeful of putting in a good performance against Mumbles last Saturday.  It wasn’t the most auspicious of starts for Cowbridge with a number of the side arriving late to the Mumbles ground as a result of the vagaries of the traffic on the M4 plus other congestion caused by the Gower Show.  This meant that the usual batting order had to be re-jigged; following Cowbridge being asked to bat first, with Ian Evans and Joe Russell opening up.

Both started brightly; coping well with the extra bounce produced by the artificial wicket that Mumbles play on.  Joe was then unlucky to be caught at gully following a particularly nasty delivery rearing up off a length.  This then brought Will Harris to the crease.  Will and Ian (24) began to put together a good partnership which saw Cowbridge get to 65 off their first 20 overs.

This was a good start but Cowbridge knew that they would have to post a competitive total to stand any chance of victory.  The impetus towards this goal was provided by the arrival of Guy Parker to the crease; with Guy promptly dispatching his first ball for four.  Will departed soon after for a well made and gutsy 19 with the consistent Heath Webb then joining Guy.

The score began to rise and following telling contributions from the likes of Heath (23) and Naveed (21); plus an out of character quick-fire 19 from Jonty Webb, meant Cowbridge finished on 158 off their 40 overs.

On the face of it a score of 158 seemed competitive; however, Cowbridge hadn’t counted on the combined abilities of the Mumble pair of Paul Kenealy and Tony Dorwick.  Both batsmen dominated the Cowbridge bowling.  Try as they could none of the bowlers could exert any pressure and whilst Will, Heath and Joe picked up a wicket a piece; Kenealy (62) and Dorwick (75*) pushed Mumbles forward at a steady rate towards the Cowbridge total.  In the end Mumbles surpassed the total with 6 overs to spare.

Whilst Cowbridge came off second best in this contest the fact is that Cowbridge came up against a good side; with two very capable batsmen, and on a wicket that provided extra bounce which is something of a rarity in the league.  The side should therefore not be too downhearted to have therefore lost and hopefully things can be turned around next week at home to Llandarcy.


Saturday 27th July 2019



When a respected Llanelli cricketer, Vaughan Thomas, one of the elder statesmen of a team that Cowbridge beat handsomely on Saturday tweets that he considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to bowl at Ben Wright as the batsman scored 160 not out and that the innings was the finest he had ever seen in the League you know that it must have been something special. It was.

Ben’s innings had many facets not least giving Cowbridge a winning total, 270-7 before bowling Llanelli out for 141 and taking twenty points. In a wider context than the match itself it marked his second consecutive annual tally of in excess of a thousand runs. Our hero has now scored 1006 runs in fourteen innings at an average of 111 in 2019. The League record is held by West Indian Linton Lewis who scored 1543 in 1983. Folk will tell you that it was in the days of the ‘old’ first division when there were overseas players aplenty. Counter that with the fact that Ammanford is a tiny ground with an excellent pitch. An interim record that could be in Ben’s sights is the 1388 runs in 1988 scored by Mark White as the highest aggregate in a season. Furthermore Ben does a highly responsible job and doesn’t spend his days in a pool hall.

 Once again it was the usual Wright stuff. Solid; with no risks early on. A dispatching of loose balls with the definition of ‘loose’ constantly revised so that towards the end of the innings perfectly decent deliveries were sent to the boundary. No mercy. No sympathy. Ben just went marching on.

There were supporting knocks from Chris Willey, Jack Cropper and Brad Evans but it was really Ben’s show. It may not live in the memory as long as events that took place on 31st October 1972 but it won’t be forgotten quickly either.

Cowbridge’s bowling was not at its very best but Tom Williams, the Llanmihangel larrikin brought control and line to the situation and taking 4-17 ripped out the home middle order. There were wickets too for Yodhin Punja 3-24 and one for the ‘mystery man’ Owen Scholey. If Owen is as difficult to read when facing at the wicket as he is from the Pavilion there will be a lot of frustrated batsmen up and down the land by the time the season is over.

Stradey Park has seen lots of quality sport in its long history but you cannot do much more than despair at the lack of use made of the cricket ground by the architects of the new houses where once the All Blacks were humbled. There is no connection between the two. How easy it would have been to have pitch facing frontages with trees down the long boundary. The look of a place defines it and is crucial in giving a place its character.

Having failed to take advantage of the opportunity the site offered these so- called professionals built Parc Y Scarlets. His is the new home of rugby football in the west. It a soulless tin can. There are dozens of these abominations all around the country. They offer nothing to the spectator in terms of the ‘wow’ factor. You would not know when inside if you were in Cardiff or Cowdenbeath. Compare these with the best of the modern re-building, Thomond Park in Limerick and the Princess Royal Stand at Cheltenham come to mind and you wonder how it is that we put up with such second rate

This was Yohdin Punja’s last game this season. By the time this paper has circulated Yohdin will have undergone surgery on his shoulder. By doing it now, he will be fully fit and ready to bowl at full speed, when next season starts. We wish him well.

So where does this leave Cowbridge as potential Champions? The fact of the matter is that Cowbridge need to defeat Maesteg Celtic at The Athletic Ground next Saturday.




Cowbridge had played Baglan in the first match of this season. Then they had won, and last Saturday, being just above Baglan at the bottom of the table, were hopeful of an important victory. A refreshed Baglan team, some strange behaviour of the pitch, and light, aided perhaps by some self inflicted wounds produced a sad defeat.
Both sides were short of players and Baglan, bowling first, but with two players still in transit had the benefit of two Cowbridge substitutes. Despite the post match liquid generosity of the Baglan captain this might not have helped the outcome. The pitch was slow with very unpredictable bounce at the bypass end. Scoring was agonisingly slow; the ball kept low and was difficult to get away. Two wickets were lost to rash stroke play, and then a third when Jonathan Webb was bowled for 14 by a “daisy cutter” which made its second bounce between the popping crease and the bowling crease thereby just missing being a no-ball. Things continued in this vein until the last five “senior” players, average age 65, made their entrance. Rob Thomas made 26 and Guy Parker 17, while the remainder offered further support although it was somewhat reduced by the absence of Cowbridge’s eleventh player. Cowbridge finished on 96 for 9 wickets. The latter part of Cowbridge’s innings was complicated by dark clouds accompanied by a few drops of rain, but sufficient for the Baglan wicket keeper to enquire of the Cowbridge batsman whether he could see the ball because the keeper could not. This weather may have related to the extraordinary change in the pitch over the tea interval.
Baglan required a run rate of 2.5 an over and only John Gilbert at 13 runs from 8 overs and Joe Russell 7 runs from 5 overs managed to keep to that limit. On the other hand the fielding was excellent despite Cowbridge being one short in the field, and no byes were given away. The Baglan batsmen themselves commented on the amazing change in the pitch which after tea played an even bounce. Their openers Gaskins and Morris, a new arrival at Baglan, steadily amassed runs making 88 between them and Baglan made their 97 for only two wickets. Although the Cowbridge total was clearly inadequate the result with only ten players and defending a low score was not as bad as first appears.


