Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI vs Drefach CC - 1st XI

Result: Drefach CC - 1st XI Won Batting Second  by 4 wickets

Date:  Sat 11th Aug 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Hills Plymouth

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Highlights: Robert Seymour took 6 for 21 for Drefach. 


Briton Ferry Town CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Win/Draw 1-10

Date:  Sat 4th Aug 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Home Ground

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard 

                            DAVIES FIREWORKS TO NO AVAIL

Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI vs Landore CC - 1st XI

Result: No Differential

Date:  Sat 28th Jul 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Hills Plymouth

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Toss:  Landore CC - 1st XI won the toss and decided to bowl

Highlights: Aled Walters scored 56, Matthew Davies 55 not out off 32 balls,Chris Shopland 41 for Hills Plymouth. Jay Copp scored 75 not out and Jack Lee 57 not out for Landore. Copp and Lee had an unbeaten partnership of 132 for the 3rd wicket. 


Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI vs Pontyberem CC - 1st XI

Result: Pontyberem CC - 1st XI Won Batting First by 65 runs

Date:  Sat 21st Jul 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Hills Plymouth

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Highlights: For Pontyberem: Wayne Thomas 50 n/o Daniel Griffiths 43 and 4 for 13. 

Hills' batting woes continued as once again they were shot out within the allocated overs, even though late into the chase they had outscored their counterparts at the same stage with 10 overs remaining.  This is food for thought!

Pontyberem started the batting proceedings and went along serenely until Craig Howells was caught Williams off Castaldi for 8.  Martin Lewis, he of "500 runs" or something, continued hitting the bad and good balls to the on-side accumulating patiently before Stephen Baber caught him, again off Castaldi, for 28.  At 58-3 Craig Evans was next to go for 1 caught Baber again off the guile of Crooker.  Then at 74-4 the game was swinging Hills' way when Emyr Harris was leg before bowled by Crooker.  

But Hills couldn't penetrate further as the left handed Wayne Thomas looked to initially compile his innings with patience and caution.  Both he and man of the match Daniel Griffiths (43) progressed the score to 178 for 5 where the innings closed.  Thomas concluding his knock not out on 50 (78 balls, 5x4's).  Lewis (10-3-43-0) and Birch (11-2-31-0) tried to get amongst the wickets bowling decently, with Jason Castaldi (2/44) and Jeremy Crooker (3/43) being the most effective.  Crooker bowled with discipline and control for the most part whilst Castaldi saw a number of chances hit the dirt as the afternoon became more and more frustrating.

After Harry Baber had tried to eat half an entire mini roll cake for a bet inside 30 seconds and was later sick, Hills set about in their reply.  

Walters was bowled early doors and Keiren Evans had the scalp of Stephen Baber for 14.  Crooker looked in decent touch until he was undone by a decent delivery, bowling him decisively for 17 again by Keiren Evans.  Matthew Lewis tried his best to blunt an uplifted bowling attack and almost achieved this before getting bowled by paceman Craig Evans.  

Shopland and Williams then put together a partnership in a turgid and dull phase of the game which saw the pitch getting slower and lower with every passing moment.  Shopland's defences were eventually shattered, bowled for 27 by what was the start of an excellent spell from Griffiths.  He then bowled Lewis for 9.  At 102/6 Williams then yelled with anguish as he holed out for 25.  

Hills needed to see the game out at this point, but again crumbled under the pressure.  Chamberlain came and went, Baber stuck around for a bit but was eventually dismissed and then Birch was bowled to cap an impressive 4 for 13 and 43 runs in the match.  Hills were dismissed for 113. 

The result drops Hills down several places but there is nothing points-wise between three or four sides for the second promotion place.  BUT, with 5 games to go Hills really have to raise their game considerably and start putting it on the line when batting.  If this doesn't happen then it could be a long old finish to the season and we'll drop like a stone down the table.


Two stood out today!

"He's only got one shot boys, everything's to leg."

"Shut up.  I've scored 500 runs and I'm in the book.  When was the last time you scored 500 runs?"

"Err.....last season!"


Harry Baber trying to eat half an entire mini roll cake inside 30 seconds for £30, then being sick when he was amazed it couldn't be done.  Quality. 


