Aberystwyth 141/9 (40 overs)  Lampeter 142/8 (35), Lampeter XI won be two wickets

West Wales Cricket Club ConferenceNEARLY 50 years to the day since Llanilar Cricket Club (now Aberystwyth CC) played their first match away to Lampeter CC the two sides met again, at Cae Chwaraeon Bro Pedr.

Lampeter battled hard to earn a third consecutive victory and move to the top of the Fine and Country WWCCC Championship table.

Captain Arif Saad won the toss and asked Aberystwyth to bat first on an unfamiliar strip. The sunshine and a quicker outfield seemed to have taken some of the demons out of the pitch with Steff Davies striking powerfully from the off as the score raced towards 30 in the opening 5 overs.

Jason Davies managed to nip one back in to Anthony Burrell to bowl him for 3 in the fifth over and Ted Trewella followed up with a double wicket maiden in the next as Steff picked out Jason Davies at long off and then Graham Saunders was spectacularly caught behind by a diving Nicky Williams.

Ioan Morris, batting at 3 was joined by captain Peter Loxdale and looked to take on the bowling immediately with powerful hitting over mid-on and mid-wicket. Loxdale, however, was unable to match his partner as a short ball from Trewella was picked up over square leg but found Arif Saad waiting on the deep boundary.

Nigel Salmon looked in good nick as he quickly moved to 11 in nine balls before the introduction of Carwyn Gregson had an immediate impact, Salmon beaten by his deceptive pace to be bowled.

Ali Toloikahn attempted to hang in with Morris and build a partnership but it was Gregson again who managed to make the breakthrough as a lifting delivery took a leading edge and was well caught by Dan Thomas.

Carwyn then backed it up with another quick lifting delivery first up to Pranav Krishna, who gloved it to wicketkeeper Nicky Williams to leave Aberystwyth struggling on 71/7 in the 17th over. Ben Willis joined Ioan Morris who appeared to be running out of partners as the middle order fell around him and managed to restore a sense of calm with solid defence.

The pair battled for 11 overs - seeing off Gregson with no further loss and the niggling accuracy of Elgan Evans -  to take Aberystwyth past 100, before Willis finally fell in Dan Thomas’s first over for 4 runs, edging a lifting one to Ryan Mackie at slip.

Anthony Evans added 5 runs before he was bowled by Dan Thomas and a battling 11 from last man Rhys Jones allowed Ioan Morris to reach his 50* and Aberystwyth to scramble their way to 141/9 in their 40 overs.

The players enjoyed a tea provided by Town Hall Café Deli in the Canolfan Lles and at the halfway stage 142 appeared to be tricky chase given the scores in the first two matches at the Lampeter home ground.

However, with value for shots thanks to the shorter grass Lampeter knew that if they could utilise the full 40 overs a run rate of 3.5 an over was manageable.

Chris Thomas and Bedwyr Davies opened the batting for Lampeter, attempting to lay a solid platform for the chase. Bedwyr eased his way to 9 before a slash at Rhys Jones towards the cover boundary was excellently caught by a diving Ioan Morris.

Ted Trewella and Chris Thomas played risk-free cricket, defending good balls and keeping the scoreboard ticking over to nudge Lampeter towards the 50 mark.

The combination of Pranav Krishna and Nigel Salmon began to exert some pressure and Nigel struck first, Chris Thomas hitting a sweetly timed punch straight to Graham Saunders in the covers.

In the next over Pranav got the big breakthrough as Ted was deceived by a delivery which kept low to bowl him for 17.

The pair continued to bowl well in tandem, using the bounce and probing lengths to keep the batters in check.

When Nigel finally pushed one a bit fuller, Elgan Evans attempted to power the ball over the leg side but could only sky a steepling catch to Steff Davies who held on well.

Again Pranav backed up his bowling partner with a wicket in the next over – Ryan Mackie leaving one that took the top of off stump, and this time Nigel Salmon followed up again to bowl Jason Davies for 4.

Lampeter had slumped from 48/1 to 58/6 in the space of seven overs at the drinks interval, and looked to be heading towards defeat. Carwyn Gregson and Nicky Williams came together with 84 more runs needed from the remaining twenty overs with just three batters to come after.

Intelligent running and some powerful shot making by Gregson in particular started to get the scoreboard turning over and a ten run over from Salmon’s 7th, featuring a monstrous six over fine leg and an 11 run over from Pranav’s 8th meant that required rate dipped to 3 an over required.

Anthony Evans and Graham Saunders attempted to get the breakthrough but Williams and Gregson continued to accumulate as Lampeter worked their way up to 122, requiring a further 20 runs for an unlikely victory.

Saunders made the breakthrough Aberystwyth so desperately needed, finally bowling the dogged Williams for a fine, battling 21 and brought Arif Saad to the middle to attempt to see the game home with Gregson.

A glance through fine leg for four by Saad to complete Saunders’ over left Lampeter requiring 16 runs from the final 9 overs with three wickets in hand.

Anthony Evans was reintroduced to force the batters to put their own power on the ball, but luckily for Lampeter Carwyn had plenty of power to spare, smashing two fours through the covers and scampering a quick single to leave 7 runs required.

Saunders tied things up with a maiden over and, desperate for a breakthrough Aber turned to Nigel Salmon for his 8th and final over. Two runs and a wide ball took Lampeter to within one boundary of victory and a single brought up Carwyn Gregson’s 50.

There was still time for one further twist as, after five dot balls, looking to finish the match, Gregson gloved up a short ball to wicketkeeper Willis. Dan Thomas saw out the final ball to give Saunders a wicket maiden and leave captain Peter Loxdale the task of removing his opposite number and defend 3 runs.

From the second ball of Loxdale’s over an inside edge proved enough to allow the batters to scamper two runs and tie the scores and a leg bye from the final ball took Lampeter to a hard fought victory.

Ioan Morris almost won it for his team with his 56* but with 50 runs and 3-17 from his eight overs, Carwyn Gregson was player of the match for the second week running.

In a match played in good spirits throughout, Lampeter were relieved to come out on top.

The two sets of players enjoyed catching up at The Nags Head and reflecting on the history of the league and discussing its future with Anthony Evans in fine form.

Lampeter go top of the WWCCC Championship, having played one match more than rivals Tywyn, Aberaeron and Talybont 1sts, six points separating the top four teams in what is shaping up to be a competitive Championship this season.