Saturday 20th July 2019



When Ben Wright walked through The Fred Dunn Gates for the first time as a seven-year-old he could scarcely have imagined that it would be he that would lead the on the field effort to restore the Club’s status as a power in the land of club cricket.

This role comes after a distinguished career as a professional cricketer with Glamorgan.

As the Cowbridge Club moves steadily towards the goal of winning the Daniel Radcliffe Cup and promotion to the Premier League it is Ben who is the talisman. Ben’s innings of 140 not out on Saturday against Bronwydd set up a total of 246-7 and a victory by 65 runs.

The way the results worked out Cowbridge now lead the league by 48 points with six matches to play. There are twenty points maximum available per match which shows just how strong the position is. Of course, it would be premature to claim that there is a certainty about the championship coming to Cowbridge in the next couple of weeks but it would seem that it’s now Cowbridge’s to lose.

Saturday saw a Cowbridge side without the two Toms, Merilaht and Williams. Nevertheless, the home side rattled up 101 by drinks with Chris Willey scoring 39. The total looked to be settling at around two hundred before an onslaught by Ben took the score away from any realistic chance Bronwydd might have had to chase.

Ben has now scored 846 runs at an average of 94 this season. However, it was not just in the batting that he was in the action – there were two catches and a stumping which impressed the large gathering of former players including Hugh Morris and his father Roger, a couple of Smarts and Birds, Mark White, Huw Mason, Andy Brace, Martyn Bevan and perhaps most welcome of all Douglas Davies.

The Bronwydd innings was one that meandered gently without ever threatening to get close to the Cowbridge’s target and at the end it wrapped up rather quickly, 144-3 falling to 186 all out, three each for Brad Evans and Rian Thomas.

So next week the lads go to Stradey Park, home of Llanelli Cricket Club. Two more wins and who can say quite how the arithmetic will have worked out. One thing is for sure is that with Ben in this sort of form and the return of the two Toms, Cowbridge have every reason to be confident as they enter the final third of the season.


Wednesday 17th July 2019


The semi final of the Vale Mid Week T20 Cup competition was played between Dinas Powys and Cowbridge on the Common.

It proved to be an exciting match, with Cowbridge winning with the very last ball.

Batting first, Cowbridge boasted a moderate run chase of 129 for five thanks mainly to captain Chris Willey (23 runs), Jack Cropper (39 no) and Heath Webb (21).

In reply, Dinas were always up on the required scoring rate and after 10 overs were 70 for two, due mainly to L Clarke and G Fernando scoring 28 runs each.

The bowling got tighter and the scoring rate dropped and up stepped the youngsters. Tom Wood stopped so many fours on the boundary, Heath Webb had a fantastic run out at the death and Louis Sevenoaks bowled the last over to concede only two byes and a leg bye and capped it by taking a wicket when five runs were needed for a Dinas victory.


Saturday 13th July 2019



The First XI beat Tata Steel on Saturday by seven wickets largely due to a patient 83 not out from Ben Wright to extend their lead at the top of Division One to forty points . Cowbridge now have 197, Tata 157.  

There are seven games to go and twenty points available to a winning team. Given that losing teams generally get around five it would seem to be a tall order for Tata to pick up seventy five points in the remaining fixtures. Cowbridge would have to lose their next four games to give Tata a chance and it’s difficult to see a side that have lost just once doing that.

On Saturday the local sporting public came out in numbers in support of their team. It was initially a warm but cloudy afternoon but as the clouds unfolded the ground became every inch the green and pleasant land that has been the ambition of the Club to create; the new pickets looked splendid, the JB scoreboard a nod to the modern era and the Mound a popular elevated viewing spot. When one overhears a conversation focused on demanding to know why there are no Glamorgan fixtures you begin to gather that there is a momentum for the game.

Batting first Tata were slow scoring  reaching 123-2 in the face of accurate bowling particularly from Yodin Punja who conceded just  fourteen off ten overs, and Brad Evans who took four wickets for twenty two. Brad, the ‘Harare Express’ has now taken thirty wickets at 7.07 and is the season’s leading wicket taker in the league as indeed he was last year. The lack of urgency displayed by the Tata batsmen curtailed their ultimate score possibilities and a late flourish was needed to set a reasonable but far from daunting target of 166.

Hugh Williams had left more grass on the pitch and prepared it over a longer period than he ordinarily might have done but it produced an excellent surface. Ben Wright settled in after tea with the knowledge that providing he did not cease from mental strife a home victory would be likely outcome.

There were a couple of unwelcome early dismissals of Tom Merilaht and Chris Willey. Nevertheless Ben was chanceless and Jack Cropper, who had batted with style, for 21, was unluckily run out at 93-3. Their partnership of runs scored in a key part of the innings and vitally important.  Jack received the sympathy of the spectators as he trudged off but he had cleared the platform for the 6.05 pm from Harare.   The fires were stoked up ready to provide the now highly excitable crowd with a treat of 46 not out including six fours. It was an exhibition of orthodox batting and Brad hit the ball a very long way.




The Swansea Civil Service (SCS) cricket ground is only a few hundred yards away from Singleton Park where Stereophonics were due to be performing simultaneously with the match last Saturday.

The warm up concert was "enjoyed" throughout the game, but crowds did not materialise to block the traffic. The weather was rather cloudy and cold with the slightest amount of fine rain initially.

Cowbridge batted first, and all but 5 of their 154 runs came from the first three batsmen. Jonathan Webb and Joe Russell opened, and looked an increasingly effective pair. Jonathan provided his usual vital foundational innings making 32 whilst Joe, sprinting like a whippet, added 26. Joe continues to grow into the captaincy and the side to support him well. Jonathan and Joe were dismissed in consecutive overs ushering in the Ben Stokes of the side, Heath Webb, (no relation of Jonathan) who went straight onto the attack. In the remaining 18 overs he scored 60 not out while the other end contributed 5 further runs. 154 runs seemed a reasonable score, and in the light of the SCS bowlers' ability to produce considerable late swing was a commendable achievement.

