Pembrokeshire Under 13s Enjoy Bromsgrove Festival by Jon Willington

Pembrokeshire Under 13sThe Pembrokeshire under 13s regional squad recently returned from its tour to the Bromsgrove Cricket Festival. Played at Bromsgrove School in fantastic cricket weather, the squad played three fixtures over three days. The boys enjoyed a fantastic experience and competed really well with high-quality opposition.

The team spirit was tremendous throughout with several of the boys achieving personal landmark performances.

The tour party was dealt a blow on the second morning when coach Simon Williams received the devastating news that his father had passed away suddenly. However, Simon was adamant this would not threaten the tour and stayed with the squad for day two before returning home. Thoughts go to Simon and his family as well as a big thank you to Paul Davies of Whitland CC who stepped in to support Jon Willington and ensure the boys finished the tour.

Pembrokeshire 87 for 4 beat Tower Hamlets 84 all out by 6 wickets

Pembrokeshire lost the toss and fielded first on a really good track and fast outfield. Joe Phillips (2 for 18) struck early followed by a run out by Lewis Miller to reduce the opposition to 24 for 2. Enter Harry Makepeace who proceeded to rip through the middle order with a superb spell of swing bowling to pick up 4 for 23, his best return in regional cricket. Will Nicholas also made his mark with two catches and a sharp run out, followed up with 2 for 6 with his leg spin, leaving the opposition in tatters at 84 all out.

In response Pembrokeshire found themselves up against a trio of quick and accomplished seam bowlers. Two early wickets saw the team at 12 for 2 and with a tough battle on the cards. Lucas Davies (10) and Harry Fuller (30) then proceeded to dig themselves in, both playing with admirable patience to build a match winning partnership of 57, Fuller hitting six boundaries. These two fell in quick succession bringing Will Phillips (6 not out) and Seth Willington (7 not out) together. This pair clearly had positive intent and quickly took the team to victory, Willington sending the ball over the trees for six to seal a superb victory.

Pembrokeshire 91 all out lost to Huntingdonshire 95 for 6 by 4 wickets

Day two dawned and having won the toss Pembrokeshire batted first, this time on a low, slow pitch. Miller (15) and Dom Asson (11) gave the team a great start with a 32 run partnership in quick time. These two fell in quick succession followed by the unlucky Reuben Whitehead, out to a shocker of a decision. Three more quick wickets saw Pembrokeshire six down and in big trouble. James Price (23) then joined forces with Willington (15) and these two did a rescue job to take the score to 80. Having put one six out of the ground, Willington then fell to a stunning boundary catch, a mere yard short of a second maximum. Price was last man out having hit four boundaries in an excellent knock. The lack of partnerships was set to hurt the boys as 91 all out looked a modest total.

And so it proved as Huntingdonshire chased it down in good time. But if they thought the Pembrokeshire boys were going to throw in the towel they were mistaken. Roared on by his team and supporters, Joe Phillips produced an outstanding spell of hostile seam bowling to take all six wickets that fell with tremendous figures of 8-2-21-6. Like Makepeace the day before, this was Joe’s best return in regional colours. The loud buzz from the opposition ranks dulled to a low drone of nervousness as the boys threatened to snatch victory with tremendous resolve, but it was not to be despite a great effort.

Pembrokeshire 149 for 8 lost to Carmarthenshire151 for 6 by 4 wickets

The final game and having won the toss Pembrokeshire once again batted first. Once again the boys found themselves in deep trouble at 38 for 5. Step forward Davies (27 not out) and Willington (51). These two showed real grit and moreover that they have matured as cricketers. In a partnership of 81 runs, they batted together for 19 overs, recognising the need to build a foundation. Davies compiled his runs steadily from 77 balls, anchoring the recovery. Willington, who registered his maiden half-century in regional colours, curbed his natural attacking game to frustrate the bowlers before cutting lose to hit nine boundaries from 61 balls. Makepeace (17) including a big six and Will Phillips (9) then added some late runs with some powerful hitting to see the boys post a healthy 149 for 8.

In response the Carmarthenshire batsmen were clearly intent on an early finish. The openers looked to play a big shot to every delivery and found luck on their side, as the ball flew wide of fielders time and again. Makepeace (1 for 24) made a breakthrough but at 100 for 1 the game was fast slipping away. But once again that resolve shone through to great effect. Spinners Willington (1 for 16) and Nicholas bowled 12 overs in tandem leaving the batsmen floundering. In desperation for runs they took risks and Miller and Makepeace executed brilliant run outs. Asson (2 for 4) entered the attack and once again the opposition nerves set in. In a frantic effort the opposition scrambled over the winning line in a superb game of cricket.
Despite two losses, the results should not take away from the performance of the squad. Competing against counties with much larger player pools is testing. The squad returned home with praise from all involved for their resolve and conduct, a credit to Pembrokeshire cricket. And of course with something that only sport can really offer – lifelong memories and friendships.

Team Photograph
Back row: Lucas Davies, Harry Fuller, James Price, Will Phillips, Harry Makepeace, Will Nicholas
Front Row: Simon Williams (Coach), Reuben Whitehead, Lewis Miller, Joe Phillips, Seth Willington, Dom Asson, Jon Willington (Manager)