On a blustery day and a wearing, tricky pitch, AU Commoners sneaked a victory from the jaws of defeat in a thrilling encounter with Aberaeron at Vicarage Field in the latest T20 of the West Wales Cricket Conference.
Choosing to field first, Commoners wanted to take advantage of the conditions.
With an improving weather forecast, it was normal to think that batting would be easier as the pitch and outfield dried out.
Commoners started well with Guy Baron taking a wicket in his first over only to be surprisingly taken off by captain Bill Somerfield, never one to mix sentiment with a cunning game plan.
Alex Bellenie then came on and was the pick of Commoners bowlers taking 2 wickets for only 18 runs off his 4 overs, extracting bounce from a variable pitch. Faysal Shahzad also bowled well, ending on 1 for 22.
Aberaeron finished on 124 for 5 with Kevin Regan being run out on their final ball.
Regan scored well as Aberaeron’s batters fell around him, striking 36 from 41 balls on a difficult pitch with a long outfield, which meant boundaries came at a premium. Hywel Rees was Aberaeron’s next best batter with 22.
Commoners began their innings well with big hitter Arshad Sher opening alongside the stylish Mo Aslam.
Sher was in no mood to hang around and hit a brisk 19 from only 13 balls, before being bowled by the ever consistent Paul Hughes, trying to hit him into the never-never.
Somerfield was next to depart as the wearing pitch showed its teeth, Hywel Rees managing to hit a flat spot that took the ball under Somerfield’s bat to the stumps.
Baron skied a full toss to be caught by Rees, Ollie Somerfield got one that popped up on him and gifted it back to the bowler, and the pitch then did for Alex Bellenie too.
On 79 for 5, the 125 to win looked a tough ask for Commoners, but Shahzad and Aslam put on a fine partnership to set up a nail biting finish.
Shahzad was out on 19, and the game was in the balance at 107 for 7 with 3 overs remaining.
But when 11 runs were scored from Simon Mitchell’s last over, Commoners could see the winning line ahead and managed to get over it with one ball remaining in the last over.
Mo Aslam ended unbeaten on 53 from 53 balls, a fine knock on a really difficult track with variable bounce and pace.
So two points to Commoners in the race to finals day in this increasingly exciting and nerve-jangling T20 competition.
Report by Guy Baron