The SCS side provided Cowbridge with some early encouragement by losing 2 wickets for only 13 runs, but then steadied the ship. Two youngsters, Stannard and John, scored 42 and 32 respectively, and the run rate never looked as though it would fall behind. When Glaznicks, one the SCS old guard, came to the crease and scored steadily the writing was on the wall. The fielders did their utmost, and  John Gilbert contained  the Swansea batsmen well giving away only 17 runs in 8 overs, but otherwise there was steady leak of around 4 runs an over. After an exciting penultimate over Cowbridge could not follow the English team's triumph, and lost by 3 balls.

It was a disappointing game, and little more luck and different decision making by the umpires could have seen a better outcome.


Saturday 6th July 2019



A victory by 60 runs at Llandysul by league leaders Cowbridge and a defeat by Bronwydd of second placed Tata Steel has allowed a lead of twenty-six points to be opened up at the top of the SWCA League.

Whether this allows the buying of ribbands just yet is open to question but the positions are now 179 to Cowbridge and 153 to Tata Steel.

That differential is more than a win ahead and should Cowbridge be able to defeat Tata on Saturday the lead will go up to in excess of 40 points. That would make it very difficult for any of the chasers to catch Cowbridge and makes this the most important fixture to be played at The Athletic Ground in a very long time.

It was carnival day at Llandysul, and the blaring out of what might have been once called ‘hits’ from the field next door was a distraction. Nevertheless, Ben Wright hit some rapid shots before being adjudged LBW for 44 and Tom Merilaht got 33. At 87-4 the Cowbridge innings seemed to be stuttering somewhat. Enter all-rounder Tom Williams who struck a hard hit 31, putting on 50 with Yodhin Punja (14) and while 180 was thought to be comfortable 165 was considered to be on the skinny side.

The pattern this season has been that the Brad Evans has knocked over the top order. By so doing the opposition has failed to get any momentum and this week was no exception as by 22-3 the game was slipping into Cowbridge’s hands. Wickets fell steadily before Llewellyn Hughes began a one-man onslaught on the Cowbridge bowling. His effort began to worry the supporters but with no one else getting runs it was clear it was Llandysul’s challenge would depend on him.

It fell due to a sharp stumping by Ben Wright off Tom Merilaht. Usually a pairing noted for their work together with the bat. Tom got one to turn, Hughes lifted his head a fraction, his eyes came off the ball which slid past the outside edge and in the fraction of a second that Hughes was out of his ground Wright had the bails off. In effect it was game over. Hughes had made 51 and the game was in effect over.

It is now set up for the last eight games. Cowbridge have a long-standing ambition to return to the upper echelons of south Wales club cricket and they have done all they can this season. Victory on Saturday will not be enough to claim the Dan Radcliffe Cup but it would be sufficient to make them believe that this is their year.


Looking back over the years has been the the theme of the quiz where we asked for the best Cowbridge XI to take the field since 1970. Last week the five specialist batsmen were elected and they were Ben Wright, Tom Merilaht, JA Davies, Eddie Dew and either Derek Cleaver or Mark White. Derek got the selectors’ nod but Mark won the popular vote. Rhys Williams and Andy Daniels were both in contention.

Then it came to the all-rounders and Matt Smart and Brad Evans took those slots, John Tierny getting edged out. The bowlers chosen were Alan Wilkins, Douglas Davies and John Bevan. As for the spinner the high-quality field was Howard Morgan, Peter Hardwick and Jon Smart. Pete got the selection with his devastating arm-ball but ‘H’ won the popular vote, older members recalling his brilliant use of flight.

However, it was felt that there was justification to have a couple of squad bowlers to cover conditions. This brought in Gerald Leeke for damp days and Andy Morris for a quicker track. The reserve wicket-keeper batsman was Roger Morris. JA was appointed captain.

There were a number of cricketers proposed including Norman Gauntlett, DR ‘Butch’ Morgan and Wavell Dougan who were ineligible. Finally, who recalls someone who played just six games in 1994? He scored five fifties and a ton in his Cowbridge career while a student at Swansea University. He went on to play for Middlesex and his name was Scott Moffatt.

After all that, our thanks to Martyn Bevan and Hugh Williams for their acting as selectors and we can report that the winner is one of those who was under consideration, Jon Smart.




With the second half of the season commencing, Cowbridge welcomed Llandysul to the Athletic Ground; a side who had inflicted a heavy defeat on Cowbridge at the start of the season.

On a glorious day; with the wicket looking excellent, Cowbridge won the toss and elected to bowl first.  The opening attack of John Gilbert and Joe Russell bowled superbly and immediately put the Llandysul batsmen under pressure.  This pressure told with an early wicket for Joe following an excellent catch at cover by Lewis Sevenoaks.  Runs were extremely hard to come by for the Llandysul batsmen, which was testament to the disciplined bowling and on the whole good fielding from Cowbridge.   At the halfway mark Llandysul were in the precarious position of being 44 for 3 with Joe having picked up another wicket and the ever dependable John Gilbert also bagging a wicket.

In the past when Cowbridge have had sides in such a position they have let them off the hook, with sides then going on to post competitive totals.  However; in this instance Cowbridge reapplied themselves and kept up the pressure.  With the introduction of both Heath Webb and Umar Raffique, Llandysul continued to struggle and wickets kept falling.  In the end the coup de grace was administered to the Llandysul innings by the canny offspin of Ian Evans; aided and abetted by the lightening glove work of Ian Harris, with Ian picking up two stumpings in two balls resulting in Llandysul being bowled out for 92.

This was an excellent bowling and fielding performance but Cowbridge knew that Llandysul had a strong bowling attack and that they would have to bat well to overhaul their score.  Thankfully the Cowbridge openers of Jonty Webb and Naveed Younis set about the task in a sensible fashion.  Playing very watchfully both batsmen defended well and put away the bad ball when it came along.  This tactic paid dividend with Cowbridge being 51 for no loss after the first 20 overs.

