ABERYSTWYTH Town held off Carmarthen Town as they booked their place in the semi-finals of the JD Welsh Cup on Tuesday night (Mar 6).
The last meeting between the two sides just over a week ago, also at Richmond Park, saw the Black and Greens take a 3-1 lead only for the Old Gold to come back and earn a 3-3 draw.
A similar story seemed to be developing in this game as Aber took control with goals from Joe Phillips, John Owen and Malcolm Melvin gave them a 3-0 lead.
Despite Liam Thomas’ goal there was to be no repeat and Aber held on to book a semi-final date with rivals Newtown at a neutral venue on the weekend of April 7/8.
Following Saturday’s postponement of the original date Manager Neville Powell’s most pressing task which was to ensure that all his Players were available for the hastily rearranged date, and credit must be given to the First Team who made it to South West Wales en masse and ensured that Town could field an unchanged eleven.
Carmarthen made a lively start with Clayton Green lobbing over the bar and Liam Thomas bringing a save out of Mullock.
Aber responded when Declan Walker curled a shot over from Ashley Young’s corner.
Young made a superb defensive block to deny Ceri Morgan a clear chance but then the visitors made the breakthrough when another corner from Young was glanced home by Phillips for a crucial opener which put Aber’s vocal tifosi into raptures.
A rather cautious game ensued after the harem-scarem of last week, with both sides struggling to find a rhythm, and chances were restricted to Ryan Wade finding the roof of the net with a cute lob, Tom Owens firing a shot just wide and Chris Mullock doing well to gather Green’s cross, and Aber found themselves ahead at the break by 1-0.
Into the second half, Dwayne Coultress’ early shot glanced wide and Kieran Lewis lobbed over as the hosts tried to make a game of it, but once again Walker troubled the Carmarthen goal with a glancing header from Phillips’ deep cross.
With the home defence tiring John Owen started to display his dazzling skills and a backheel from the Criccieth cracker set up Matthew Jones for a low shot which Lewis deflected goalbound, and Lewis Thomas in the home goal pulled off a superb save.
Then at the three quarter mark Owen turned his marker at the edge of the area and angled a low drive into the far corner for a stunning strike to double Aber’s lead.
Three minutes later the visiting fans were disco dancing in dreamland as Owen did brilliantly to feed Phillips and his crossfield ball was perfect for Melvin to fire a beautiful 30 yard drive into the net for 3-0.
The hosts inevitably brought Aber right back to earth by getting a goal back two minutes later with Thomas firing home from close range, and with the Old Gold hitting incessant long high balls into box the pressure was on.
Walker did head over for Town, and Melvin brought a diving save from Thomas, and with Craig Hobson’s arrival as sub the Black and Greens had a strong header at both ends of the pitch.
Aber were relieved to see a Carmarthen goal chalked off on 80 minutes for offside but from that point on they defended well and ensured that the ball spent most of the six minutes of injury time upfield, and David Morgan’s final whistle ensured that Neville Powell’s Aber had booked a Welsh Cup Semi Final place with something to spare.
Aber’s fifth Welsh Cup Semi Final of the Welsh Premier era (following previous appearances in 1997,2001, 2009 and 2014) gives the Club a huge end of season boost and the tie against Newtown, at a venue yet to be decided, gives Neville Powell the chance to dream of an historic fourth Welsh Cup Final victory.
Aber must now turn their attentions to their next league game, against rivals Newtown at Latham Park on Saturday, 2:30pm kick off.
Talybont stun Commoners and Aberaeron tie
THERE were some surprise results in the West Wales Cricket Conference at the weekend as Aberaeron’s game with Tywyn on Sunday (Jun 17) ended in a tie while Talybont beat UWA Commoners on Saturday (Jun 16).
The results mean Aberaeron now lead the table by three points from the Commoners with Aberystwyth close behind in third following their win on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Commoners won the toss and elected to bat and they made a good total of 188-6 from their 40 overs.
Neil Stent departed early having scored 15 but Rakesh Bhatia and James Bryan shared a good stand for the second wicket.
Bryan hit five fours in a knock of 35 but he was caught and bowled by Philip Abraham.
Tim Hughes made 10 before he was caught off the bowling of Angelo Matthews and Jacob Hughes-Pickering added 11 before being stumped by Sojan Varghese off the same bowler.
Josheff Joshi bowled Will Copeland for a duck while Tom Goodman made a late score of 11 for the Commoners.
Bhatia top scored for his side with a knock of 80 which included 11 fours and a six.
Talybont batted well in their reply but lost Angelo Matthews when he was run out by Chris Ward while Sojan Varghese also suffered the same fate.
