2021 Harrison-Allen Bowl - Final Previews by Bill, Gordon and Fraser

Bill Carne 

Neyland start as hot favourites … but …


Bill Carne

The Harrison-Allen Bowl Final takes place on Saturday in its new place as the final game in the season’s fixtures organised by the Pembroke County Cricket Club and a fascinating fixture is in prospect as Neyland look to complete a League and Bowl double against a Carew side renowned for its ability to battle hard and relish the role of underdogs.
Having spoken to players and officials across the county it seems that Neyland are hot favourites but Sean Hannon and his team would read that all they have to do is turn up to win at their peril because The Rooks have several match-winning performers backed up by other seasoned players who know their roles and will be looking to play vital parts as well.

So where will the match be won and lost?

On the batting front Carew will be looking for big runs from Lewis Hicks, Ian Sefton and Rhys Davies, and if all three fire on all cylinders there could be a veritable run feast since Nick Davies, Luke Hicks, Brian Hall and skipper Shaun Sefton can also hit bag big runs – and they bat all the way down the order with no ‘rabbits’.
Neyland have the same powerhouse batting via Nick Koomen, Patrick Bellerby, Ross Hardy and Ashley Sutton, who thrives on the big occasions, whilst Nathan Banner (remember his previous innings here?), Brad McDermott-Jenkins, Scott Jones and Henry Durrant provide the perfect balance – and they bat right down to Sean and Patrick Hannon at 10 and 11!

Such variety in Neyland bowling attack

I think Neyland hold the edge in the bowling stakes because of their variety, with Henry Durrant (left arm), Banner, Hardy, Patrick Hannon, McDermott-Jenkins as the pace options, whilst Andrew Miller and Jones provide their spin choices and Bellerby lurks in the wings and Koomen is key because he can bowl pace or spin!
Sion Jenkins, James Hinchliffe, Rhys Davies and skipper Whitfield are key pace bowlers for Carew alongside Iori Hicks, with Ceri Brace as the main spinner but there are others who can turn their arm – but they don’t appear to have the choices that Neyland have.

Fielding could be vital

Of course a major factor on the day is the fielding and catching and for a number of years now Neyland have been regarded as the top side, based on their vast number of games played at a high level and the fact that they have honed their skills by most of them playing indoor cricket – and with Sean Hannon as sharp as ever with the gloves, as well as taking an occasional turn as a bowler.
Iori Hicks typifies the Carew fielding and they are fiercely competitive in closing down opposition’s scoring areas as players like Brian Hall and Rhys Davies knowing the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.

Other factors

Both have excellent leadership as Hannon has led from the front in other finals and big match occasions but although this is Shaun Whitfield’s first year at the helm he is a good reader of play and will be very positive in his approach.
Supporters will also be involved again and both sides have vociferous support, with families likely to throng to Cresselly for the big day – and with Neyland having a huge crowd likely to attend and The Rooks never short of support.
It looks like being a great day where anything could happen, with Carew having whetted their appetite by winning the ‘Aled Davies 100’ last weekend and Neyland edging out Lawrenny in the league chase.
That showed their unwillingness to accept defeat and for their staying power I think they will retain The Bowl but my word they will have to be op top form to beat the battling Rooks!

Neyland to retain Bowl at expense of Carew

Gordon Thomas

Gordon ThomasIt’s the biggest game of the Pembroke County Cricket Club calendar as top team Neyland locks horns with Carew in the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final, which is annually played at Cresselly.

These Division One teams have tremendous history in this competition, but the big question is who is going to get their hands on the magnificent Bowl trophy?

Neyland must start as favourites . . .

Current holders Neyland must go into the clash as favourites, but Carew will make sure they don’t have it all their own way in a two innings apiece, consisting of 22 overs affair.

Neyland have beaten Hook, Lawrenny and Cresselly to reach the final, while Carew got the better of Saundersfoot, Narberth, Kilgetty and Burton.

The Black Caps have probably the stronger line-up on paper, so I feel the Rooks will have to be at their best if they’re going to cause an upset.

Neyland have plenty of experienced and potential match winners in their team such as dynamic batsmen Ashley Sutton, Patrick Bellerby and Scott Jones alongside all-rounders Nick Koomen, Ross Hardy, Nathan Banner, Brad McDermott-Jenkins, and Andrew Miller – and when you add skipper Sean Hannon and his twin brother Patrick the line-up oozes class.

. . . But Carew will relish being underdogs

Mind Carew will not be there just to make up the numbers as skipper Shaun Whitfield will be gunning to get his team firing on all cylinders.

The high calibre of batsmen for the Rooks such as Ian Sefton, Lewis Hicks, Luke Hicks and Nick Davies are the potential run gatherers with all-rounders Rhys Davies, Shaun Whitfield and Sion Jenkins also capable keeping the scoreboard ticking as well as contributing by taking big wickets.

Obviously, it goes without saying the team which handles the pressure and performs to their full potential will go on and lift the coveted trophy.

Local cricket is sure to be the winner!

It is sure to be a fantastic occasion - it will be great to see supporters back at the ground again to add to the atmosphere.

I fancy Neyland to win as they have a stronger all-round team than Carew, but in the shorter version of the game anything is likely to happen on the day.

It will be a fascinating contest, but the true winner will surely be Pembrokeshire Cricket.


Fraser backs Neyland to beat Carew over two innings

Fraser Watson

Fraser WatsonI've said for some time now I'd back Neyland over two innings against any side in the county, so I'd be lying if I said I didn't make them favourites for Saturday.
Since losing to Cresselly at this stage in 2009, they've won 11 out of the 13 cup competition finals they've been in, the only defeats being a rain-affected Duggie Morris match against Haverfordwest back in 2012 and that Welsh Cup final against Ammanford three years ago.
I had wondered if the schedule had got to them lately when they followed that Lawrenny defeat with exits in the Village and Welsh Cups, but to bounce back the way they did under pressure on Saturday underlined just how used to the big occasion they've become.
They'll have selection issues, especially after Gary Lloyd's display in that title decider, but regardless their XI will be very strong.
But by no means do I envisage a one-sided affair like they had against Haverfordwest last season. This Carew side is a dangerous one, and to play, and subsequently win, that Aled Davies Hundred tournament last weekend would have been perfect preparation.
It might have been slightly different rules, but to get in the mode of playing attacking cricket - and batting and bowling twice over the course of one day - would have served well.
And they won't be short of motivation. Not since 2010 have The Rooks won a Harrison-Allen Bowl and not since 2012 have they been in a final - too long for a club of their stature. 
The pitch will be a road and they have the attacking batsmen to do damage. They'll have selection dilemmas too but if the likes of Tim and Luke Hicks get away at the top of the order, they'll put Neyland under real pressure.
In summary, like many others I think Neyland will win it.
But I also think Carew can win it.