Unfortunately Naveed was dismissed soon after drinks but a further partnership was then put together between Jonty and Heath Webb.  Jonty was then out for 28 followed soon after by Heath, which left Cowbridge 68 for 3.  This little flurry of wickets did cause a slight jangling of nerves amongst the Cowbridge side but Umar Raffique then came to the crease and scored a quick fire 16 which settled things down, leaving Captain Joe Russell fittingly to then score the winning runs in the 28th over.

This was a superb victory for Cowbridge against a strong side, who were top of the table and chasing promotion.  This victory should give Cowbridge a lot of confidence in that it proves that Cowbridge can be competitive against those sides higher up the table.


Sunday 30th June 2019


The under 9 squad travelled to Miskin for the fourth festival. Bolstered by more experienced players in Ed Jonson, Osian Davies, George Morgan and Orrin Hussain the team won 3 out of the 4 matches.

Younger players Gruff and Nye Chamberlin, Tilley Dobson, George Holley and Iwan Lucas acquitted themselves well to lose to Cardiff by 3 runs. There were more comprehensive wins against Radyr, Miskin and Central Cardiff.


Saturday 29th June 2019



Ten years after the battle of Waterloo in 1825 The Duke of Wellington was watching a cricket match at Eton College, his old school. He tuned to his companions and remarked ‘Waterloo was won here’.

Fast forward to Saturday and Cowbridge’s former Captain known as ‘The Rock’ and the ‘Artful Nudger’ Tom Merilaht noted that at Briton Ferry Steel victory had been achieved on the slopes of the Penllyne Recreation Field.  Messer’s Merilaht, Willey and Howson of the village learnt their cricket as dusk fell after school and these three provide a hard spine to the team. They did not require Marshal Bloucher to arrive hotfoot to save the day. They are made of competitive stuff.

No indeed, but for ordinary cricketers Briton Ferry Steel retains a forbidding air. It is small, intimate and surrounded by an iron fence. Dominate or be dominated. This is no place for faint hearts.

So the Cowbridge flag was the standard that the men of Penllyne, Ystradowen, Llanmihangel and the Ancient Borough itself marched to as they determined to keep their lead at the top of the SWCA League. Having set up camp they soon won the early skirmishes. Rattling up 56 off the first six overs the usual opening combination of Tom and Ben Wright made it quite clear they were not interested in being intimidated. It was not one of the Iron Duke’s most charitable features.

Utter dominance from the openers saw them put on 160 for the first wicket, Ben getting 102, Tom 104 and with a frivolity that the Duke would not have necessarily approved of Brad Evans hit a rapid 72. The score of 343- 4 was a new club record and it beat the 339 scored against Porthcawl in 1933.

Rather like the statue outside Aspley House there deserves to be a permanent memorial to the feats of these two at the Club. Yet wait you cry! Where might these two end up in the pantheon of Cowbridge cricket? Only figures and club team advancements are available to them. They cannot be held in higher esteem as men, cricketers and sportsmen. Maybe not but the since they came back to the Club to join forces they have walked out to bat thirty nine times. They have shared 3846 runs and their average stand is 109. They have also scored ten hundred and seven two hundred partnerships. It is all quite bewildering.

There was little chance of ‘The Steel’ ever chasing such a monumental target. They stumbled to 201-8. Wickets were spread about but Brad did not bowl on account of his tender ankle. The side will need him fully fit on the 13th.

After Boris Johnson withdrew from the challenge when Mrs May became Prime Minister he could never have believed his time might come again.  Chris Willey may not be an Old Etonian (he can exude a haughty countenance from time to time I would grant you!) but he emerged as a cricketer from the hallowed grounds of Penllyne. Nevertheless after last year’s disappointment the village lads are standing firm. They have done the first half of the job. The whole enterprise is starting to be one where the number of matches left are very important. Whichever way you look at it the game against Tata is likely to be critical.




On Saturday Cowbridge second eleven met the division leaders, Skewen. It looked as though it would be a torrid afternoon as the Algerian heat bubble moved northwards. By the time the toss was taken, and fortunately won, the temperature was 30 degrees C, or in old units 86F which sounds a lot worse.

Unsurprisingly Cowbridge elected to bat, and the openers met the challenge wonderfully. Johnny Napier used his strength, and reach to great effect, even startling the umpire, who had begun to open his arms to declare a wide ball, by hitting it for six. He played a superb innings with three sixes, and sixteen fours finally being bowled for 102. He was well supported by Naveed Younas , for once playing the more restrained role , and who finished on 28. Joe Russell played well for his 23 not out. Cowbridge were supported by 25 “extras”, and two simple dropped catches; they finished on 202. By this time the heat had lessened and playing conditions were more tolerable.

With a target of 202 to defend Cowbridge were optimistic, but it was soon apparent that Skewen’s place at the top of the division rested largely on their batting, although possibly some Cowbridge fielding lapses were contributory. Skewen always seemed to have their innings under control despite valiant efforts by the Cowbridge bowlers, most notably John Gilbert who only leached a miserly 27 runs from his 8 overs. They made the target with three wickets down and three overs in hand.

It is necessary to mention an absent player, the club’s Sidney Carton.  Both Cowbridge sides were desperately short of players despite great efforts by Umar Rafique, Lewis Sevenoaks and Owian Scholey to travel many miles.  The seconds had to provide support for the first eleven. Rather than the second eleven lose their captain, who also contributes so much with the ball and bat, Alistair Lawson volunteered to spend the afternoon in the heat without a chance to bat. It is only right to commend such club spirit.


Cowbridge T20 mid-week team experienced their first defeat of the season to Pentyrch at their picturesque ground on a cold Wednesday evening.

Pentyrch won the toss and batted well against some good Cowbridge bowling.

S Ewen 34 runs and L. Coates 29 n.o. were the main scorers for the home team. Club captain Todd Wilcox punished the last few overs with a n.o.27 to push their score to 149 for 7.

A brace of wickets were taken by Rian Thomas, Jack Davies and Joe Russell.

In reply Cowbridge had a steady start through Chris Willey and Rhys Williams and this was continued with Jack Davies 15, Rian Thomas 22 and Andy Harrison who was n.o.41. Needing 15 off the last over Cowbridge could only score 8 and thus lost by 7 runs.


Saturday 22nd  June 2019



Saturday was a day at Cowbridge Athletic Club when all seemed to be quintessentially British.

A cloudless sky, a manicured cricket ground and men in whites enjoying a match watched by an appreciative crowd, as Cowbridge hosted Llangennech. Above all else it was a day for cricket.