Margam CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Abandoned

Date:  Sat 14th Jul 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Margam Park

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Toss:  Margam CC - 1st XI won the toss and decided to bowl 


Porthcawl CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: No Differential

Date:  Sat 23rd Jun 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Locks Common

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Highlights: Matthew Lewis made 40 for Hills Plymouth. David Lewis 4 - 26 for Porthcawl 

It was a tale of what could have been, as Porthcawl escaped at 33-5 before the rain halted proceedings on a dreadful cricketing day.  With the coin toss won and the minutes silence impeccably observed after the tragic death of Tom Maynard, Porthcawl invited Hills Plymouth to bat first.  Rocket brought his bobble hat and five layers knowing that Arctic conditions were the order of the day.

Stephen Baber caught a leading edge early on as the gusty wind was playing havoc with backlifts and scoring was nigh on impossible.  Tom Davies was using the conditions superbly, bowling a very full length and letting the ball swing and move all over the place.  Skipper Lewis was next to go with the score on 22-2 caught behind for 13.  

Robert Wathan then departed bowled to the full toss which was now becoming the ball of the day.  Then at 23-4, Shopland was trapped in front of all three again to the full swinging ball.  It was at this stage that the Hills team unanimously voted Porthcawl's ground to be officially crud.

'White Christmas' (1) was then caught at mid-on.  Later he described the shot as 'in his slot' and that 'there was no risk to it'.......he'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky mid-ons!  Matt Davies was then stumped without scoring before Mark Chamberlain was bowled first ball.  Dai Lewis for Porthcawl had now taken 4 wickets and was leading their attack well.  

But then Birch and Matthew Lewis flourished in a moment of unification that was right up there with the thawing of the Cold War and the removal of the Berlin Wall.  Team mates to the end, they conspired to move the board along hitting a number of nice shots, with Lewis in particular timing the ball to perfection at times.  A six brought him through the thirties, before Birch was leg before to Steven Doherty for a hard earned 14 (2 fours).  At 64-8 one more decent partnership was needed to post a competitive score, and that's exactly what Castaldi managed to do.  Both him and Lewis dug in and pushed the score toward 100 before Castaldi was caught for 18.  Castaldi once again proved the nutritionists wrong, and that a diet of Chinese, Indian and wine by the boat load is the key to success in division 3.  

Harry Baber dazzled in a breathtaking display (1 not out) to support Lewis who was finally given out unluckily for an excellent 40 (4x4, 1x6).  Final score - 103 all out inside 49 overs.  Tom Davies 3/30, Dai Lewis 4/26 and Steven Doherty 2/20 were the Porthcawl pick.

Tea was.....interesting.  Horrified faces scanned the tables for rolls, pizza, pasta et al, but were greeted with the sight of delicately made home made cake and dessert in abundance.  A really strange, yet lovely change of pace was the verdict.  Well done Porthcawl!  

Obviously with way too much sugar in their system, the Hills Plymouth boys came out bouncing like Gummi Bears on acid (  Immediate banter was sent to all those that dared banter us when we batted and the ploy seemed to work.  The first big wicket of the day was Castaldi trapping the normally reliable Mark Dixon leg before without scoring.  Then the in-form Steven Doherty was bowled by a ripper from the Ginger Ninja for a duck.  When young Davies bowls this quick and this full, he is unplayable.  Consistency is the key though which I'm sure he'll add to his game as he develops.  

Castaldi added another scalp lapping up the bowler friendly conditions in 2012 as Fairy Arm added another catching victim.  Davies then had Lyddon caught behind for 6 and was now fully pumped and steaming in.  Heather must have told him he wasn't getting Connect 4 for Christmas after all!  Davies then had the last of the big wickets, trapping 'keeper Richards in front for 9.  At 33-5 Hills were rampant, very much like the rabbit, and would have unquestionably wrapped up the game in these conditions.  But the weather was getting worse by the minute and in the end the umpires had no choice but to bring the players off.  Castaldi finished with 7-3-20-2, and Davies 7-3-12-3.  Andrew Lewis bowled a single over which was a maiden.   

