Abergavenny 2nds pulled off a remarkable victory against Pentyrch to open their account for the season.
With much rain on the Avenue Rd ground in the preceding 48 hours the toss was all important and luckily for the home side, Aber’s vice captain Tom Griffiths stepped up to the mark and won the coin flip and immediately asked Pentyrch to bat first.
Abergavenny’s youthful opening attack of Ben Morris (1-15) and Dylan Beaumont-Welsh settled into an early rhythm and it was only some lusty blows from Luke Szpadt and a few edges from the other end that caused the Beavers an early concern.
Beaumont-Welsh (3-30) picked up Szpadt in his 3rd over as the Pentyrch man attempted to clear the infield once again, only to be well held at mid on by Beavers skipper Steve Brown.
This triggered a top order collapse an Pentyrch lost a further 5 wickets for the addition of only 32 runs to leave them reeling at 58-6.
For Aber, the wickets were shared around with miserly spells from both Gareth Powell (2-17) and Craig Whistance (1-13) who both managed to extract both seam movement and bounce out of the drying track.
Pentyrch number 6 Andrew Sheard (49) provided a solid counter attack and was ably supported down the order by Johnston and skipper Mike Saltmarsh who managed to elevate the visitors total to 137 before the last wicket fell to Beavers spinner Andy Timpson who ended with excellent figures of 3-29.
At the interval, although pleased with another excellent bowling performance, Beavers skipper Steve Brown was conscious that a flurry of early wickets would mean chasing even a modest total of 138 for victory could prove difficult.
As Abergavenny began their chase the Pentyrch opening bowlers Luke Szpadt (1-25) and Saajan Ali (4-13) provided the headache that the Beavers team did not want to endure as they ripped out the Aber top order with a combination of pace and persistent line and length, leaving the home side in tatters at 26-5 after 15 overs.
Lee Fury (31) was the only batsman in the top order to reach double figures and after he departed in the 22nd over with only 52 runs on the board most of the home faithful could be forgiven for thinking their chances had gone with that dismissal.
Bring to the crease 13-year-old Tom Pipe who with his senior partner Craig Whistance began reconstructing the Aber innings.
Both batsmen played sensible cricket and waited for anything wayward from the Pentyrch change bowlers for their scoring opportunities. 52-6 soon became 90-6 and the Aber faithful hitherto silenced by pain, began to believe once more.
Pipe (25) and Whistance began to look increasingly assured, and with the Pentyrch opening bowlers long since bowled out, the equation was down to an achievable 47 required off the last 10 overs.
The 36th over proved as decisive as any in the last 10 as Whistance cleared the ropes with a huge six over mid wicket as the Beavers pair managed to score 13 runs off the over.
Further sensible batting from both reduced the equation to a mere 10 runs required off the final 4 overs, however, the tables potentially turned once more as Pipe was finally dismissed following a mammoth 20 over stay with Whistance during which they put on 76 runs.
Dylan Beaumont-Welsh came out to join Whistance and despite a few alarms it was fittingly left for the Herculean Whistance (47*) to hit the winning runs through extra cover to turn a fantastic game of cricket firmly on its head one final time.
Despite the low scores, the standard of cricket was excellent and it proved to the Beavers side that they are capable of competing at this level following a few barren years.
Credit goes to the Pentyrch side, who not only contributed to a fantastic game of cricket, but played the game in the spirit to which every club cricketer should aspire.
Beavers hope to continue their winning ways with an away trip to Newbridge this coming Saturday (20th May).