A home win by some ease by 10 wickets was the result. A solid team bowling performance was led by Rian Thomas with three wickets as Brad Evans was not able to bowl off his long run.

Nevertheless, the total of 165 all out never looked enough to trouble the duo of the artful nudger that is Tom Merilaht who proceeded to 64 not out including a six that hit the sightscreen. Whatever next?

Well, there was the delight that the game came to its end with the graceful driver, Wright needing to get a four to bring up his second hundred in eight innings and win the game in a single stroke. It was splendidly accomplished and it was time to shake hands and head for the bar.

The spoils of 20 points ensured the 1st XI remained top of the league of the oldest cricket championship in south Wales. The prospect of promotion to the Premier League now appears to rest between Cowbridge and Tata Steel, even at this early stage of the season.

Cowbridge have one precious advantage that might be very important. They can slip a game, even Tata at home on July 13 and still hold a lead if both sides otherwise remain unbeaten. Beat Tata and then it will be Cowbridge’s to lose.




After back to back victories in the last two weeks; Cowbridge 2nd XI were hopeful of continuing this good run of form when they travelled to Drefach last Saturday.  Having made the relatively short journey west to Drefach, Cowbridge lost the toss and were asked to bat first.

The Cowbridge opening pair of Joe Russell and Jonty Webb started brightly taking the score to 24 before the first wicket fell when Joe Russell was caught at first slip.  This brought Heath Webb to the crease and from that point an excellent partnership was built between Heath and Jonty.  Punishing the bad deliveries and running well between the wickets, the pair took the score to 90 off 23 overs before Jonty was out for a well made 42.

This though didn’t stop the runs from flowing as Heath continued to bat superbly; ably supported by Naveed Younis.  However; with the loss of Heath for an excellently made 68 and then in quick succession Naveed for a bright and breezy 14, the brakes were put on the Cowbridge innings.  Although Alastair Lawson played very well in making 20, the Cowbridge innings petered out with Cowbridge finishing on 167 off their 40 overs.   Having been 90 for 2 off 23 overs Cowbridge should have reached a greater total than 167 and were conscious that they would have to bowl and field well to have any chance of victory.

Unfortunately, Cowbridge will rue the fact that their bowling wasn’t up to the usual good standard.  The Drefach batsmen were rarely in trouble and the score began to rise.  Although the fielding was generally good; with all members of the side trying hard such as Will Harris, David Webb and Umar Raffique, the bowling was wayward which made it very difficult for Captain Joe Russell to set a field.  Whilst there were two wickets for Heath, Drefach reached the Cowbridge total in the 36th over with relative ease with so many wickets in hand.

This was a disappointing defeat.  Cowbridge team have to apply themselves better with the bat and also be more disciplined when it comes to the bowling in future games.  


Wednesday 19th June 2019



Cowbridge travelled to Cardiff to play in the quarter final of the Vale Mid Week T20 Cup competition and returned with a lot of glory. Asked to bat first on a firm wicket the two Jacks produced varying innings to compile most of the runs. Jack Cropper opened the innings and scored a breezy 37 runs of which 36 were scored in 4's. When he departed Jack Davies took a more modest performance and ended on 50 runs not out in a total of 133 for 5. 

In reply Cardiff had a good opening stand of 46 by S Jones 24 and J Meggit also with 24. Cowbridge bowled a good line and length complemented by excellent fielding making scoring difficult for the home team. The introduction of off spin Jack Davies slowed the scoring even more and though he was hit for 14 runs in his first over he re deemed himself to finish with 3 for 20. Young Lewis Sevenoaks had his best game to date when he took an over head catch of the highest order at deep long on. With Cardiff needing to up the scoring rate his left arm medium pace bowling kept the Cardiff batsmen quiet as also Tom Williams from the other end, both finishing their 4 overs for just 20 runs. In the end Cardiff could only reach 117 for 5 and Cowbridge go through to the semi final with a 16 run victory.


Winning Team:   Back row: Chris Willey, Heath Webb, Joe Russell(cpt), Jack Cropper, Ali Johnston

Front row:   Tom Williams, Sam Russell, Tom Wood, Louis Sevenoaks, Gareth Williams-Davies, Jack Davies 

Saturday 15th June 2019



A couple of times in a season they step out of the anonymity of their place in the ranks to deliver a performance that can make the difference between winning and losing. It is on such performances that Championships are won and lost, that the destinies of club’s depend.

Saturday afternoon at Dafen was an occasion when two of Cowbridge’s match winners needed to step up to he challenge.  The supporters and team mates were not to be disappointed.  Batting first on a wet pitch Ben Wright (86) and Tom Merilaht (32) put on 98 for the first wicket before Tom was caught. The scoring rate then fell, if not alarmingly certainly enough to need Brad Evans to go after the bowling to get the total over the two hundred mark. His six fours and two sixes in 51 not out was enough to post a total of 229-5. Enough, probably; comfortable, probably not.

An early wicket steadied the Cowbridge nerves but at Dafen you are never quite sure what you total means. It’s a small ground, very small in parts and that makes it difficult to defend.  With years of experience the locals know how to chase and they set them selves up perfectly.

With the final sixteen overs the home side needed 74 with 5 wickets standing. In the Cowbridge corner Chris Willey had four overs of leading bowler Brad to be used judiciously. When would he introduce the Express?  The time was now.

‘I think we’ll be alright but I don’t like it’ was the overwhelming sentiment, ‘Brad’s got to do something’ was muttered. The game had reached its denouement.

Then in a flash two quick wickets from Brad effectively fixed it and the breathing returned to normal. Then Tom Williams had the potential match-winner, Phillips from the Dafen ranks caught by Brad for 71 and the lights went out on the challenge. Brad had taken 4-21 off his ten overs.

It had all been a bit too close for comfort but Cowbridge had prevailed. The match winners, Wright and Evans had done their stuff.

Earlier in the season at the second match Cowbridge had played Tata Steel and there had been a match winning performance by Tom Merilaht, a slow solid and absolutely invaluable hundred that that put the game firmly in the Cowbridge orbit.

Now as we approach the halfway mark that win is starting to look very influential in the League placings. To beat your nearest rivals is sometimes referred to a ‘double pointer’, it’s not but such victories are likely to provide a buffer of points but the denial of points to the other side is important. Tom’s innings can now be seen in context.

