Pembrokeshire Cricket Vikings set sail with nail-biting victory

The talented teenagers from Pembrokeshire 


Pembrokeshire Vikings (231 for 7) beat The Forty Club (227 for 8) by 3 wickets

Venue: Imble Lane, Pembroke Dock
Umpires: Chris Stapleton & Andrew Wood
Scorer: Simon Williams
Teas sponsored by Malcolm Morris, Mal’s Taxi Company
Match ball sponsor: Richard Scriven

On Sunday 12th June the Pembrokeshire Cricket Vikings made their bow in a 40-over fixture with The Forty Club captained by Simon ‘Doc’ Holliday – and marked their team’s debut with an exciting victory off the last ball of the match!

The Cricket Vikings is a new team providing a platform for some of the talented young cricketers aged 16 to 18 years across Pembrokeshire to play together. It has been some years since a Pembrokeshire County Youth team existed and it is hoped that the Cricket Vikings will help to bridge that gap. It was fitting that no fewer than eight Pembrokeshire clubs were represented in the Vikings’ team for this inaugural fixture.

Aimed at providing collective competitive cricket for the county’s youth players

A recent article on ‘Pembrokeshire’ highlighted the risk cricket faces from losing players in the 15 to 19 years age range. The current junior pathway in Wales sees players come out of regional cricket at the age of 15 with only senior cricket ahead of them. It is essential that young cricketers have a platform to continue to play the game with their peers at the highest level possible.

Prior to the start of play, the Vikings’ players were awarded with their caps to recognise their achievement. Umpire Chris Stapleton presented the caps, the players having the honour of being the only 11 to possess one of these caps anywhere in the cricketing world. 

Prior to the call of play, a minute’s silence was observed for Keith James, a lifelong cricketing man and long-time secretary of The Forty Club who recently passed away. It was a fitting tribute to his contribution to the game.

The 40 Club make a solid start . . . and continue to attack

To the game itself and what a fantastic advert for cricket it turned out to be. The Forty Club batted first reaching a very competitive 227 for 8 in their 40 overs. Openers Rob Saunders (27) and Tom Davies (19) added 56 for the first wicket before William Phillips (1 for 30) broke the partnership. Hundleton legend Jonathan ‘Taffy’ Williams came to the wicket and was soon joined by Nick Morgan. These two compiled an excellent 77 run partnership before both fell in quick succession, Morgan Lewis dismissing Williams for 24 in a solid 2 for 41 spell. Vikings’ captain Josh Lewis (1 for 47) grabbed the wicket of Morgan to get his team back into the contest.

The Forty Club though continued to attack, Lee Morgan (11) and Ioan Roberts adding a quick-fire 68, before Roberts departed for an excellent 51. This brought Holliday to the crease, and the skipper looking to push his team past 250. However, the Vikings had different ideas, Joe Phillips (2 for 28) removing the Doc for a second-ball duck. Charlie Malloy (1 for 30) in an excellent spell of bowling then removed Morgan to set back the opposition. The young Vikings pressed home their advantage, playing some excellent cricket in the closing overs to restrict the scoring rate despite the endeavour of Mark Hicks (10) and Toby Asson (8 not out).

The Welsh Over 40s Club

Superb opening partnership for The Vikings

Following a fabulous tea, The Vikings set out on the run chase in great style. Openers Will Nicholas and Owen Phelps put together an attractive 97 run partnership to lay the foundations for victory. These two ran superbly between the wickets and punished any loose deliveries, Phelps eventually falling to Roberts (2 for 28) for an excellent 37. Nicholas was joined by Iori Humphries, these two adding 38 runs with Humphries contributing a solid 21.

The Vikings were maintaining the required run rate with Nicholas and Archie Hillier-Wood continuing to go on the offensive. Nick Morgan (3 for 49) then joined the attack and grabbed the prize wicket of Nicholas for a superb 83 including twelve glorious boundaries, seeing him fall 17 short of a deserved century. Seth Willington came to the wicket and looked to take the game away from The Forty Club, quickly striking a big six and two boundaries in his 23. But he and Hillier-Wood fell in quick succession, Holliday grabbing 2 for 44.

Result still in the balance

Scorer Simon Williams and umpire Chris StapletonThe game was now in the balance with the Vikings behind the required rate for the first time. Dom Asson perished going for a big hit to add more pressure, leaving the Vikings needing 28 runs from the final three overs. Step forward Morgan Lewis and William Phillips. These two showed real maturity, remaining calm under pressure to run well and hit the boundary, bringing the scores level with just one delivery remaining. With everyone in the ground holding their breath, Lewis struck the final delivery to the boundary to finish on 34 not out and grab the victory for the Vikings.

Coach Jonathan delighted

Following the game, Vikings coach Jon Willington said he was delighted with the success of the day.
‘I just want to thank everyone who has supported this fixture. A big thanks to Pembroke Dock CC for hosting the game, to Mal Morris for sponsoring a fabulous tea for the players, Richard Scriven for sponsoring the match ball and to Chris Stapleton, Andrew Wood and Simon Williams for umpiring and scoring.”

‘Put simply, I am delighted to see the Vikings boys having the opportunity to play together and enjoy the occasion. It was great to see these boys on the field showcasing their talent and playing with a smile. The game was played in a fantastic spirit, which was a credit to everyone involved. The finish had everyone on the edge of their seats in what was a fantastic advert for youth cricket. ’
Pembrokeshire Cricket Vikings: Josh Lewis (c) (Cresselly), Archie Hillier-Wood (Pembroke Dock), Will Nicholas (Narberth), Iori Humphries (Hundleton), Charlie Malloy (Herbrandston), Seth Willington (Hook), Morgan Lewis (Cresselly), Joe Phillips (Llangwm), Owen Phelps (Hook), Dom Asson (Llangwm), William Phillips (Haverfordwest)

The Forty Club: Simon Holliday (c), Jonathan Williams, Ian Milsom, Mark Hicks, Lee Morgan, Toby Asson, Nick Morgan, Rob Saunders, Ioan Roberts, Tom Davies.

A minutes silence held at the start