Philip Abraham was caught by Bhatia off the bowling of Tim Hughes while Josheff Joshi was trapped leg before by Will Copeland.
Ben Harper was the man in form for Talybont as he guided his side over the line with just five balls left to spare.
On Sunday, Aberaeron won the toss and elected to bat against Tywyn but they could only reach 132-8 in their 40 overs.
J Fice was out early on for a duck as he was caught by Ellis Melia off the bowling of James Bradbury-Willis.
The same bowler then had Steff Rees caught by Dylan Williams for a score of 6.
David Grinszpan made 14 but was then caught by Jack Williamson off the bowling of Richard Rees who then also bowled Hywel Rees.
Alexander Pitchford scored 11 but was then caught by Dave Jenkins off the bowling of Bradbury-Willis.
That left Aberaeron on 42-5 but a partnership of 66 took them past a century of runs.
Dave Floyd made 10 before he was caught by Rees off the bowling of Jenkins and Neil Snowdon added 12 before he fell to the same bowler.
Jenkins then claimed his third wicket as he had Daf Floyd caught by Jack Morris for a duck.
Jenkinson and Mark Gleason then saw their side to their total with Jenkinson not out on 37 and Gleason not out on 14.
Niki Williams fell early in Tywyn’s reply as he caught by Floyd off the bowling of Steff Rees.
Bradbury-Willis and Richard Rees batted well together with Rees scoring 19 before he was caught by Snowdon off the bowling of Grinszpan.
Bradbury-Willis scored 23 but he was caught by Pitchford off the bowling of Paul Hughes who also had Jack Morris caught by Snowdon for a score of 9.
Jack Williams also batted well for his knock of 33 but he was stumped by Floyd off the bowling of Snowdon.
Dave Jenkins added 15 before being bowled by Rees and Matthew Maslin was run out as Tywyn’s chances of victory faded.
Ted Hughes kept his nerve however as he scored 4, the last of his runs coming with the very last ball of the game to earn a tie for his side.
The other game on Sunday saw Aberystwyth Firsts beat their Second team.
Aber firsts won the toss but elected to field and that proved to be a good decision as they were bowled out for 144.
Tom Constantine was bowled by Gareth Lewis for a duck and Carwyn Jenkins followed soon after when he was trapped leg before by Rowan Dunbabin.
Dafydd Jones and Owen Keyworth batted well together before Keyworth was caught by Ted Trewella off the bowling of Ceri John for a score of 34.
Jones had made 36 but he was caught by Bryn Morris off the bowling of Dunbabin.
Dunabin also had Anthony Evans caught by Gareth Lewis and he then bowled Alwyn Davies and Steffan Davies.
Ioan Morris scored 18 before he was caught by Zaid Khan and Gareth Lewis bowled Dylan Jenkins for a duck.
Emlyn Mainwearing was also bowled by Kahn for a duck and that left Gwern Penri not out on 20.
In reply, Aber firsts lost Johnny Cordy when he was caught by Dafydd Jones off the bowling of Constantine and Tom Williams when he was bowled by Mainwearing
Ifan Thomas only scored 5 before he was also bowled by Constantine.
Zaid Khan and Ceri John then swung the game in the firsts’ favour with a good partnership which was eventually ended when John was caught by Constantine off the bowling of Penri for a score of 50.
Ted Trewella was out for a duck when he was caught by Carwyn Jenkins off the bowling of Alwyn Davies.
The Seconds could not remove Khan as he finished not out on 63 to help the firsts over the line.
On Saturday (June 23), Aberystwyth are at home as they take on Aberaeron in what could be another crucial match in the race for the title.
On Sunday (June 24), Talybont host Tywyn & District while the UWA Commoners will be looking to bounce back from defeat when they take on Aberystwyth Seconds.
We take life too lightly and sport too seriously
By Jonathan Twigg
DEBATE rages in Wales at present, where rugby has infiltrated the summer domain of cricket, which has held unparalleled dominance of the summer sunshine.
There has been a culture change, whereby summer tours and early season fixtures of the traditional winter sports means earlier starts.
Look no further than next seasons football league championship season for Swansea City, starting on Saturday (Aug 5) until Sunday (May 26) 2019.
The outcry from the boundary ropes comes more about how mini ruby has become a summer sport, bulldozered through, as opposed to negotiated.
WRU figurehead in this Ryan Jones, former Wales captain and British Lion parading the paraphernalia, Cricket Wales Development Officer Keri Chahal, having face to face meetings to form common ground.
The winner, undoubtedly now rugby as their mini game is happening in front of our eyes, but has cricket lost?