So where does that all leave us? Cowbridge 122, Tata 106 the next, Llanelli probably needs four wins and Cowbridge to hit a losing streak to challenge.

 Like last year when subsequently rained off fixture against Gorseinon the importance of the game on July 13th is beginning to be talked about in terms of it being the most important game for a generation. It will be a day when the match winners will have to do their stuff.




“Flaming June” people sometimes call the month we are currently in.  However; after the weather recently one would be forgiven for thinking we are in November rather than the early days of summer.  Even so, despite the poor weather; Cowbridge were still able to fulfil their fixture against Felinfoel. This was in no small part down to the Herculean efforts of club groundsman and chairman Hugh Williams in preparing the ground.

Cowbridge won the toss and elected to field first.  Both Felinfoel opening batsmen made a steady start but were kept quiet by accurate bowling from John Gilbert and Joe Russell.  It was following the introduction of Sami Khan that led to the first wicket with Felinfoel at 43 for 1 after 20 overs.  At the halfway stage Felinfoel knew they would need to increase the run rate if they were to post a competitive total.  However; Felinfoel had not countered on the mystery spin of Naveed Younis.  Naveed; bowling in his cap, a la “Universe Boss” Chris Gayle, bamboozled the Felinfoel batsmen.  None of the batsmen were able to play him resulting in a flurry of wickets, which stifled Felinfoel’s attempts to increase the run rate.  In the end Felinfoel were bowled out for 99 with Naveed finishing with excellent figures of 5 for 11 off 5 overs.

Chasing a small total; and mindful that the pitch was starting to misbehave, the Cowbridge openers; Joe Russell and Jonty Webb began the run chase in a watchful manner.  Through a combination of good running between the wickets and punishing the bad ball when it came along, Cowbridge reached 23 before Joe fell leg before.  This brought Jonny Napier to the crease and the runs began to flow.  However, with two quick wickets Cowbridge were left slightly precarious on 69 for 3 off 20 overs.  This concern was though misplaced as Umar Rafique then came to the crease and reeled off a flurry of boundaries to take Cowbridge past the total in the 26th over with Jonty Webb carrying his bat for a typically stoical and unruffled 30 runs.

This victory has propelled Cowbridge up the table and away from the relegation zone.  It was very pleasing that Cowbridge were able to put in what was a very clinical performance with all members of the side contributing.  


Wednesday 12th June 2019



Cowbridge hosted last weeks encounter between two local rivals - Vale C.C. at the Athletic ground in the Vale mid week T20  league. Winning the toss and batting first Cowbridge were soon in trouble at the half way stage with the score at 55 for 5. The bowling of the visitors was accurate and supported by excellent fielding making scoring quite difficult. One batsman stood out in the form of Jack Cropper who scored a patient 56 with 6 fours and he alone was the main stay in an innings that finished on 103 for 8. All batsmen on a slow track found the runs hard to come by especially against the young twin brothers of G. Merry 2 for 21 and T. Merry 3 for 12.

The Vale team started brightly with all their batsmen getting in but unable to continue trying to up the run rate. A contribution of 20 runs by A. Upham set the visitors well on their way and at the half way mark victory was in their grasp. However the Vale team encountered the same difficulty as the home team in gaining runs, with the Cowbridge bowling and fielding of a high standard. 2 wickets to Andy Harrison and 1 apiece to Rian Thomas and Jack Davies was upstaged with the off spin of Rhydian Harris and bowling hero Tom Williams who took 4 wickets for 1 run. Local boy Sean Rowlands who was 12 not out tried his best to guide his team home but fell 5 runs short with the innings closing at 98 for 8 and victory to Cowbridge by 5 runs. This was an excellent game of cricket with high skill levels and the low scoring contributed to a tense and exciting finish.


Sunday 9th June 2019


The under-9s squad with the Miskin team, right to left: Herb Andrews, Gruff Chamberlin, Henry Palmer Morgan, Ollie Mann, Hannah Reid, George Holley, Tilly Dobson, Orrin Hussain, Osian Rowe, George Morgan and Nye Chamberlin

The under-9s had their first experience of competitive cricket when Cowbridge hosted the first of this year’s festivals.

Visitors to the Athletic ground were Central Cardiff, Pentyrch and Miskin CC. The new under-9s that moved up this year from All Stars Cricket acquitted themselves well against Central but were unlucky to lose by four runs.

Bolstered by four previous years’ players the teams performed much better although losing to Pentyrch. The last game proved successful with a good win against Miskin.


Saturday 8th June 2019



Cowbridge Cricket Club first XI continued their season with what in the end proved a comfortable victory against Gowerton CC at home.

The team gained 18 points to 6 and consolidated their position at the top of Division 1.

Batting first, the notorious opening pair of Merilaht and Wright were soon back in the pavilion having scored 1 and 18 respectively. The pitch played rather slow with low bounce which restricted the run flow and at 88 for 6 Cowbridge seemed in trouble.

Veteran Nick Wood, who was unluckily run out  for 25 runs, put on a partnership of 56 with Tom Williams for the seventh wicket who remained not out at the end of the home innings of 164 for 8.

Chris Mason and Lee Nicholas both notched two wickets for 19, and were the best of the Gowerton bowling.

Captain Chris Willey, who scored an earlier 25 runs, was confident at tea that enough runs had been scored to secure victory.

His prediction proved correct with the seam attack of Brad Evans (2 for 23) and Sam Routledge (3 for 7) leaving Gowerton on 33 for 7. Brad took a spectacular catch to dismiss one of the opening bats and Ben Wright took three good catches behind the wicket.

Chris Mason (40) and Luke Main (29) showed resistance at the hind end of the innings, but man of the match Tom Williams, with three wickets for 18 runs, polished them off for 104 all out in 42 overs.


Wednesday 5th June 2019



The midweek T20 team at last got a game under their belt when playing away to Dinas Powys on the common on Wednesday evening in the Vale midweek league.

Batting first Cowbridge were in trouble at 12 for 3 with Andy Harrison, John Welch and Tom Williams all back in the pavilion.

Cometh the hour and cometh the hero as Jack Cropper carried his bat to 75, an undefeated innings which included six 6s and five 4s.

He was well-assisted by Jack Davies, making his debut on behalf of one of our main sponsors, 1 Town Hall Square, who scored 50 in a partnership of 127 runs with Jack.

The innings closed at 144 for 4 in 20 overs.