Another sterling effort from the team who showed once again that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Matt Lewis got back into some form with an excellent 40 given the conditions, and the fielders backed Castaldi and Davies up when defending the total.  At last back on home soil next week, where Chris is likely preparing a wicket that will last through until at least day 4 of the first test!

Also, thanks to umpires Barrie Harvey and John Hunt.  Excellent and humorous as always.

                     PLUCKY CUP EFFORT FROM PLYMOUTH 9

Skewen CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Skewen CC - 1st XI Won by 75 runs

Date:  Sun 17th Jun 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Memorial Park Skewen

Type:  Cup : South Wales Cricket Association - Thomas Carroll KO Cup (Round 1)

Scoring:  Standard

Toss:  Skewen CC - 1st XI won the toss and decided to bat 

Hills went down by a wide margin in the end, losing by 75 runs to Skewen in the Cup. But it was a plucky effort from the nine that travelled.  Skewen batted first and were reduced to 33 for 6 before they recovered to post a respectable 121 all out on a wicket that was conducive for the bowling team.  Matthew Davies took 2 wickets, Castaldi 1, with Birch and Matt Lewis taking three apiece.  Jamie Lewis (37) top scored for Skewen, hitting a number of lusty blows.

In reply Hills were in a spot of bother at 2-5, but recovered a little in part to skipper Lewis and Shopland, before eventually being dismissed for 46 which saw a number of players having to fend for their lives as the pitch became Sabina Park like!  Matthew Lewis got hit in the helmet off a half volley...  A brave but ultimately losing effort.  

A massive thanks to the boys that played (you know who you are).


Drefach CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Won Batting First by 62 runs

Date:  Sat 9th Jun 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard 

Drefach went down by 52 runs, as leaders Hills bounced back after last week's shambles.  Stand-in skipper Mark Chamberlain rolled back the glory years when he steered the side to unprecedented success (source:Chunky), and deservedly took full credit for an accomplished master class in leadership and strategy, in which he secured his legacy alongside Napoleon, Hannibal, Alexander Suvorov, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.  Losing the toss though, Drefach opted to bowl first on a slow, turgid wicket after the previous few days' rain.  

Batting was going to be difficult, but brothers Baber did a fine job in blunting the initial attack.  But just when Steve again threatened a big one, he holed out to the deep mid wicket boundary fielder for a well crafted 31, just when he had established some dominance.  Jonathan (9) was next to go, out to a decent one handed catch with the score on 48.  Matthew Lewis and Davies were then together and started to rebuild as Drefach spinner Leigh Davies, was finding a decent line and length.  Lewis holed out tamely off a full toss to depart for 12 though after a couple of nice shots, and then Davies skied one to mid on, out for 4.  At this point the pitch seemed to be more difficult than ever once the shine off the new ball had gone, and scoring was getting tougher.  

Shopland and Crooker came together at 58-4 and moved the score along slowly but surely, picking up what was on offer when they could.  Crooker was then caught Humphries bowled Seymour for 8, as the slow rolling leg spinner was using the conditions to his advantage.  Shopland kept rotating the strike and putting away the occasional bad ball as an original target of 160 had to be grossly revised.  Mark Chamberlain made 8 before tickling one behind, and Williams was bowled round his legs by Seymour without scoring.  Shopland (48) then attempted to up the tempo as the overs drew to a close with initial success.  But an excellent catch from Drefach's deep mid-on saw his innings come to a close.  As a side note, Drefach's fielding was top notch throughout, so well done to them.  Birch (6*), together with Castaldi and Davies, saw the innings to a close of 132 all out in 50 overs.  

Tea came and went with resident Painter and Decorator commenting on the 'smoking ban' ceiling, and the Drefach innings was soon underway.  Pressure spells was the order of the day on a wicket which was now dying a death.  Crayons opened with Castaldi and both did a sterling job in tying down the batsman, creating pressure and getting through their overs rapidly.  Castaldi removed Humphreys first, bowling him to a #swish.  Then keeper Morris was removed caught smartly behind by Baber again off Castaldi.  Castaldi completed the obliteration of the top order by removing number three Adam Goodman, caught by Shopland.  