Not looking at the participation statistics in the new ‘All Stars’ programme, where children bestowed in blue attire are bouncing around cricket fields in the sunshine, the magic there to entice the next generation.
What sells it to parents, who undoubtedly influence their siblings? The paradox of ‘I played the game, so you must do also’ may live in both sports, but it’s more than that.
Attendances at international matches, in cricket’s case by supporting England, well the England and Wales Cricket Board side, the pathway? Saturday (Jun 16) saw them rock up in Cardiff, rugby capital of Wales, the Swalec Stadium to be precise, skirting the River Taff through Bute Park, the hosts leading a five match series against Australia 1-0.
Sell out you would think? Far from it; the Principality Stadium, bestowed with a retractable roof, unequivocally is, if Australia are the visitors, the Swalec attracted around 13,000, a fifth of their rugby rivals capacity.
Does cricket lack that panache to attract the floating spectator, often then with the family in tow? The game has stand out stars, opening batsman Jason Roy pulverising the Aussie attack, the Richardson’s, Jhye and Kane, of no blood synchronisation, a rarity in this sport for two with the same name to be sharing the new ball. Root 66, the featured face of the cricketing market, Joe, England Captain present, alongside former Glamorgan opening bowler Alex Wharf, making his ODI debut, as an umpire.
Coloured clothing, blue against yellow for the 11am start, the Aussie public back home having a choice of watching cricket, World Cup football against France, or rugby as the Wallabies welcomed Ireland to Melbourne.
Cricket is sensational down under, the viewing figures from Saturday would make an interesting comparative, lifting some of the ‘doom and gloom’ emanating from our ‘middle England’ type dulcet tones of the cricketing ‘I know best brigade’.
Food for thought, or is it time for the Blazers and prawn sandwiches to be confined to the attic, relics of periods passed? 100 ball ‘City’ cricket is another gurus dream, not welcomed by the current ‘Blazers’, where Saturday’s game produced 102 runs for one wicket, from just a third of the games total deliveries.
Believe me, there was a following of supporters, some perhaps beer monsters, in fancy dress but the majority of paying punters here, at £65 were from a generation brought up on John Arlott, a commentator remembered with fondness, his soupy‑thick Hampshire vowels drawling “we take life too lightly and sport too seriously.”
‘Wise up or weep’ is the cry for cricket, as this game on paper had everything, including the proverbial rain, which has so impacted the winter sports programme to influence the thinking of the WRU game management board.
England’s batsman rattled up for the first time in history five consecutive 50 plus run partnerships with stand in skipper Josh Butler ‘ramping’ sixes over the wicket keepers head; text book they are not but part of the modern game as he brought up his own 50 in the forty first over, with 17 runs in five balls!
What are the indicators for success? Tactical understanding from a blooded skipper Tim Paine, Jason Roy 120, Josh Butler 91 not out and Johnny Bairstow 42, in England’s highest ever ODI total of 342-8, where the expectation nowadays is 300 plus. Certainly, making sunshine on a rainy day sings Zoe, although those in the know were drumming Mambo number 5 with a cucumber sandwich during the interval.
Australia, looking to save some grace on a day when their rugby and football comrades were dispensed made a fist of it, Maxwell striking 31 alongside Glamorgan star Shaun Marsh.
Marsh handled the pressure but the crowd sensed the game slipping into the memory bank, in the lowering sunlight, buoyed by the beach ball antics of amongst others, Baywatch, tennis players and the Smurfs who embraced the evening’s ambiance, before the jobsworth lumbered in.
Marsh passed 2000 white ball runs on his way to 131, the end coming through Roy’s match winning catch to secure the star player award as over 600 runs were chalked in the scorebook. Something was missing, no pyrotechnics from which to salivate. Down to the pitch maybe, a slow burner typifying middle England in the centre of Wales, or is the product label just too predictable. Maybe a famous son of Yorkshire can answer that, after all he was called upon to ring the five minute ‘bell’ to signal the start of play.
That Yorkshireman; Neil Warnock; the irony, Manager of the newest Premier League football team, Cardiff City, promoted last season from the Championship, brought in for ‘iconic value’. Can the traditional sports share the space before time is called one wonders, with no frills, no fuss, depicted serenely by Arlott.
That memory is worth a toast, of his favourite Beaujolais tipple, for this is cricket as we know it, but for how much longer?
Strange double-ton stuns Commoners
IT was a high scoring weekend in the West Wales Cricket Conference as over 1300 runs were scored across the three games.
Six-hundred of those runs came in one game on Saturday (Jun 9), as Aberaeron scored 306-4 to overcome the UWA Commoners’ score of 305-6 in what was a thrilling game.