Jeffrey Mitchell (46) and L Di Mauro (31), the former well run out by an accurate throw from Welch, looked as though victory would go to the home team.

Debutant Rhydian Harris had other thoughts, with his slow right arm spin gaining three vital wickets at the right time to turn the game away from Dinas.

Jack Davies, with 3 for 17, and Captain Joe Russell, 1 for 17, bowled the opposition out for 135 runs and victory by nine runs.


Saturday 1st June 2019



Cowbridge Cricket Club 1st XI extended their lead at the top of the South Wales Cricket Association Division 1 league with a comfortable away win at Maesteg Celtic. Their 19 points to 3 victory gained a point on Llanelli 84 to 80 after 5 matches both teams having opened a gap to 3rd. placed LLandysul on 68 points.

In the absence of regular skipper Chris Willey captain of the day Ben Wright was grateful that the toss was won by Maesteg who elected to bat. Only experienced opener Gareth Hopkins showed any resistance to the accurate seam attack of the visitors top scoring with 22. Brad Evans was again in the wickets with 3 for 14 in 10 overs. Although Sam Routledge the other opening bowler went without a wicket the double change to Yodin Punja 2 for 14 and Tom Williams 4 for 12 ripped the heart out of the Maesteg batting and left Nick Wood and Brad to finish off the Maesteg innings at 77 all out. Ben Wright took 3 catches behind the wicket.

After tea it was that man Ben Wright who secured a comfortable victory by 6 wickets with an untroubled 43 not out. He opened the innings with 14 year old Owen Scholey who must have gained valuable experience from this encounter. However it was not a fairy tail debut for Owen and it was left to Yodin 15 and Brad 10 to help their captain to victory at 81 for 4.




Captain Joe Russell was drafted into the First XI and left the captaincy to reliable Alistair Lawson. The Second XI was made up of a mixture of aged and youth who all played with determination to upset their visitors Mumbles. Electing to bat first Cowbridge opened the innings with Lawson and Navid Younis and the opening partnership went well but the scoring rather slow with the visitors accurate attack. When Lawson had a leading edge for 18 Navid continued to carry his bat with various other batsmen, but was unable to stamp his authority with any characteristic cavalier big hits and was 6th out in top scoring with 29. Rob Thomas having been drafted in at late notice enjoyed his visit to the wicket with a polished 24 and his stand with young Wil Harris brought the innings to a close at 127 for 8 in the allocated 40 overs.

Both teams enjoyed a lovely spread made by Pam the captains wife and it was down to serious business to get at the Mumbles batsmen. The opening pair of J. Courtney 27 and T. Hawkins 20 thought otherwise and put forward an opening stand of 51 in 11 overs. It was only when John Gilbert and Ian Evans came on to bowl that Mumbles had a little stutter. The runs slowed down and Ian with his tempting slow off spin gained a well deserved 3 wickets for 28 in his 8 overs. However the stutter was short lived and Mumbles went on to win comfortably at 128 for 4 a winning 6 wicket margin.


Saturday 25th May 2019



Undefeated Llanelli Cricket Club firsts travelled to Cowbridge for the top of the table clash in Division 1 of the SWCA League.

On a sunny afternoon, and having won the toss, captain Chris Willey elected to bat on a flat low bouncing home wicket. The old firm of Merilaht and Wright were at it again, the pair entertaining the crowd with an opening partnership of 217.

It could have been quite different had Llanelli not dropped Ben Wright at slip without scoring. However; from there on Ben reached a flawless 128 runs which included 20 fours.

When he was eventually out, caught in the deep, Tom Merilaht continued towards his own century.

He was denied at 93 having played a patient innings that included 11 fours. Brad Evans scored a quick fire 34 to conclude the innings at 271 for 3, thus gaining maximum batting points.

Brad and Sam Routledge opened the bowling and quickly got amongst the wickets making the task impossible for Llanelli. Brad eventually finished with 4 for 40 and Sam 2 for 26. When Sam Russell, Nick Wood, Yodin Punja and Tom Merilaht all chipped in with a wicket apiece, the Llanelli resistance was broken at 101 and victory gained by 170 runs.

Having taken a points haul of 20 to 3, this was good enough for Cowbridge to overtake the visitors to lead the league by 65 points to 62.

This week the first XI travel up to Llynfi Valley to play Maesteg Celtic.

They do so without the services of club captain Chris Willey. He and Gina will be getting married in Greece. Congratulations and best wishes from all at our club.




After a poor start to the season the 2nd XI were hopeful of stopping the rot with a victory at Baglan last Saturday.  Having made the short journey down the M4 to Baglan, Captain Joe Russell won the toss and elected to bat first.  The innings got off to a bright and breezy start with big hitting Naveed Younis peppering the boundary.  However, Baglan finally got a breakthrough when Naveed was out for lbw, which unfortunately then resulted in two further quick wickets, which left Cowbridge precarious at 37 for 3.

Thankfully a good partnership was then put together between Jonny Napier and Heath Webb.  Both batted very sensibly which meant the score began to rise.  Jonny was eventually out for a well made 23 with the score at 80 for 4.  Cowbridge knew they would need to post a competitive score if they had any chance of victory and the principle reason they were able to do so was down to Heath Webb.  Heath batted excellently.  Very watchful to begin with and then towards the end of the innings he began to open his shoulders and regularly find the boundary; ably supported by Joe Russell.  In the end Cowbridge finished on 137 for 6 with Heath finishing on 52 not out having scored 18 off the last over; which included two big sixes onto the A48.

Cowbridge knew that 137 was not the biggest of scores and that they would have to bowl and field well to defend such a total.  Thankfully they did.  Joe Russell and Heath Webb opened the bowling and immediately put the Baglan batsmen under pressure.  This resulted in an early wicket for Joe when he had the Baglan Captain excellently caught on the boundary by Lewis Sevenoaks.  Runs continued to be hard to come by for Baglan; which was testament to the bowling and the good fielding from Cowbridge.  At the half way point Baglan were 43 for 2 with pressure mounting on them.  This pressure was maintained with the introduction of Will Harris (1 for 23 off 6 overs) and Lewis Sevenoaks (3 for 15 off 5 overs) and wickets continued to fall.  In the end; after two wickets in two balls for the evergreen John Gilbert, Baglan were all out for 105.

This was an excellent collective team performance from Cowbridge.  It was extremely pleasing to see the effort that was put in by all members of the side; especially the youngsters.  This victory will give Cowbridge a lot of confidence that they can chalk up further victories as the season progresses.


