2nd May, 2009
Hills Plymouth v Briton Ferry Town

(First XI)

HILLS HOLD ON FOR DRAW IN CLOSE ENCOUNTER


The opening game of this year’s cricket season saw Hills Plymouth hosting a strong Briton Ferry team at Pentrebach.

The visitors lost an early wicket when A Mainwaring was well caught by Richard Gibby off the bowling of Chris Birch. N Baggridge and Z Ali then got into their stride and began to punish the Hills bowling. A fine partnership of 65 was ended when James Kelly had Ali sharply caught at gully by Jason Castaldi for 39. Baggridge continued to attack the ball and looked set for a half century until he was trapped lbw by Kelly for 47. Michael Rees bowled an excellent spell at the other end, and then took the next two wickets, with Y Ali (13) and M Arshad (17) caught by James Kelly and Chris Shopland respectively. Rees finished with excellent figures of 2 for 15 from 11 overs.

The visitors then attempted to push up the run rate, but some tight bowling from Jeremy Crocker and Dan Davies kept them in check. Crocker claimed 2 wickets, clean-bowling J Joseph for 10 and C Jewell for 20, while Davies caught skipper S Amin off his own bowling for 11.  D Crowther (6 not out) and P Collings (2 not out) ended the Briton Ferry innings on 176 for 8.

The Hills reply started badly, with early wickets falling. James Kelly was caught by Ali off Jewell for 1, and then Shopland was adjudged lbw to the same bowler without scoring. Steven Manning steadied the ship for Hills but lost partner Dan Davies lbw to Collings for 13 with the score on 20 for 3. Manning and Richard Gibby then put on 26 for the next wicket, Gibby being bowled by Collings for 14. Jeremy Crocker fell lbw to Collings for 0, then Chris Birch and Manning added 20 runs, until Manning was caught off the bowling of Arshad for a solid 29. Jason Castaldi then joined Birch at the crease before Arshad claimed another wicket, Birch lbw for 22. Things were not looking good for Hills, but then Andrew Lewis came out to bat. Lewis decided that attack was the best form of defence, and looked in fine form as he charged to 31 runs, including two 4s and two smashed sixes. He was finally bowled by Collings going for another big hit, but not before he and Castaldi had taken the score on to 132, a match-saving partnership of 47 runs. It was now just a question of holding on, and Castaldi and young Johnny Baber comfortably batted out the last 7 overs, adding a further 6 runs to claim an additional 2 points for their side. The final total was 138 for 8 wickets, Hills taking 9 points and Briton Ferry 16. 

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