Aberaeron won the toss and elected to field but the Commoners blasted their way past 300 runs as Umar Aslam top scored with an excellent knock of 154 which included 11 fours and 12 sixes.
Neil Stent and Rakesh Bhatia had earlier scored 23 and 26 respectively in an opening stand of 43 but after both had gone, Aslam and Jacob Hughes-Pickering shared 122 runs for the third wicket.
Hughes-Pickering was out for 24 but Aslam and Will Copeland shared another good stand of 83 as they closed in on a triple-century of runs.
Copeland was bowled by Jacob Jenkinson on a score of 21 before Aslam’s remarkable innings came to an end when he was stumped by J Fice off the bowling of Hywel Rees.
A late score of 17 from Ian Lawton then saw the Commoners to their total of 305-6 off their 40 overs.
Aberaeron knew they would need to bat well if they were to get close to their target but when they lost opener J Fice and Jacob Jenkins early on, things did not look good for the home side.
David Grinszpan scored 31 but he was then run out by Neil Stent and Aberaeron were 80-3.
Chris Strange and Steff Rees then swung the game in Aber’s favour as they shared 179 runs for the fourth wicket.
Steff Rees was the next man out when he was bowled by Ian Lawton for a score of 36 which included three fours and two sixes.
Strange had made his way to an equally remarkable double-century as he hit 24 fours and 14 sixes in his score of 204 not out which saw Aberaeron over the line.
Also on Saturday, Talybont earned victory over Aberystwyth Seconds by 67 runs.
Talybont batted first and after losing openers Ben Harper and Josheff Joshi cheaply, Huw Chambers and Graison John took control.
John hit six fours in a knock of 37 before he was caught by Ioan Morris off the bowling of Nigel Salmon.
Philip Abraham then made an identical score before he was caught and bowled by Amlyn Ifans.
Chambers also hit six fours in his knock of 52 before he was caught by Rob Rudge off the bowling of Morris.
Dave Barrow made 21 before being bowled by Salmon and G Smith finished not out on 34 (two fours, three sixes) as he guided Talybont to their total of 220-7.
Aber Seconds also lost opener Nigel Salmon early when he was trapped leg before by Abraham who also bowled Amlyn Ifans.
Zaid Khan did not last long at the crease either as he caught by Sojan Varghese off the bowling of Josheff Joshi.
Opener Ted Trewella made his way to a score of 43 but he was then caught by Abraham off the bowling of Graison John.
John also dismissed Tom Constantine for a score of 20 and James Breese for a score of 18 as Aber Seconds chances began to fade.
Titus Mathew was bowled by Dave Barrow before John returned to bowl Bryn Morris and Ioan Morris was caught off his bowling.
Rob Rudge had finished not out on 19 but Aber seconds were all out for 153 as Talybont earned victory.
There was a close game on Sunday (Jun 10) as Aberystwyth’s first team secured a narrow 10-run win over Tywyn and District.
Aber batted first after winning the toss and they made 167-6 in their 40 overs.
Ceri John made 17 as he opened the innings before he was caught by Matthew Maslin off the bowling of Richard Rees.
Mel Jones score 19 but was also caught by Dylan Williams off the bowling of Ed Hughes.
James Breese batted well for Aber as he made his way to a score of 53 before he was caught by Dave Jenkins off the bowling of Hughes.
Tom Constantine and Ifan Thomas both scored 18 before they fell to the bowling of Callum Taylor and Ed Hughes respectively.
Robert Rudge and Dafydd Jones finished the innings unbeaten as they steered Aber to their total.
Tywyn then did their best to overhaul Aber’s total and they made a good start as Callum Taylor and Richard Rees shared 89 runs for the first wicket.
However, when Rees fell to the bowling of Titus Mathew for a score of 15, wickets began to fall at regular intervals.
Taylor had made an excellent score of 67 but was caught by Dafydd Jones off the bowling of Breese.
Mathew also had Jack Mynard stumped and Gareth Lewis had Dave Jenkins caught for a score of 12.
Breese had the wickets of Dan Williams (0), Jamie Tomkins (5), and Ted Hughes (0), as he finished with good figures of 4-20 from his nine overs.
Matthew Maslin made a late score of 10 before he was out to the bowling of Anthony Evans and his wicket brought the game to a close with Tywyn ten runs short on 157.
Those results mean that Aberaeron now lead the West Wales by two points from the Commoners. Aberystwyth sit third with Talybont close behind in fourth.
On Saturday (Jun 16), Talybont host the UWA Commoners. On Sunday (Jun 17), Aberystwyth Seconds host Aber’s first team and Tywyn take on Aberaeron.
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