The excitement around the finale of the Fine and Country WWCCC Championship, with three teams all vying for the title on the final day, was punctured by the news that AU Commoners were unable to field a team to face Tywyn, thus handing the title to Tywyn by default.
Talybont (198) lost to Aberaeron (200-5) by 5 wkts, Fine & Country West Wales Conference
The match between Talybont and Aberaeron thus became a shootout for second place in the league and a contest to be the team to finish with the most wins in the league season.
Talybont won the toss and Vinod Matthew chose to bat first. Graison John and Ben Harper were the opening pair for Talybont facing Steff Rees and Josh Roper.
Steff bowling from around the wicket and ducking the ball back into the right hander from an angle caused immediate problems. Roper with conventional outswingers struck first however to bowl Graison for 11.
Steff was soon in on the act, bowling Harper with a beautiful delivery to leave Talybont 15/2. Roper backed up his captain to remove the dangerous Zedd Khan for 3,a skied shot to the leg side safely pouched by Steff at mid wicket and 15/3 became 15/4 in the next over as Farhan Jahangir was trapped LBW by Steff for 0 to leave Talybont reeling.
Ayush Sharma and captain Vinod Matthew had to dig deep to see off the opening pair and as they tired began to get the scoreboard moving. Ayush plundered three boundaries from first change Ollie Evans’ back of a length deliveries and Vinod took on Paul Hughes over the off side infield.
Having been on the ropes, a 50 run partnership got Talybont back in the game and on the path to a respectable total. Ayush was the quicker scorer and was looking imperious until an uncharacteristic prod off Paul Hughes lobbed gently to Josh Roper in the covers. The catch went down however and, with it, so too could have Aberaeron’s chances.
Morgan Ashton however spared Roper’s blushes as he bowled Ayush with a beautiful off break that hurried through on the batter to remove the off bail. Ayush contributed a valuable 46 runs but his departure seemed to open the door again for Aberaeron.
For the second time in the Talybont innings, they lost a further two wickets without adding to the score. Paul Hughes struck twice in his next over to bowl Vinod for 21 and then Bava Vasu, second ball for 0.
At 90-7 Talybont were again on the ropes and in danger of a low total but again they fought back. This Talybont team bat all the way to 11 and Phil and Joel Abraham are surely the most capable 7 and 9 in the league. The father and son pair consolidated and then began to hit out to get Talybont up to a defendable total.
Sensing a shift in momentum, captain Steff Rees brought himself back on for a second spell and he duly delivered a wicket, his third, bowling Joel for 12.
Tino Tomy joined Phil and helped rotate the strike as Phil accelerated past 50 and secured Talybont a fourth batting point. The pair were cruising when a heave to the deep mid wicket boundary was picked up on the bounce by Jacob Jenkinson and thrown expertly to the bowler Ollie Evans to take off the bails and run out Tino for 4.
With Milton John as last man, Phil tried to drag his team past 200 but a skied hoick to deep mid wicket was calmly held by Jamie Davies to bring the Talybont innings to a close on 198.
The Talybont players and family laid on a fine tea enjoyed as both sets of players watched the exciting conclusion to the Ashes match at Headingly. With that match out of the way, attention turned to the Aberaeron reply.
Steff Rees was instantly in the runs as a wayward first over from Bava let Aberaron off to a flyer. Steff raced to 24 at better than a run a ball before Phil Abraham snuck one under his bat to bowl him.
Alex Pitchford attempted to keep up the intensity of scoring but Farhan and Phil managed to stem the flow of runs and slowly exert pressure.
Eventually Alex succumbed, having seen off Phil, he was bowled by Milton in his first over for 6 to leave Aberaeron 52/2 and searching for a partnership to settle any nerves.
Josh Roper was promoted to number four due to other commitments and smashed his first two balls for four to underline his danger as a ball striker.
The introduction of Zedd Khan did for Roper as late in-swing defeated his unorthodox defence to bowl Josh for 8.
Throughout the fall of wickets, Ollie Evans had been a calm presence at the other end, defending solidly, driving through the off side and flicking off his pads for ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Ted Trewella joined Ollie and together the pair put together a match defining partnership.
Ollie continued in his untroubled fashion whilst Ted scored at his natural free flowing rate.
Talybont rotated bowlers searching for a breakthrough as Ollie and Ted added 57 runs that took Aberaeron to 119 before a stunning piece of fielding from Farhan finally handed them the breakthrough they desperately needed.
A quick pick up and a rocket throw from mid wicket for a direct hit at the keeper’s end did for Ollie Evans to spark Talybont’s hopes of defending a sub-200 total.
Any hope that Talybont had of further in-roads was snuffed out by Jacob Jenkinson and Ted Trewella. Jacob dealt effortlessly with the dangerous Zedd and Joel and then the returning Phil Abraham.
With the target getting closer and having played himself in, Ted opened up and began to take the attack to the Talybont bowlers.
Powerful hitting, including 14 fours, saw him pass his half century and take Aberaeron to within 5 runs of victory.
With plenty of overs and wickets in hand, and egged on by the some of the Aberaeron contingent, Ted attempted to close out the match with a maximum but only succeeded in handing Tino Tomy a wicket in his first over, bowled for a crucial 76.
It fell to Jacob to hit the winning runs, a cover drive for four, to take him to 31* and Aberaeron to 200 and maximum points.
In the context of the Championship it proved meaningless as Tywyn received 20 points for Commoners’ conceding the game and winning the title for the first time in its history.
But both Talybont and Aberaeron can take solace in their efforts throughout the season to make this the closest finish in several years, with the three teams having been in contention throughout.
For the final 40 over game of the season, player of the match was a close call - Ted Trewella for his 76 was a strong candidate but it ultimately went to Steff Rees.
Steff, captaining Aberaeron for the first time, produced a devastating opening spell with two vital wickets and returned to pick up a third for figures of 3/20 from 8 overs and then struck a quick fire 24 to get the chase off to a flying start.
Report by Arif Saad