Saturday 11th May 2019



It has not been a good week for Tata Steel and Port Talbot. The announcement that the deal to secure the future of the steelworks was  unlikely to go ahead was serious and  dispiriting. By comparison the heavy defeat taken by the eponymous Cricket Club to Cowbridge was of little importance.  

A hundred years ago Sir Sydney Byass had taken over Llandough Castle from the Ebsworth’s and also the Presidency of the Cowbridge Cricket Club. Furthermore Sir Sydney loaned a significant sum on easy terms to the Club to enable the commercial  loan which bought the ground to be repaid. He also owned the steelworks at Port Talbot.  Nationalisation of the steel industry came with the post war Labour government and Sir Geoffrey who inherited the baronetcy from Sir Sydney was left to play cricket and hunt foxes.

So there was a firm link between Cowbridge and Port Talbot which was revived last Saturday. The heavy defeat of the home side was largely the result of a Tom Merilaht scoring his eleventh century for the Club and Cowbridge posting 211- 5 before bowling the home side out for 110.

Tom and his partner Ben Wright  got Cowbridge of to a good start with a stand of 116. Ben was adjudged lbw for 56 and nobody other than Tom quite worked out that the pitch was one that was not conducive to stroke playing. So Tom just went on doing what he does best, he pushed and prodded, he nudged and he nurdled and he was still there at the end 106 not out. The ‘artful nudger’ had lived up to his nickname.

Set a big score to chase Tata’s batting had nothing of the authority that it possessed when the Club had been promoted to the Premier League four years ago. Like last week the opening pair of Brad Evans (3-35) and  Sam Routledge( 2-16) ripped the heart out of the home side’s batting reducing them to a hopeless 33-5 before Nick Wood (3-33) and Tom Williams (2-14) mopped up the rest.

It was a solid performance and after the second round of matches only Cowbridge, Llanelli and Maesteg Celtic remain undefeated.

League cricket rather than the time variety and a Port Talbot with it’s High Street hidden by shutters and nobody about on a Saturday would have surprised Sir Sydney. However had he been at the Steel Company’s ground on Saturday he could not have helped notice the very large new edifice at the eastern end of he ground.  It’s a world class biomass power station, a clean and hi-tec solution to the  question of our age.  One gets the feeling that an entrepreneur like Sir Sydney would have been rather more interested in this plant’s possibilities than trying to keep the traditional industries going in the face of unequal competition.

Tata Steel Cricket Club were faced with the unequal competition of Tom Merilaht and his pals on Saturday. There is no need for Cowbridge to do anything different as their traditional methods are working just nicely for now. You can almost hear Sir Sydney saying   ’More of the same please gentlemen’.


Saturday 4th May 2019



A devastating and dramatic spell of fast bowling by Brad Evans set Cowbridge Cricket Club’s first XI on its way to victory over visitors Llandysul by 101 runs at The Athletic Ground last Saturday.

Cowbridge had set 162 as the target for the visitors but Sam Routledge, the student from Nottingham, immediately bowled one of the opening batsmen with none of the generosity one associates with his local band of outlaws.

The next 18 balls bowled by Brad from the Bear Field end saw four further wickets fall and when he took his sweater with the figures of 6-3-4-4 the game was over as a contest.

Indeed it looked as though a very early finish was on the cards. Five wickets still stood to enable Llandysul to deliver a total. It was never likely.

Eventually the Llandysul innings managed to crawl out of the total capitulation zone but still ended on just 61 with Tom Williams, Rian Thomas, Nick Wood and Sam Russell all claiming wickets.

“You just blew us away” was the verdict of one of the Llandysul batsmen with the air of a man who had just been introduced to Dick Turpin. How right he was.

It was Brad’s accuracy and ability to bowl a full length at speed that made it so difficult for the visiting batsmen. They readily admitted that the ‘Harare Express’ was a very different proposition to that which they were used to receiving most Saturdays.

Cowbridge’s batting had not been at its best in getting 161-9 earlier in the game.

It was thanks to the ’Artful Nudger’ Tom Merilaht getting 44 with Chris Willey (29) that Cowbridge successfully got over a wobble at 33 for 3 which allowed the lower middle order to achieve a reasonable score.

The results of the matches in the First Division were interesting in that both relegated sides, Tata and Llanelli, both won well, suggesting it might turn out that these two and Cowbridge will be the ones fighting for the title in August.

It’s not a long road between Cowbridge and Margam and providing there are no meetings with HK along the way the game should provide a real clue as to how the season will pan out.

HK? Who was he? Last week’s quiz winner was Jon Smart, who offered Burwash as the residence of Kipling and a place that Cowbridge had played. It was actually Rottingdean but Jon was closest.




The 2019 season began for Cowbridge Cricket Club’s second XI in the bucolic settings of Llandysul Cricket Club, nestled by the banks of the river Teifi.

On a glorious day; if a little chilly, Cowbridge’s new captain Joe Russell won the toss and elected to field first.

Things started well for Cowbridge with Joe picking up an early wicket and the evergreen John Gilbert keeping it tight at the other end. This good bowling; allied to tight fielding from the youngsters in the side such as Owain Scholey, Lewis Sevenoaks, Will Harris and Issac Owen, meant that Llandysul were restricted to just 45 runs off the first 20 overs.

It was at this point the Llandysul batsmen clearly realised they needed to up the tempo if they were to post a competitive total, and this they did to good affect.

The run rate began to climb and despite some good bowling, Cowbridge were unable to stem the flow of runs. In the end Llandysul finished on 179 for 4 off their 20 overs.

It was disappointing for Cowbridge to have let Llandysul back into the game; having started so well, and the side will reflect on how the fielding in the second half of the game was not of the same standard of the first 20 overs.

Cowbridge knew they would have to bat well to get anywhere near the Llandysul total but this wasn’t to be.

Cowbridge never challenged the total. In the end Cowbridge finished on 77 for 9 off their 20 overs with no batsman making a telling contribution.

However; mention should be made of Owain Scholey who showed real promise with the bat in difficult circumstances.

This was a disappointing start to the season but Cowbridge shouldn’t be too downcast. The atmosphere was good amongst the side and there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to put things right.

As the phrase goes, “one swallow does not a summer make”, and this defeat should not be seen as the precursor for a poor season for Cowbridge second XI.