Then a Chamberlain master-stroke, as Castaldi was giving his 'spell orders', akin to pulling Bob Willis off during his spell at Headingley '81! ( If you just closed your eyes, and took out of the equation speed, acceleration, run up length, pace of delivery, drive through the crease, body angles, delivery position, posture and athletic'd mistake them for twins.  Anyway, thanks for coming was the verdict.  Birch was now on with Devon based Crooker, who got particularly excited when Daisy and Co. appeared in the adjacent field.  Then the wicket that turned the game firmly in Hills' favour, as Birch lured danger man Seymour into an aerial cover drive, which was smartly caught by Castaldi, gone for 14.  Tosser Crooker then Got Carter leg before without scoring after three consecutive attempted sweep shots. Dan if you're reading, you'd have been proud son.  

Chris Birch then bowled a jaffa to Leigh Davies, who seen his off stump pinned back.  Then when Davies came back for his now infamous second spell, and with the promise of a new crayon set firmly ringing in his ears, he immediately dismissed Rhodri Jones for four, decisively bowling him.  A mention too for his brother Lloyd who was excellent throughout in the field and is contributing to an all round team effort with some enthusiastic support.  Well done Lloyd.  At the other end, Crooker was finding more and more spiritual strength from the cows and was starting to get some more pronounced mooovement.  Hills then sensed victory when he took an easy return catch to pick up his second wicket.  The third wasn't long in coming trapping Greg Owens leg before without scoring, before wrapping up the innings bowling the defiant Osian Evans (12).  Drefach were all out for 70.  

Another pleasing performance on so many levels, with every single player contributing something to the day.  Special mentions obviously to the bowlers who did a fine job with little margin for error.  Davies again bowled with heart and vigour and is again creating pressure for the other end to prosper in the wicket column.  It's a team game, and bowlers work in partnerships like batsman.  Davies finished with figures of 10-2-16-1.  Chris Birch finished a very good spell with figures of 9-1-29-2.  The stars of the show this week were Castaldi (10-5-9-3) and Crooker (8.2-3-11-4), which just underlines with absolute clarity, in this age of professionalism, the importance of a healthy lifestyle and an intensely rigorous fitness schedule.  Well done.

Lastly a mention to the umpire of the day Neil Hobbs.  We've had him a few times this year, and each time he's been a pleasure to play under.  Thanks Neil.


The Painter : "When was this ceiling last done....before the Smoking Ban by the looks of it".


Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI vs Briton Ferry Town CC - 1st XI

Result: Briton Ferry Town CC - 1st XI Won Batting First by 120 runs

Date:  Sat 2nd Jun 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Hills Plymouth

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Highlights: Yakoob Ali made 61 and Shakeel Amin 49 not out for Briton Ferry Town. Mark Chamberlain was 41 not out for Hills Plymouth. Yakoob Ali took 6 for 31 for Briton Ferry Town. 

Briton Ferry Town crushed Hills Plymouth to inflict their first league loss of the season, winning by 120 runs.  Briton Ferry batted first and immediately made the most of some sloppy fielding and numerous dropped chances, as the have a dash opener Yakoob Ali chanced his arm to a streaky, yet effective 61, ultimately caught by Stephen Baber off the bowling of Andrew Lewis.  Meanwhile Neil Baggridge continued to anchor the innings on his way to a well crafted 36 before Castaldi saw the back of him.  Wickets proved hard to come by though, although at 144/3 and then 162/4, Hills threatened to restrict the early damage.  

However, Shakeel Amin had other ideas, and his 49 not out helped his team to a daunting 246.  In between this Matthew Davies' second spell proved decent taking the scalps of Mainwaring (25) and Curtis (8) with Jeremy Crooker having Tasnew (31) stumped off Jonathan Baber.  The first innings was littered with incident and talking points which again left Hills frustrated at a no-ball called which would have hit the stumps, and a blatant stumping not given.  C'est la vie.

Hills in reply capitulated.  Daryl Philips opened at one end, and the nemesis of Hills Ali at the other.  Together they tore through the batting at a breeze.  First Castaldi was first to go holing out to a tame drive, then Stephen Baber was bowled by a low one.  2/2 soon became 20/5 as Lewis was caught behind off Ali for 5, Crooker was caught for 8 and Jonathan Baber was leg before.  A brief partnership between Davies and Shopland emerged, before Davies was caught for 13.  

