Bowl holders Neyland battle to another final - match report and pictures by Bill Carne

Ashley Sutton - top scored for Neyland 

Harrison-Allen Bowl Semi-Final:


Neyland (160 for 5) beat Cresselly (158 for 4) by 2 runs

Umpires: Dave Brandon and Gareth Brace
Scorers: John Laugharne & Teagan Cartwright
Venue: Kilgetty Cricket Club
Neyland will be back to contest the magnificent trophy they won last year after edging a two-run victory over Cresselly, who with four overs to go looked hot favourites to play in the final on their home ground.
But Neyland bowlers Ross Hardy and Patrick Hannon conspired with some excellent fielding and excellent field setting to break Cresselly hearts because they know they had a great chance of victory, especially for young skipper Iwan Izzard, who batted quite superbly but was left two runs short of what would have been a terrific century, at the end.
It was a semi-final that showed Pembrokeshire Cricket at its very best as two very good teams played hard, competitive cricket, very big hitting, good ground fielding, dropped catches - but always in a positive spirit as umpires Dave Brandon and Gareth Brace played their part with their quiet, firm control on events.
Kilgetty Cricket Club also deserves a mention for its staging of the game, with the ground in superb condition and a pitch looking full of runs. Groundsmen Graham Jenkins, Trevor Badham, Ian Poole and Colin Williams had put in an immense amount of work and it was a treat to see how attractive the whole ground looked!

Slow start for Neyland before Hardy led the counter-attack

Cresselly won the toss and invited Neyland to bat, and the ploy had a good start as Neyland’s prolific openers Nick Koomen and Ross Hardy could only muster a single from each of the first two overs bowled by Ryan Lewis and Dan James.
But this pair of proven run-getters moved quickly through the gears and reached their 50 partnership in the seventh over – and marched on to 71 in the 11th over before Mike Shaw’s off-spinners tempted Koomen, who was caught by Tom Arthur having rapped two sixes and two fours in his 26 from 28 balls.
Hardy was his usual belligerent batting self but Arthur was again involved four runs later when he was bowled for 41, made from only 31 deliveries and containing seven fours and a six – and the celebrations from the Cresselly camp showed what an important cog he is in the Neyland engine.
With 75 runs at the half way mark it looked as if a big score was on the cards but Cresselly did well to contain the run rate as Mike Shaw and Arthur bowled their full six-over quotas and Neyland lost the wickets of Nathan Banner (12), Brad McDermott-Jenkins (8) and Scott Jones (9) at key times.
But Ashley Sutton made sure there was no collapse with a cultured 52 not out in 45 balls and including five fours, so that although their tally was reduced by the trio of losses they posted 160 for 5, which pundits on the boundary seemed to think was about a par score.

Where did that go? Iwan Izzard belts one of his seven sixes!

Bright start for Cresselly but key wickets go

Cresselly certainly started their response with a bang as Dan Sutton and Alex Bayley scored 18 runs in the first six balls– but the ubiquitous Hardy then conceded just a single from his first over at the other end to redress the balance.
Hardy then claimed the first wicket when Bayley chipped back a simple return catch when on seven and there was pure relief for the Neyland contingent in the large crowd when the in-form Sutton holed out to a good Andrew Miller catch off McDermott-Jenkins when he had reached 26 (four fours) from 27 balls, with the score on 41.
Matthew Morgan was unable to score before he was stumped by Sean Hannon off McDermott-Jenkins; a sharp piece of glove-work as Morgan lost sight of where the ball was and Hannon reacted in a flash.

Tom Arthur - bowled well for Cresselly

Cresselly looked favourites for a while – but Neyland fight back

Ross Hardy, batted and bowled well for NeylandHis demise brought Ryan Lewis to the crease alongside captain Iwan Izzard, who had already begun to show signs of his batting power with some big hitting – but Lewis was unable to exert his usual considerable interest and departed for 11 from 16 deliveries to leave Cresselly on 83 for 4 in the 13th over.
Tom Murphy came to the crease and helped Izzard take the score to 134 with four overs remaining, playing the foil to Izzard, who looked likely to take his team to victory as Neyland uncharacteristically downed a couple of catches at key times.
So Cresselly looked favourites to win but skipper Sean Hannon called up his twin brother to join Ross Hardy for the final four overs and Hardy conceded only two and six runs and Hannon started with an eight-run over which left 11 needed off the final over.
Hannon utilised the yorker well and only two singles accrued from the first five balls before Izzard blitzed his seventh maximum, along with eight earlier fours, to take him to a tantalising 98 not out and an even more tantalising margin of two runs in defeat.
Neyland’s joy, and relief, was evident and one could only feel sorry for Cresselly in their clear dismay but using the old cliché it was local cricket that was the winner of a semi that would have graced any final!

Mutual respect at the end


Neyland Batting:
Nick Koomen ct Tom Arthur b Mike Shaw 26
Ross Hardy b Tom Arthur 41
Ashley Sutton not out 52
Nathan Banner ct Neilson Cole b Tom Arthur 12
Brad McDermott-Jenkins b Ryan Lewis 8
Scott Jones b Tom Murphy 9
Sean Hannon not out 4
Extras 8
Total (5 wickets) 160
Cresselly Bowling:
Ryan Lewis 5-0-42-1; Dan James 2-0-12-0; Mike Shaw 6-0-34-1; Tom Arthur 6-0-38-2; Tom Murphy 3-0-31-1
Cresselly Batting:
Dan Sutton ct Andrew Miller b Brad McDermott-Jenkins
Alex Bayley ct & b Ross Hardy 7
Iwan Izzard not out 98
Matthew Morgan st Sean Hannon b Brad McDermott-Jenkins 0
Ryan Lewis b Geraint Rees b Henry Durrant 11
Tom Murphy not out 12
Extras 4
Total (4 wickets) 158
Neyland Bowling:
Nathan Banner 3-0-46-0; Ross Hardy 6-1-18-1; Brad McDermott-Jenkins 6-0-26-1; Andrew Miller 2-0-20-0; Henry Durrant 3-0-32-1; Patrick Hannon 2-0-14-0

Kingsmoor Ground at Kilgetty - in superb condition