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?
Shock results in West Wales Conference
THERE were more surprise results in the West Wales Conference last weekend as Aberystwyth slipped to defeat against Talybont while UWA Commoners were also beaten by Tywyn and District.
The weekend’s other result saw Aberaeron extend their lead at the top of the table with victory over Aberystwyth Seconds.
On Sunday (Jul 8), Aberystwyth batted first against Talybont and made a good total of 219-7 from their 40 overs.
Aber lost opener Zaid Khan early on when he was caught by Sojan Varghese off the bowling of Philip Abraham for a score of 9 and Nigel Salmon made 8 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Josheff Joshi.
Abraham then trapped Ted Trewella leg before and also bowled Johnny Cordy for a duck. Ioan Morris made 10 but he was also bowled by Anish Kuriakose who later bowled Iestyn Evans for a score of 1.
Rhodri Price batted well at the top of the order as he made 69 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Dave Barrow.
Rob Rudge and Ifan Thomas then took Aber past 200 runs with the pair finishing unbeaten on scores of 50 and 31 respectively.
Talybont made a steady start in their reply with Dave Barrow scoring 20 before being caught and bowled by Zaid Khan.
Vinod Matthew made 36 before being caught by Iestyn Evans off the bowling of Nigel Salmon. The runs kept flowing as Josheff Joshi made 44 but he was then caught by Rob Rudge off the bowling of Rhodri Price.
Sojan Varghese was run out by Zaid Khan for a score of 1 and Graison John departed on the same score when he fell to the bowling of Salmon.
Anish Kuriakose then made 14 before being trapped leg before by Salmon.
Phil Abraham had been the mainstay of the innings with a score of 62 but he was eventually removed when Zaid Khan dismantled the stumps.
That left Huw Chambers at the crease and he finished not out on 15 to guide Talybont to victory.
Tywyn earn second win despite Bhatia century
Sunday’s other game produced the second shock result of the weekend as Tywyn and District earned just their second win of the season with victory over second placed UWA Commoners.
This game was a real high scoring encounter with Tywyn posting 292-7 from their 40 overs.
Richard Rees was trapped leg before by Guy Baron early on for a score of 21 but an excellent partnership between Callum Taylor and James Bradbury-Willis followed.
Bradbury-Willis hit six fours and a six in a score of 62 but he was then caught by Jacob Hughes-Pickering off the bowling of Rakesh Bhatia.
Runs continued to flow as Ed Iffla hit eight fours in a score of 41 before he was bowled by Umar Aslam.
Taylor made an excellent century with 18 fours and three sixes, scoring 107 before he was caught by Will Copeland off the bowling of Bhatia.
That did not stop the flow of runs as Dave Jenkins hit five fours and a six as he added 52 runs to the total.
The Commoners hit back late on as Bhatia had Jack Williamson caught by Neil Stent and Matthew Maslin caught by Ravi Mander.
They knew they would then need to bat well to reach their target and the made a good start to their reply.
Neil Stent made 16 before being bowled by Richard Rees and Ravi Mander scored 19 before he was caught by Callum Taylor off the bowling of Rees.
Umar Aslam was run out by Rees on a score of 7 as wickets continued to fall.
Rakesh Bhatia made his way to a half century but then saw Jacob Hughes-Pickering caught by Taylor off the bowling of Jenkins for a score of 20.
Will Copeland scored a quickfire 14 with two fours and a six but he was out to the bowling of Jenkins and Richard Lucas was then bowled by Taylor. Guy Baron scored 16 but he was then run out by Taylor.
Bhatia was the undoubted star of the innings as he made his way to remarkable score of 162 with twenty fours and eight sixes. He was then caught by Jack Williamson off the bowling of Taylor.
With that wicket, the Commoners’ hopes faded and they finished all out on 282, just ten runs short of victory.
Aberaeron ease past Seconds
Saturday’s (Jul 7) game was more straightforward as league leaders Aberaeron earned a ten-wicket win over Aber Seconds.
The Seconds won the toss and chose to bat but they were all out for 107 as Hywel Rees and Sion Lewis both took three wickets.
Ted Trewella was the first to fall when he was caught off the bowling of Simon Mitchell for a duck and he also then bowled Jack Page for a duck.
Dafydd Jones and Zaid Khan offered some resistance but both fell victim to Rees who had them caught by Louis Fice and Chris Strange for scores of 18 and 21 respectively.
Rees then claimed his third wicket as he had Alwyn Davies caught by Neil Snowdon for a score of 8.
Steff Rees then joined in on the action as he had Owen Keyworth caught by Mitchell for a score of 11.
Ioan Morris also offered late resistance with a score of 23 but he was then bowled by Sion Lewis. Steffan Davies was then bowled by Paul Hughes and Tomos Williams fell in the same manner to Lewis.
Lewis then had Bryn Morris stumped by Fice as the Seconds’ innings came to a close.
Aberaeron’s openers J Fice and David Grinszpan were then untroubled in their reply as they guided their side to a comfortable win.
Grinszpan was not out on 46 with seven fours while Fice hit ten fours as he finished unbeaten on 52.
On Saturday (Jul 14), two teams that lost last weekend will be in action as Aberystwyth play host to the UWA Commoners.
On Sunday (Jul 15), Talybont face league leaders Aberaeron and Tywyn & District will be looking for another win when they take on Aberystwyth Seconds.
