Aberaeron maintained their unbeaten start to the T20 Championship, defeating the 40-Over winners Tywyn thanks to an excellent all-round team performance.
Aberaeron (146-6) beat Tywyn & District (111-9) by 35 runs, Fine & Country West Wales Conference T20
Captain Steff Rees won the toss and elected to bat first, hoping to set an imposing total but the opening bowlers for Tywyn – Sam and Jack Williams had other ideas as they struck three times in the first five overs.
First up, Steff was strangled down the leg side, a glove taken low by Dave Jenkins from the bowling of Jack Williams.
Jack struck again in his next over to bowl Alex Pitchford and when Jamie Davies was bowled by Sam, Aberaeron were in trouble at 24-3.
Jacob Jenkinson, having seen three partners depart, continued to accumulate steadily and, in Kevin Regan, found the perfect partner.
Having scored two unbeaten 50s in the previous week, Kev was in fine form and played the aggressor in a match-defining partnership.
Tywyn pressed for a further breakthrough, introducing Joe and Jack Williamson and Moc Llewelyn, but Kev and Jacob made untroubled progress, taking Aberaeron past 100.
It was only when facing the final ball of the 15th over, with the partnership at 99 runs, that Kev was beaten by Moc to be bowled for 58.
Joel Eynon produced a moment of drama in the 19th over as he bowled Jacob Jenkinson, looking to push Aberaeron past 150, with a delivery which nipped off the seam. Jacob’s 45, sticking in as the top order fell around him, was vital to getting Aberaeron up to a total.
With his next delivery, Joel again faced a batter looking to clear the ropes with an attacking shot and this time swung the ball through the gate to bowl Ifan Rishko.
Morgan Ashton saw off the hat-trick ball and with Paul Graham (5*) saw Aberaeron to 146 from their 20 overs.
At the tea interval, the consensus over sandwiches and cakes provided by Tafarn y Cadwgan, was that Aberaeron were perhaps 15-20 runs short and would have to bowl and field well to defend that total.
The recent wet weather had served to slow the outfield a touch, making it slightly easier to defend in the field.
Tywyn opened with Dave Jenkins and Joe Williamson.
The pair saw off a probing first over from Steff, who then chose to give the ball to Morgan Ashton for the second over.
It was a bold choice with fielding restrictions limiting him to only two boundary fielders but the young off spinner has been thriving in pressure situations recently and again showed his qualities by inducing a top edge from Joe.
Ifan Rishko held on to a fine catch running round from mid-wicket to hand Aberaeron a big boost early on.
Two overs later Morgan and Ifan combined again, with Jack Williamson falling into the same trap – looking to heave into the leg side and popping the ball up to midwicket.
Sam Williams and Dave Jenkins picked off ones and twos but with the end of the fielding restrictions after six overs, Tywyn were under pressure to find boundaries to keep up with the scoring rate.
The Aberaeron bowlers were giving Tywyn very little to attack however and eventually the pressure told as left-hander Sam Williams took a big swing at a full in-swinger from Josh Roper only to see his stumps splayed apart and flashing.
Paul Hughes then repeated the trick in the next over, an in-swinger to right hander Nicky Williams clipping the top of middle stump.
Tywyn were now 36-4 with four dangerous batters back in the changing rooms.
Needing 111 from 11 overs, they had no time to consolidate and with Jack Williams at number 6 they had the perfect batter for the situation.
Where his teammates had struggled to find their timing, Jack was able to get the scoreboard ticking over.
As he started to build an innings, he lost partners with regularity. Dave Jenkins fell trying to take Paul Hughes over mid-on but only succeeding in picking out Steff Rees and Moc Lllewelyn was run out by the impressive Ifan Rishko for 0.
Josh Roper became the third Aberaeron bowler to pick up two wickets when he had Liam Thomas caught by Steff Rees who was also unlucky not to get Jack Williams – twice getting a hand to balls on the boundary and once seeing the ball just clear him as he leapt.
Steff brought himself back on to try to wrap up the innings and he had Simon Jenkins caught behind for 1 to leave Tywyn 79 for 8 needing a further 68 runs from the last 5 overs.
This should have been game over but with the power of Jack Williams still there, Tywyn knew that with two good overs they could still give themselves a shot at an unlikely victory.
Jacob Jenkinson came on and produced that perfect response, delivering a maiden to leave Tywyn requiring an improbable 17 runs an over.
They managed nine from Steff’s final over and then Jack got hold of Jacob’s second to take a six and two fours and 16 runs to take Tywyn past 100.
Morgan Ashton was brought back on to bowl the crucial 19th over, with Jack on strike knowing that a few boundaries would give him a shot of pulling off a heroic chase.
Despite a couple of early wides, Morgan delivered the perfect over, not allowing Jack to free his arms and only conceding 5 runs.
With the match mathematically out of reach without extra deliveries, Jack attempted to finish in style but Jacob managed to mix up his speeds and lengths to only concede a single from his fourth delivery.
Joel Eynon took a big swipe at the next ball, knowing the game was up and handed Steff his third catch of the match and Jacob a well-deserved wicket.
Tywyn closed on 111-9 to lose by 35 runs, Steff Rees leading his side to a victory that seemed improbable given the strength of the Tywyn batting line-up and the low-ish total.
Jack Williams finished unbeaten on 67 and took two wickets so can feel unlucky not to be awarded player of the match, however Kevin Regan’s 58, in a 99-run stand set up the win for Aberaeron and so he took the honours.
Morgan Ashton (2-21), Paul Hughes (2-25) and Josh Roper (2-22) and a fine fielding performance from Steff Rees (3 catches and 1-18) and Ifan Rishko (2 catches and a run out) meant that there was not one standout bowling performance, however it was an excellent team effort from Aberaeron to force the victory.
Report: Arif Saad