Llanelli 100-9 (50) drew with Dafen Welfare 188-8 (50)
AFTER Llanelli had won so well in the previous round of fi xtures, chasing down 188 to win by fi ve wickets against Maesteg Celtic, and Dafen Welfare had struggled to a draw against Briton Ferry scoring 130 runs less than their visitors, Llanelli will have been confi dent heading into the first Llanelli derby of the season. However it was Dafen who displayed the greater urgency and poise to post a commanding total which allowed the brilliant bowling of Phillip George (5-38) to dismantle a shell-shocked Llanelli batting line up. Winning the toss and electing to bat on a fi ne surface at Stradey Park openers Matthew Evans (35) and Nicky Davies (36) got the visitors off to a flying start, racing to 71 before Evans departed.
After getting this vital breakthrough Llanelli were buoyed still further when number three Daydd Nicholas was dismissed for a second ball duck. However this only brought Kelvin Bartle to the crease and he struck a majestic 48 from just 56 balls including three massive sixes to propel his side towards three figures. Matthew Roberts came to the party when called upon to bowl by his skipper Iwan Rees, taking a host of middle order wickets including that of Bartle. Finishing with figures of 3-48 in his nine over spell he also claimed the scalps of Gareth Hughes (0) and Ieaun Rosser (6). Backed up by Vaughan Thomas (2-41) and a wicket apiece for Iwan Rees and Lewis Jones, they restricted Dafen to 188, when it had looked like they may score so much more at one point after such a promising start. The Llanelli reply got off to a terrible start as both openers nicked behind to the safe hands of Daniel Vaughan, with Marcus Leaf (3) falling to Scott Phillips and Elis Richards (2) being claimed by Matthew Evans.
Despite a 28 ball 30 from number three and skipper Rees, wickets were always tumbling at regular intervals, and it seemed that after Rees and Roberts (4) departed, a decision was taken to play for a draw, as Ryan Nicholas battled to 26 from 67 deliveries and Jatin Verma hit a shot- less 13 not out in 61 balls. Verma was accompanied at the end by the brave number eleven Lewis Jones who hit 2 not out from thirty five balls to frustrate Dafen, whose bowlers deserved so much more for their efforts. As it was Phillip George ended with the match ball accompanied by Matthew Evans (2-34) and a fi ne spell of economical bowling by Jonny-on-the-spot Scott Phillips, who took 1-15 in a twelve over spell. Dafen will be hoping for better next week when they face bottom of the table Skewen who have lost both their opening games, whilst Llanelli host Llandysul.