A blustery, overcast afternoon at the Geufron awaited Aberystwyth Seconds and Aberystwyth University Commoners on Sunday.
Aberystwyth II (200) lost to UWA Commoners (202-4) by 6 wkts, Fine & Country West Wales Conference
With both teams eager to capitalise on an immaculate batting track, captains Adam Shaw and Guy Barron met in the middle for the toss, with hosts’ skipper Shaw winning and opting to bat first.
Jack Allen and Michele Watson made a steady start until the 5th over where Allen was caught by Commoners gloveman Jan Ruzicka off Ian Lawton for 8.
Ioan Morris joined Watson at the crease with both batters beautifully complimenting each other, Morris with his powerful front and back foot strokes alongside the more methodical approach of Watson.
Morris reached 34 before he was caught off the bowling of Harish Singh, a quickfire knock with 28 of his runs coming in boundaries. Shaw fell for 7 trying to clear long on, and with Aber at 71-3 after 14 overs this brought the in-form Graham Saunders to the crease.
A breath-taking battle then ensued, as the Commoners introduced their all-rounder and versatile leg spinner Arshad Sher. Together with his traditional leg breaks, he fired in some quicker deliveries which Saunders and Watson did well to withstand before Watson fell for 29.
Matt Salter joined Saunders at the crease in the 26th over with the score on 135 for 4. Together they put on an important 63-run partnership off 50 deliveries, Saunders timing the ball beautifully with some effortless shots around the ground and the equally in-form Salter accompanying him nicely at the other end, a lovely innings which included a huge maximum.
Aber were on course to lay a match-winning platform with Saunders scoring yet another half century (68) and Salter hitting 35, however the visitors bowled well at the death to leave themselves with a target of 201 from their 40 overs. Sher the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with 4 wickets for 40 from his 8 overs.
In reply, Commoners openers Mo Aslam and Jacob Hughes-Pickering started solidly. They batted watchfully in defending against experienced opening bowler Emlyn Mainwaring who bristled with intent, beating the bat on occasions, his first 6 overs going for only 14 runs.
With the opening batsmen scoring heavily with a partnership of 85 and looking almost infallible, up stepped 14-year-old Josh Lane. The youngster bowled with gritty purpose and intent and trapped Aslam LBW for 44. This was followed two balls later by a beauty which clean bowled Alex Bellenie. A potential turning point in the Commoners inning and a well needed breakthrough for the home side.
James Harvey batted well until he was caught by Shaw off the bowling of another impressive Aberystwyth youngster Rhys Jones. This brought all-rounder Sher to the crease and with his powerful stroke play and staunch defence, he pushed the innings along to within touching distance of the target.
Spinner Anthony Evans slowed the run rate down in the middle overs along with Jones and all-rounder Jack Allen. Mainwaring returned to finish his spell towards the end and kept the destructive Sher at bay while also claiming the wicket of Hughes-Pickering who batted for 29 overs to make a valuable 51, edging one behind to Shaw.
Haziq Hasan joined Sher, who went on to seize the initiative with some lovely strokes. It all concluded in the 38th over with a final lusty blow to the boundary form Sher taking him to his half century and sealing victory for the visitors with 4 wickets down.