Celebrating sports in Ceredigion
CEREDIGION Sports Council held the 2018 Ceredigion Sports Awards on Friday, July 6, at Penmorfa, Aberaeron.
The Ceredigion Sports Council looks to help all sports clubs from grass roots level to the pinnacle of achievement as internationals.
The Chairman of Ceredigion Sports Council, Councillor Gareth Lloyd said: “This event is organised in partnership with Ceredigion Actif and brings together all that is good about local sport and the people who make it happen. Sport, physical activity and healthy lifestyles are very much a living part of our culture in Ceredigion’s communities.
“We need to continue to invest and develop people and places for future generations to benefit. A deserved thank you to all our supporters, to Sport Wales and Disability Sport Wales for their contributions. Also, to Ceredigion County Council, who have backed us for over a quarter of a century.”
Ian Carswell, from the Teifi Boating Club was awarded the prestigious award of ‘Ceredigion Sports Coach of the Year’ and Mr Eirian Reynolds was awarded the ‘Disability Sport Wales Volunteer Award’.
The ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ was awarded to Catrin Davies who gives a great deal of her time to activities within the school and the community of Tregaron. The ‘Bronze Young Ambassador of the Year’ was awarded to four pupils from Plascrug School, Aberystwyth while the ‘Young Ambassador of the Year’ was presented to Osian Davies, a pupil from Ysgol Bro Teifi.
Another esteemed award that was presented during the ceremony was the ‘Unsung Hero Award’. This award was established three years ago, in recognition of people who dedicate a great deal of their time and effort ‘behind the scenes’ of sports clubs and teams. This year, Tricia Chapman who is a committed volunteer at Ceredigion Netball won the award.
Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Catrin Miles said: “Ceredigion County Council is proud to have backed Ceredigion Sports Council for over 25 years as we ensure achievements within sport are recognised and celebrated.
“We are fully committed to supporting the many sporting activities and opportunities here in Ceredigion. Congratulations to everyone who has been awarded and it’s inspiring to hear of the number of fantastic local sports people we have in our county!”
Wales 7’s Head Coach, Gareth Williams presented 23 sports people with a commemorative certificate in recognition from the Ceredigion Sports Council for becoming internationals and representing Wales for the first time in the past year.
The ‘Talented Junior Individuals Award’ was given to 20 successful applicants of a grant. The grant is to assist talented juniors of school age in their pursuit of excellence to provide training, attendance at competitions and sports equipment.
Active Communities Manager, Steven Jones said: “I’m very pleased with how successful the awards have been. It’s a testament to the number of promising sports people from Ceredigion who’ve gone on to hail success at an international level and we wish them the best of luck for the future.
“It’s also been an opportunity to show recognition to the people who provide support and vision from the beginning; the coaches and volunteers and also to the budding young ambassadors that are delivering exciting new sports projects to others in their schools and communities.
“At Ceredigion Sports Council, in partnership with Ceredigion Actif, we’re pleased to be able to continue to provide support and funding for clubs across the county.”
For more information of the work of Ceredigion Actif and Ceredigion Sports Council, visit: www.ceredigionactif.org.uk.
Large crowds expected for Bow Street Junior tournament
LARGE crowds are expected this coming weekend (Jul 14-15) for yet another huge occasion for Bow Street Football Club.
The club will be staging its sixteenth consecutive annual junior tournament. Since the inaugural tournament in 2003, the event has rapidly grown in to one of the most prestigious and successful in the whole of Wales.
The tournament is organised by the Spar Mid Wales League team, and games will take place on 9 different pitches at the club’s Cae Piod ground.
This year has again attracted an excellent number of entries with over 125 teams applying to participate in the nine different categories.
Teams from as far as Pwllheli and Pontyclun will participate on the two days, and competition takes place on Saturday at under 6’s, under 8’s, under 10’s and under 11’s. On Sunday, teams compete at under 12’s, under 14’s and under 16’s.
For the fifth year running there will be specific all girls categories, which will take place on Sunday at under 12 and 14 age groups.
The Wales Assistant Manager, Osian Roberts paid a visit to the event on the Saturday last year and stated on social media that he was very impressed by a ‘fantastic grassroots tournament’. This year, Wales Ladies international, Hannah Miles will be present on the Sunday. 20 year old Hannah is from Bow Street and played for the junior section of the club for many years.
Bow Street chairman Wyn Lewis said: “We are very proud that this tournament continues to go from strength to strength, and it is obvious from the entries that amazingly, its popularity is still increasing. It is incredible that many of our categories were full a couple of months in advance of the tournament. We are very grateful to the clubs from all over Wales who continue to support us.
“As a club we are once again grateful to Richard Warrender and family who own the Subway franchise in Aberystwyth for their kind generosity and commitment in sponsoring the event for the fifth consecutive year.”
One of the tournament organisers, Amlyn Ifans said: “This year has attracted an exciting number of entries yet again, and we look forward to an enjoyable two days competition and know that the weather is going to be very favourable! It is marvellous that a small village community club continues to facilitate such a prestigious event, which gives our own junior players valuable experience of challenging players from outside the locality.”
One of the original organisers, Allan ‘Baba’ Evans said: “I am so chuffed at the way this event has developed since we started it in 2003. I am so proud of the way that the whole club and the community have embraced the annual tournament.”
Play starts at 10.00am on both days, a wide variety of refreshments are available, and, as ever, there is ample parking space.
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