Shopland (17) was next to go with the score on 54, then Williams was leg before off Philips without scoring.  Skipper Lewis battled for a while before he too was caught off Ali who by now had picked up six wickets.  A last wicket partnership between veterans Chamberlain and Birch ensured the score was given some respectability.  At one stage, the draw looked on as well.  But finally Birch was trapped in front for 6, leaving Chunky stranded on 41 not out, and Hills dismissed for 126 inside 39 overs.

Ali finished with figures of 15-6-31-6 and Philips 15-3-47-3.  A great bowling effort.  Meanwhile Hills were left to lick their wounds and hopefully bounce back from this massive defeat against Drefach next week.


Landore CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Won Batting Second by 2 wickets

Date:  Sat 26th May 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Landore Cricket Club

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard 

Landore, rather frustratingly, still haven't updated the Play Cricket stats, so what would have been a report to mirror a truly brilliant game of cricket between the two sides is just cut to small summary.

Purely off memory now, Landore batted first and together with some good partnerships and a superb century from Jay Cobb steered Landore to 243/6 off 50 overs.  Can't remember bowling figures sorry.  Hills started well with Baber and Walters seeing off the new ball and getting into the stride.  Did both make 40 odd, I don't know?  Then a few partnerships before Shopland (80 odd I think) got into his stride and together with Matthew Davies (don't know score, but I know he likes crayons) almost saw the game out, but didn't, to create some classic Plymouth drama.  Birch and Castaldi got us over the line in the end.

It was a brilliant game, and a great day out for the travelling supporters.  

Now please Landore, UPDATE YOUR PLAY CRICKET SITE!!!!!!


Pontyberem CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Win/Draw 11-20

Date:  Sat 19th May 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: The Park

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Toss:  Pontyberem CC - 1st XI won the toss and decided to bowl 

Hills Plymouth refused to die in unbelievable circumstances, which maintains their unbeaten record in 2012.  Putting the supporters through the grind yet again, Hills must surely be one of the most exciting teams to watch on a week to week basis, as yet again they were involved in another nail-biter.  

Needless to say, skipper Lewis lost the toss (this time in democratic fashion), and the home team put Plymouth in.  The outfield was wet, but the wicket didn't play too bad, as Stephen Baber, returning from Camp David, opened with Walters.  Both went about building an innings with relish, hitting some nice boundaries and taking the initiative early on.  Baber (28) was first to go, with the score on 61.  Walters then went soon after for a well constructed 34, which included two sixes.  Meanwhile Crooker continued on his merry way, punishing the bad ball.  Baber came and went and then Shopland holed out on the boundary.  90-4 became 98-5 as Castaldi was deceived by the mystery spin of the Ajmal like Rhodri Evans.  Davies followed soon after, at 103-6.  

But a spirited fightback ensured that Hills reached a respectable total as Crooker continued pacing the innings beautifully, scoring 45 off 66 balls (5x4s, 1x6), before he was stumped by Evans.  His ally Chamberlain also was putting bat to ball by now and together with Andy Williams (White Christmas), upped the tempo.  Chamberlain (25), Williams (12) and the lower order reached a final score 164.  Respectable, but not clear cut match winning.  Craig Evans (3-27) and Rhodri Evans (3-36) starred for Pontyberem.  At tea there was confusion from Walters as to an 'eclair' and a 'chair', and the mystery of the missing cake.  

In reply Hills had to be patient against the ever-reliable opening duo of Lewis and Thomas.  After an initial spell from Lewis and Davies, Birch struck first, bowling Money Saving Expert (, Martin Lewis, for 18.  Then holiday maker Emyr Harris was caught and bowled by Crooker (obviously still jet-lagged).  Hills then struck a further twice removing Craig Howells (11) and Wayne Thomas (31).  Hills were right in the game now, as Birch and Crooker had a complete hold over the scoring rate and line and length,  But then the swash-buckling Daniel Griffiths came to the crease and decided enough was enough, hitting his first ball for 4, and looking to attack with every opportunity.  His quick-fire 46, which included 3 fours and 4 towering sixes, brought Pontyberem to the cusp of victory.  But it wasn't enough.  In a last throw of the dice, Castaldi (thanks for coming) was thrown the ball, with Ponty needing just 20 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand.  

