THIS derby fixture saw Talybont/Rachels progress into the first round proper of the Senior Welsh Cup for the first time in many, many years.

Skipper Graison John won the toss and decided to bat on the Vicarage artificial pitch.

The Commoners opening attack of Mo Aslam and Waqar had problems with their initial line and length, and Joseph Thomas picked up three well-hit boundaries in the first four overs.

However, in trying to drive Waqar, he got an outside edge to Ruzicka behind the stumps, and departed for 13.

Mohit Mathur came in and looked in good touch as the lively scoring rate was maintained. He and Harper saw the total to 62 in the 8th over, but the entry of Bill Sommerfield into the attack saw a rapid turnaround.

He had Mathur caught at midwicket by Hughes-Pickering for 13, and bowled Sumesh Anthony immediately.

Waqar had found his range by now, and was testing Harper with some shorter deliveries. Harper responded in his own combative style, but on 23, feathered the faintest off edges off Waqar to Ruzicka.

Anish Kuriakose struck two powerful blows, but was also bowled by Sommerfield with the score on 73.

Anup Menon was joined by skipper John, with Menon showing that the ability to play with a dead straight bat can frustrate bowlers as much as a flaying blade.

The two took the score to 102 in the 18th over when the rain became too heavy to continue and an hour’s break ensued, which helped the batting side regroup.

On the restart, Menon pulled a huge six to show another side to his game, and John was just getting going when a mix-up following a dropped catch led to him being run out for 18 with the score on 120.

Ijaz Kalamban helped Menon take the score to 143, being bowled by Guy Baron for 15 in the 28th over.

The game was decided in the next ten overs, as Bava Vasu took the attack apart. He struck three sixes in his first eight deliveries, hitting 22 off an Aslam over.

He reached his fifty off 23 deliveries, and treated his team-mates and the spectators to an exhibition of power-hitting.

With a century only a few blows away, he was bowled by a crafty Amir Hassan slower delivery, and departed for 82. He and Menon had put on 98 , with Menon unselfishly giving his ebullient partner the strike. Menon deserved a fifty, but he fell to Amir as well for 49. Amir also bowled Sagar to bring the innings to a close in the 40th over, with the total being 256.

Sommerfield, 3-44, and Amir 3-28 emerged with credit. Waqar took 2-63.

Sommerfield emerged with Aslam to lead the chase, and their initial efforts to make inroads were helped by a proliferation of ‘wides’ from Talybont/Rachels.

Aslam and Sommerfield pushed the ball into the gaps, and Aslam showed some classical drives in piercing the infield.

The score stood at 51 after 10 overs, but Anish Kuriakose struck in his second over, Sommerfield pulling a shortish delivery to deep square leg where Ijaz was perfectly positioned to pocket the catch.

Anish also had James Carver-Hardy caught by Thomas in the infield with the score on 77.

A similar pattern to the first innings ensued, with Bava entering the attack to bowl both Ruzicka and Ollie Sommerfield in quick succession.

At 88-4, a quick finale might have been considered, but Waqar, after some initial nervousness, showed an ability to play shots and help Aslam in rebuilding.

The runrate, however, was never their friend, and in trying to hit Thomas over mid-off, Aslam could only find the grateful hands of Anish.

The score was by then 139 and Aslam had made a polished 69. Thomas then polished off the tail, having Waqar (20) and Hughes-Pickering (15) caught behind by Sumesh, and Amir caught by the irrepressible Bava.

Milton John was rewarded for his accuracy by executing a caught-and-bowled to dismiss Ashley Chihaka for 10.

With Commoners one man short, the chase fell short at 173, Guy Baron remaining unbeaten.

Thomas took 4-21, Bava 2-39 and Kuriakose 2-38.

Talybont/Rachels hope to host Pembroke Dock in the first round proper on Sunday, 12 May.