FOUR teams competed for the WWCCC Fine & Country T20 Cup in a day that would see almost 1,000 runs scored over three matches in cricket bonanza that would see Aberaron seal an emphatic victory and lift the trophy in front of their home crowd.

The first semi-final, between Aberaeron and AU Commoners was a closely fought contest going down to the final over. The second semi-final was also close for the most of it, but Tywyn’s chase of the challenging target set by Rachels Talybont was quite comfortable in the end.

Aberaeron’s fielding was probably the main factor that gave them the edge over the other teams, as the batting and bowling was of high quality throughout the day, and this was particularly so in the final with two excellent and vital catches allowing them to restrict Tywyn to a modest total.

However, given Tywyn’s dangerous opening bowling attack, the chase was by no means certain, but the third wicket partnership, which grew in confidence, saw them romp home with overs to spare.

Musical entertainment for the spectators and players, in true T20 style, was provided by Nicky and George Lee – Nicky having been part of team that pioneered this idea at Essex CCC – and this certainly added to the fun atmosphere.

Everyone enjoyed the biriyani arranged by the Rachels team, which complemented the celebration of cultural diversity that characterised the day. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day for all, but most of all for the Aberaeron players, friends and family as they celebrated victory at their first time of hosting this event.

Semi-final 1: Aberaeron CC vs Aberystwyth University Commoners CC

Aberaeron 160-8, AUC 152-8, Aberaeron won by 8 runs It was a cold and blustery start to the day with cloud cover, and having won the toss, AUC asked Aberaeron to bat first. In a frenetic start, which saw the fall two wickets in two overs and 29 runs, with Waqar Younis in particular bowling fast and accurately.

His next over gave him a second wicket, bringing captain Hywel Rees (11) to join Steffan Rees (36) in the middle much earlier than they would have liked. The pair stabilised the innings for a while, father and son putting on 51 together.

There was then a flurry of three more quick wickets (2 for Farhan) leaving the hosts nervously on 88-6 in the eleventh over. The last two recognised batters, Jacob Jenkinson and Dave Floyd, batted with tempered control and aggression. Jacob was run out for 43 with just one over remaining. Dave Floyd finished on 26 not out with the total on 160-8, giving them a fair chance of reaching the final.

AUC made a steady start, but with wickets falling early (2 for Josh Roper), one of which was a spectacular catch by Steffan Rees, diving to catch low right in front of the music desk, hence AUC were not able to push on.

Mo Aslam, batting at 3, dominated the innings. His 87 runs, combining skilful placement and raw power, kept the chase alive until he was eventually trapped LBW by Jacob Jenkinson. Another great catch, this time by Morgan Ashton leaping up in the deep, also stilted the scoring. After this, the 10 runs per over needed in the last two was too much for them and they ended 8 runs short.

It was a very exciting end to the match on which so much rested, with the home team desperate to reach the final in front of their supporters. Jacob Jenkinson was nominated player of the match by his captain for his innings recuing 43 runs and the vital wicket of Mo Aslam.

Semi-final 2: Rachels Talybont CC vs Tywyn CC

Rachels Talybont 177-6, Tywyn 178-2, Tywyn won by 8 wickets Rachels batted first and struggled to get the bowlers away, as the deliveries were fast and accurate. The openers Vinod Mathew and Sumesh Anthony survived the opening spell though and scored 24 and 22 respectively until a change of bowling led to John Lloyd taking both wickets, both caught.

Mohit also struggled to find his usual fluency and was bowled by Lafras for 16. Titus Matthew held the innings together and finished on 58 not out. He accelerated the scoring towards the with Zaid Kahn (16) with Titus playing clever shots and both hitting powerfully. This enabled them to set a challenging total and would have had high confidence about progressing in the tournament.

Lafras and Morgan Llewellyn batted confidently and successfully and scoring well above the required rate. When Morgan was out for 28 caught by Phil Abraham off Joel Abraham's bowling, this brought John Lloyd in next and he took no time at all to get into the swing.

He scored 36 quick runs before being caught and bowled by Jestus Jerry. John Tolhurst also contributed with his 18 not out, but the stand out performance was a show of class was Lafras who finished on 88 not out, having played fine shots all round the ground and reach the target with 2 overs to spare.

The stage was then set for what promised to be a close final, but only four of Tywyn's batters had been seen in the middle, so questions remained about whether they had the depth they might need if they lost early wickets.

Final: Aberaeron CC vs Tywyn CC

Tywyn 153-7, Aberaeron 154-2, Aberaeron won by 8 wickets Tywyn won the toss and decided to try and set an unreachable total. Their plans faltered early when Morgan Llewellyn (1) top edged the ball from Roper to give Dave Floyd a catch behind the stumps. John Lloyd (4), who had been so destructive in the semi-final, launched a ball from Steffan Ress into the deep where Kevin Regan ran to under it to take a solid catch on the boundary.

Captain Dave Jenkins was hitting the ball cleanly until he became the first of Hywel's victims in a double wicket maiden. Through all of this Lafras was again batting with style and competence and scoring freely. This was ended with another great catch, this time be Jamie Davies on the long-on boundary, standing firm and holding the ball at the third attempt to give Hywel his third wicket, Lafras out for 84.

The scoring rate was then curtailed, but Nicky Williams (15*) and Liam Thomas (8*) contributed at the end and total finished on 153-7. Two wickets for Roper and the economical spells 1 for 19 off 4 for Steffan and 3 for 22 off 4 for Hywel, combined with fully committed and skilful fielding from the whole team, led to this still respectable, but perhaps a little below par total.

Tywyn had faith in their opening bowlers, Jack Williams and Ruman Kahn who had bowled so well to help them to the final. They were indeed both successful in their first over, each taking a wicket. Jacob, promoted to number 2 after his semi-final success was caught out for 3 and Roper was bowled for 6.

Ted Trewella and Steffan Rees seemed very determined to take control of the game. They ran very well between the wickets to keep the scoring rate high and dispatched anything loose to the boundary.

The pair grew and grew in confidence and started to open their arms. Both obtained a champagne moment, with first Ted bouncing the ball off the top of the fence into the car park and then Steff launching the ball over the high fencing into the garden neighbouring the club house.

Tywyn tried all of their bowlers, but with Ted and Steff in their pomp, to no avail. The target was reached with 5 overs to spare. Ted finished on 61* and Steffan on 70*, which sealed the win for the hosting team to the great elation of the cheering crowd.

Aberaeron claimed a trophy that they have not won since 2018 and for the first time in front of their supporters at home. Steffan Rees was awarded player-of-the-match for his 70 not out and economical opening bowling spell.

A was a great day all round, full of high quality cricket and played in a competitive but friendly spirit. It was also a lot of fun for all the spectators and we are very grateful for all the support that made it all possible.