In his first over he removed the danger man Griffiths (46), caught 'Crayons' at point.  Then with Davies brought back for his notorious second spell, he cannoned one into the stumps removing Martin Evans for a duck.  Then another huge wicket, as the set skipper Craig Evans, was fantastically stumped by some quite brilliant glove work from Baber for 20, off Castaldi.  And could you script it, a few balls later Baber took another lightening stumping off Castaldi to make it Pontyberem 147-8.  Suddenly, 18 runs looked miles away.  More drama was to follow as Castaldi had the ninth wicket, Jones caught Baber for 2.  In between this, there was a controversial stumping.  Hills thought it was out, their umpire thought it not out.  Fair enough, the game moves on.  But it was out!

Hills then had two overs to finish a miraculous job.  However, they just run out of balls, and Davies and Castaldi just couldn't find the killer blow.  However, this had to go down as one of the great turnarounds ever at the club, and an indication this year, that the team can be made of stern stuff.  Pontyberem finished on 152 for 9, and surely must be devastated that they couldn't see this one out.  For Hills, it was a real smash and grab.  The stars of the show were Castaldi (4-1-4-4), Crooker (14-3-44-2) and Birch 14-3-50-2), with Davies chipping in with 1-32.  A special mention to, for Johnny Baber, who together with Castaldi, turned this one right on it's head.  A thank you also to umpire Neil Hobbs, who once again umpired with skill, consistency and humour.  


Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI vs Margam CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Won Batting First by 40 runs

Date:  Sat 12th May 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Hills Plymouth

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard

Toss:  Margam CC - 1st XI won the toss and decided to bowl 

With the visitors putting Hills into bat on what looked like a half decent wicket considering the adverse weather in the week, it was up to Crooker and Walters to get the hosts off to a solid start.  Both applied themselves well in the early exchanges with Anish Patel building up some nice pace, combined with the cutters of Rhodri Reynolds.  Crooker hit some nice boundaries and then Walters started finding his range with some glorious drives.  Crooker was first to go (29) lbw to Reynolds.  And then Birch went bowled and Lewis leg before, to trigger a small tremor on the pavilion. At 82-3 it was imperative the Walters stuck around whilst Plymouth rebuilt, and together with Shopland the board started moving at a decent rate again.  

Shopland continued in aggressive fashion matching Walters blow for blow as Hills started to regain a foothold in the game.  With drinks coming and going, Hills ramped up the pressure on the visitors scoring heavily in patches and dictating the terms as boundaries were coming easier and easier.  Luke O' Connor bowled very well from one end, varying his off-spinners, in both pace and flight, to maintain some semblance of control for Margam.  After 7 fours and 2 sixes Walters eventually departed to a caught and bowled effort from O'Connor, to make it 179-4, and ending a quite lovely innings from this years lean, mean, fighting machine Walters (67).  

But with Hills looking to press harder wickets started to fall, as 179-4 became 192-6 as first Jonathan Baber was bowled by O'Connor and then Williams fell to the guile of Elwyn Pugh.  In truth, the wicket was becoming slower and lower, and scoring boundaries was now becoming problematic.  Shopland departed soon after for 80, which included 9 fours and 3 sixes, and it was left to the lower order to eek out as many runs as they could.  Mark Chamberlain (12*) and skipper Lewis contributed, but it was left to Matthew Davies (13) to hit some decisive sixes to get the score up to 225-9, off 50 overs.  Rhodri Reynolds (15-2-58-3), O'Connor (15-1-51-4) and Elwyn (5-0-24-2) were the main contributors for Margam.

Hills knew at half time that this score was good, but also knew that to win the game outright would be difficult.  Davies struck early bowling Gareth Barker, and then Matthew Lewis caught Jempson off Birch for 18.  Birch then struck again pinning Reynolds leg before for 28.  Crooker deceived Mogridge (18) to get him stumped Baber and with the score on 97-4, Plymouth thought they had a chance of wrapping up the innings.  But O'Connor proved a thorn in their side, showing some nice touches and hitting some nice boundaries.  

