Gowerton IV (229-7) lost to Aberystwyth (275-4) by 46 runs

SWCA Division 9 West

LEAGUE leaders Aberystwyth travelled to second-placed Gowerton 4th XI on Saturday anticipating their toughest challenge yet in their debut season in the South Wales Cricket Association. 

With over half of the previous weekend’s victorious squad unavailable, Aberystwyth called upon four debutants, including three members of the club’s Under 13 team, while Samantha Horwill cemented a place in Aberystwyth CC history by becoming the first woman to represent the club in the SWCA league.

Aberystwyth lost the toss for the first time this year and were invited to bat first.

Gowerton’s opening bowling attack was of a very different quality from those previously encountered this season, bolstered as it was by the pacy Louis Davies, who more usually plays for Gowerton’s 1st XI in SWCA Division 2, 7 echelons above Aberystwyth’s current league level. 

The Aberystwyth team at Gowerton
The Aberystwyth team at Gowerton (Supplied)

Despite losing opener Adam Shaw to a fine catch at short cover off the bowling of Robert Jenkins in the 8th over with the score on 27, skipper Jim Vaughan combined with the in-form Steffan Roberts to withstand the opening assault from Davies, and then to accelerate as the second string bowlers came into play.

Roberts, in particular, began to find the boundary with regularity, striking four 6s and ten 4s in a splendid innings of 76. 

When he finally fell to the bowling of Walker, the partnership of 145 had taken Aberystwyth to the comfortable position of 172-2 with 15 overs still to bat.

Vaughan then cut loose, reaching his century with three consecutive straight sixes before retiring unbeaten for a fine knock of 104.

Patrick Daniel (49*) then took up the charge, ably supported by Bryn Williams and Samantha Horwill, as Aberystwyth closed on 275 for 4 after their 40 overs.

No side has scored more than 74 against Aberystwyth’s attack this season, but Gowerton immediately showed they were a very different calibre of opposition by launching a brutal counterattack.

Simon Cooper and Louis Davies unleashed a barrage of attacking shots, racing to 87-0 in just 10 overs.

With an inexperienced set of bowlers still to come, it appeared that Gowerton had established themselves as favourites, but Harvey Knights then struck a crucial blow, firing through a rapid delivery to bowl Davies for a brutal innings off 61 struck off just 30 deliveries.

At this point, debutant Jerome Jito entered the attack with his unorthodox mixture of leg-breaks and googlies, and the run rate immediately began to slow.

Jito was unlucky not to take a wicket, but his spell of 6 overs for just 28 runs was critical in swinging the match back Aberystwyth’s way.

Joel Soosai Nathan maintained control at the other end and the game was then effectively decided by a superb spell of leg-spin bowling from 12-year-old George Robson.

Robson, brought into the team just the day before, bowled unchanged for a match-winning spell of 8 overs, taking 2 wickets for 27 runs.

That left the Gowerton middle order under too much run-rate pressure and, aided by some fine boundary catches by Ioan Morris, Pat Daniel and Jim Vaughan, further wickets fell to Vaughan (1-23), Bryn Williams (2-59) and Morris (1-25) as the Gowerton innings closed on 229 for 7.

Aberystwyth emerged from a hard-fought battle victorious by 46 runs and are now firmly established at the top of the division, but it was the performance of the club’s young debutants that will live long in the memory as they ensured that the team’s unbeaten record this season was maintained.