Haverfordwest Blue Lightning come second in rain-reduced Welsh U19 T20 Finals

The Haverfordwest Blue Lightning team

The Haverfordwest Blue Lightning team
Skipper Kieran O'Connor
Jake Merry
Lewis Hough

Haverfordwest Blue Lightning flew the Pembrokeshire Cricket Flag with pride as they finished runners up in the Welsh under 19s cricket finals at Newport, beating the host club but losing out to eventual winners Neath in a three-way contest after North Walian team Pwllheli withdrew from the planned semi-finals on the Sunday morning of the games.

So the Haverfordwest team, which was coached by Simon Williams and Huw Scriven, competed in a round-robin event format – and the weather saw each contest reduced to 15 overs per side.

Neath (115-6) beat Haverfordwest Blue Lightning (72 all out) by 43 runs

Skipper Kieran O ConnorThe Blue Lightning faced Neath in the opening game and after losing the toss, Kieran O’Connor and co were asked to field.

Neath posted 115-6 with Sam Mogford scoring 32 off 27 balls (four fours), and fellow opener James Archer hitting 23 (four fours) as the pair put on 50 for the first wicket.

Both were removed by Archie Thomas though as he took 2-32 in his three overs, and No 3 Ryan Thomas (6) was run out after sharp work by Haverfordwest keeper Jack Scriven.

Daniel Davies (16) and namesake Evan (10 not out) helped push the total past three figures but O’Connor’ side kept things in check as Lewis Rhead (1-10) and Lewis Hough (1-9) took a wicket each, and the latter also executed a run out with a direct hit.

But their reply never got going as they struggled to 72 for 8.

No 3 Jake Merry (13) and O’Connor (14) both got starts with a boundary each, and Loui Davies (8) also notched a four but no one managed to cut loose on an inevitably damp outfield.

David Picking took three wickets for Neath, Nathan Dalwell took two, and Adam Silvester and Evan Davies also took a wicket each.

Neath Batting:
Sam Mogford b Archie Thomas 32
James Archer b Archie Thomas 23
Ryan Thomas run out (Jack Scriven) 6
Daniel Davies ct Johnny White b Lewis Hough 16
Adam Silvester st Jack Scriven b Lewis Rhead 6
Simon James (run out) Lewis Hough 5
Evan Davies not out 10
Nathan Dalwell not out 0
Extras 19
Total (6 wickets) 117
Haverfordwest Blue Lightning Bowling:
Johnny White 3-0-29-1; Loui Davies 3-0-16-0; Kieran O’Connor 3-0-12-0; Archie Thomas 3-0-31-2; Lewis Rhead 2-0-9-1; Lewis Hough 1-0-10-0
Haverfordwest Blue Lightning Batting:
Nikhil Mathias b Adam Silvester 5
Archie Thomas b Evan Davies 0
Jake Merry st Nathan Lee b Nathan Dalwell 13
Kieran O’Connor ct Nathan Lee b Nathan Dalwell 14
Lewis Hough b Ryan Thomas 3
Loui Davies st Nathan Lee b David Picking 8
Owen Jones retired 0
Jack Scriven ct Simon Thomas b David Picking 1
Lewis Rhead not out 4
Johnny White ct Simon Thomas b David Picking 3
Cyril Varghese not out 0
Extras 21
Total (9 wickets) 72
Neath Bowling:
Adam Silvester 3-0-11-1; Evan Davies 2-0-7-1; Nathan Dalwell 3-0-11-2; Ryan Thomas 3-0-17-1; David Picking 2-0-6-3; Callum Wilkinson 2-0-11-0

Haverfordwest Blue Lightning (106-5) beat Newport (65-8) by 41 runs

Jake MerryIt meant Blue Lightning simply had to beat Newport to keep their hopes alive, but after opting to bat, the Lightning got a poor start as openers Nikhil Mathias and Archie Thomas fell to Jack Wright for ducks.

But Merry and O’Connor rebuilt matters, putting on 29 before the skipper went for 13 (one four).

Merry went on to make 26 (one four) to leave matters at 56-4, but then came a pivotal stand of 45 between Hough and Davies, both playing for the Blue Lightning since their Narberth team weren’t involved in the competition.

Hough hammered 38 not out off 24 balls, including four fours and a six, as Davies (15) played the ideal foil before Jack Scriven (1 not out) came in as Haverfordwest posted 106-5.

And they then bowled and fielded superbly to restrict Newport to 65-8, with only Tom Lynbeck ever looking settled as he made 17 (two fours).

All from three over stints, Jonny White (1-16), Davies (3-13), O’Connor (2-5), Thomas (1-13) and Hough (1-5) shared wickets.

Lewis HoughHaverfordwest Blue Lightning Batting:
Nikhil Mathias ct Thomas Lynbeck b Jack Wright 0
Archie Thomas b Jack Wright 0
Jake Merry b Charlie Stewart 26
Kieran O’Connor st Tom Berry b John Probert 13
Lewis Hough not out 38
Loui Davies ct Jack Waters b Thomas Lynbeck 15
Jack Scriven not out 1
Extras 13
Total (5 wickets) 105
Newport Bowling:
Jack Wright 3-0-16-2; Charlie Stewart 3-0-25-1; Lewis Probert 3-0-17-1; Thomas Lynbeck 3-0-15-1; Jack Davies 2-0-19-0, Lewis Protheroe 1-0-11-0
Newport Batting:
Tom Evans b Loui Davies 4
Ryan Avery ct Kieran O’Connor b Johnny White 3
Tom Berry b Loui Davies 5
Lewis Protheroe b Loui Davies 1
Jack Waters b Kieran O’Connor 2
Oscar Waters b Kieran O’Connor 7
Thomas Lynbeck not out 17
Charlie Stewart ct Lewis Hough b Archie Thomas 8
Jack Wright b Lewis Hough 1
Lewis Probert not out 3
Extras 14
Total (8 wickets) 65
Haverfordwest Blue Lightning Bowling:
Johnny White 3-0-10-1; Loui Davies 3-0-13-3; Kieran O’Connor 3-0-5-2; Lewis Rhead 1-0-11-0; Archie Thomas 3-0-13-1; Lewis Hough 2-0-5-1

Newport (104-4) lost to Neath (87-2) on Duckworth Lewis

It all meant a Newport win over Neath would see all sides finish on one win each, but the hoped-for result didn’t materialise for the Lightning, with Neath reaching 87-2 as they chased 105 to win before the rain came down.

It meant a Duckworth-Lewis win for Neath, and they were crowned Welsh champions with Haverfordwest finishing second.

It still represented a great cup run for Haverfordwest Blue Lightning, who were well captained by Kieran O’Connor and also included Zac White and Cyril Varghese in their squad. Talented youngster Evan Watts would also have played but was too young under the rules of the competition!

Nitin Mathias and Simon Williams scored for the Blue Lightning in a game apiece and the club was grateful for all who helped, including Cricket Wales for help in providing a bus to the finals.