Hills were never in huge trouble, but needed a breakthrough and fast, with Margam fancying an ever possible win.  The game was turned on its head with the re-introduction of Davies, who comprehensively yorked O'Connor, for 51 (3x4s, 3x6s).  A very good knock.  Then Davies bowled Rob Davies for 24, and the game was now wide open.  

The excellent Castaldi bowled Pugh for 10, and then a strategic shift as Geraint Reynolds holed out to Shopland off Crooker, who briefly replaced Davies.  When Castaldi then bowled Bond for a duck, Margam were teetering, nine down.  Then with the pressure on, Davies produced another fizzing delivery that connected with the stumps, to ensure a 40 run victory, and the maximum points.  Davies finished with fantastic figures of 10-4-16-4, whilst Birch (2-33), Castaldi (2-34) and Crooker (2-34) took the other wickets for Hills.  

Another good team effort, and credit too to Margam for a competitive and enjoyable game which could have swung their way late on.  A thanks also to the umpires for the day, who did an excellent job and who umpired the game with consistency and good humour.  Well done!


Swansea Civil Service CC - 1st XI vs Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI

Result: Hills Plymouth CC - 1st XI Won Batting First by 71 runs

Date:  Sat 28th Apr 2012

Start Time: 13:30

Ground: Bishop Gore Playing Fields

Type:  League : South Wales Cricket Association - Division Three - First XI

Scoring:  Standard 

Hills Plymouth recorded their first win on the opening day of the season ensuring they took advantage of treacherous weather, to go top of the league.  

Swansea CS won the toss and decided to put Hills in, and the going was tough early on with seam movement off a wet wicket aiding the bowling attack.  Mark Chamberlain was first to go foiled by a ball which sat in the pitch for a second longer, to bowl him.  Stephen Baber continued to go on merrily accumulating where need be and offering the odd aggressive shot.  Hitting boundaries was tough going though as the outfield was very slow due to excessive wet areas.  Crooker was also doing his bit until he too was bowled, this time from a ball which cut in off the deck, for 13.  But 33-2 was good at this stage.  Lewis offered some more support until Baber was caught controversially off a definite 'no-ball', but nevertheless had to walk for a well made 39, which included some lovely lofted drives.

Lewis and Shopland kept the board going, and sensing that the ante had to be upped, started to take the attack to Swansea after the excellent ground work from the top order.  Lewis was unluckily bowled for 27, to one which kept low, and Shopland was stumped for 28.  Dan Davies (who had shown a penchant for kinky Velcro dwarf throwing fetishes) made 6, and Andy Williams 5, as Jonathan Baber finished not out 13 including one towering six, to which one elderly lady was reported to have inquisitively asked her partner "how has that 10 year-old hit it that far?".  The final total was 145 for 7 off the allocated 50 overs.

After tea, Hills knew that discipline was the key on a wicket that would get batsmen out through a consistent pitch mapping.  Matthew Davies bowled an excellent 5 overs for 10 with no reward, but he was threatening all the time creating pressure for the other end to exploit, which Andrew Lewis did.  His 10 over spell went for just 20 runs taking the wickets of Devonald (c Shopland for 1), Porter (c Davies for 2) and key wicket Slack (c Crooker without scoring).  

THEN, it was the introduction of star man Chris Birch who's winter nets (round the back garden) have done wonders.  

Through a combination of cutters and slower balls, Birch started to take the Swansea scalps one by one.  bowling four players, getting one pinned leg before, and having the others caught by Andy Williams and Mark Chamberlain respectively, with some expert ball control.  In between all this carnage, The Devon Destroyer bowled an effective spell to pile the pressure on the tail end.....but had to come off for medical reasons.  

The final wicket fell with the score on 74, to ensure a 71 run victory.  Everyone contributed in some way in a very good team effort; well done!  A special mention must go to their flamed haired youngster, Scott Thomas, who bowled brilliantly and who batted with some courage and skill at the end of the Swansea innings.  He looks like a decent cricketer with a very good future.  And good luck to Dan also on his adventures in Oz, keep posting on the message board and good luck in the future!!


Dan - 'Have a spell Jez'
Jez - '.......Just......**** off!'
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