Talybont/Rachels 2 (314-2) beat Aberaeron-Lampeter (214 all out) by 100 runs

Fine and Country Conference

BOTH teams being new to the Fine and Country Conference, there was much anticipation as to how the bottom team would face up to the league’s early-season dark horses.

Home skipper Anup Meon lost the toss and was invited to bat. He accepted the challenge by striding out to open with Anant.

The first over saw two scything cuts to the boundary by Anant off Darryl Davies, but the next eight overs only saw 13 runs, as Davies and fellow opening bowler Josh Shaw put a real squeeze on the batsmen, with the field impeccably set.

Anup Menon and Jestus Jerry
Anup Menon and Jestus Jerry (Supplied)

Six of the runs came from one shot, Menon launching into his trademark drive over midwicket.

Both batsmen gradually started to work the ball around the ground, and the placid nature of the Vicarage artificial made the breakthrough difficult.

Anant struck Pat Cullen straight for a soaring six as the 50 came up in the 14th over.

From this point on, the batsmen started to accelerate, Anant preferring classical off side play and Menon the meaty pull.

Anant reached a fine 50 off 67 deliveries but perished for 62 in the 21st over as Eifion Davies took a return catch off a slower ball.

Jestus Jerry took a few overs to set out his stall and adapt to the pitch, but Menon was starting to go through the gears and reached his own 50 off 67 deliveries as well.

The score after 25 overs was 122, and this was when the nature of the game radically changed.

Menon started to pepper the boundary, and with Jestus now striking the ball handsomely, the boundaries flowed.

The bowlers were switched, the fielding was dynamic, but both batsmen were merciless on anything short, and woe beside any fielder in the path of their powerful drives.

Menon unselfishly let his partner have the strike whilst in the 90s, but the Tal/Rachels skipper finally pushed a single to complete his first century on Welsh soil, off 89 deliveries.

Jestus followed him to three figures shortly afterwards, having gone from 50 to 100 in just 17 balls.

The score had gone from 200 to 300 in just over seven hectic overs when Pat Cullen finally bowled Menon for 123 in the last over.

His total included 14 fours and 6 huge sixes. Jestus was unbeaten on 112, his own tally of boundaries being 12 fours and 5 sixes. Sagar was the other not out batsman. Cullen took 1- 46 and Eifion Davies 1-47.

Chasing such a huge total would need aggression, and Paul Graham opened the reply with a wonderful cameo that briefly turned the tables.

A series of on-drives scorched past the motionless fielders.

He and his fellow opener Chris Thomas had put on 55 before Bava bowled him for an exciting 43.

Bedwyr Davies joined Thomas, and both continued to search for runs, the flick to leg proving to be a fruitful source.

Bava Vasu
Bava Vasu (Supplied)

With both batsmen using the pace of the ball to deflect, Menon turned to Jestus to flight the ball and tempt the batsmen.

Just before drinks, with his score on 25, Thomas sliced a drive to backward point, where Huw Chambers took a sharp catch high to his left. Anant was brought on to bowl spin at the other end, and Davies perished to another uppish drive, Menon sending him back with his score on 43.

With well over 10 an over now required, all the batsmen made valiant efforts to keep their side in the hunt.

Elgan Evans struck two mighty blows for six but was bowled by Bava for 14.

The huge total meant that bowlers could buy wickets, and Roper departed after a brief rally for 18, Menon taking another catch at extra cover off Anant.

The same bowler showed his versatility by reverting to a quicker style to bowl Ceri Thomas for 13.

Bava had previously produced another Exocet yorker to dismiss Eifion Davies for 10.

Nicky Williams and Daryl Davies sensibly saw their side to a very respectable fifth batting point, looking for the gaps in the field.

They reached the 200 comfortably and were beginning to dig in when Bava trapped Davies in front for six.

Arif Saad played an elegant late cut off to show that power isn’t always a necessity but holed out playing an off-drive off Ijaz to give Menon his third catch.

The 40th over had been reached when Bava took his fifth wicket with yet another full delivery, trapping Pat Cullen LBW. Nicky Williams was left undefeated on 18.

Bava ended with a fine return of 5-20, aided by Anant 3-32, Ijaz 1-31 and Jestus 1-40.

In breaking their duck, Talybont/Rachels took 20 points, Aberaeron-Lampeter took 6