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It was another mixed bag of results for teams across Caerphilly County Borough as the rain did its best to halt proceedings – with reduced overs a factor around the South East Wales Cricket League.
In division one, 11th-placed Newbridge faced off away to an Usk side which sat at the top of the table.
The underdogs set a very solid 197 for the hosts to catch, as they managed to bat for the full 50 overs. Usk needed 46 overs as they eventually reached the target with six wickets to spare. Newbridge remain 11th and just off the drop zone.
In division two, Blackwood were looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat, as they visited fourth-placed Vale.
Blackwood opened and were all out for 183 after 45 overs. Bad weather meant the overs were reduced for Vale as they chased a revised target of 176. The hosts weren’t up to the task however, with Blackwood scuttling Vale out for a 29 run win.
Blackwood temporarily return to top spot in the division as Ebbw Vale didn’t play.
Miskin Manor v Pontymister and Crosskeys
Pontymister and Crosskeys cricket club firsts maintained their promotion hopes with a narrow victory over Miskin Manor in a match heavily impacted by rain delays.
Pontymister and Crosskeys set a challenging total after declaring on 265/5, following a magnificent 117 by James Baker, including sixteen fours and three sixes. James was supported by Zulfi Ali who continued his fine season of form with a finely judged 66. Dependable opener Ali Ajmal also contributed with a solid 39.
Lyr Hughes (2-14), and Tom Lloyd (2-49) were the top performers with the ball for Miskin.
Miskin Manor took the game down to the wire with fine knocks from Tom Lloyd (56), a hard-hitting 53 from George Harvey and William Hart with 42.
Needing 20 from the last two overs, Rahman Ahmed and skipper Chris Jones kept their nerve to keep Miskin to a total of 255/7. Solid spells of bowing from opening bowler Luke short (2-47), and all rounder James baker (2-36) helped keep the total just beyond the home sides reach.
Pontymister and Crosskeys still sit in second spot.
All eyes now turn to next weeks top of the table clash between Pontymister and Crosskeys and Barry Athletic.
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Crumlin were looking to continue winning ways in division three after an inspired win last week as they hosted bottom of the league Sully Centurions.
Centurions set a very manageable 129 for Crumlin to chase, all out after 39 overs. Crumlin did so with ease inside 18 overs, winning with nine wickets in hand.
Crumlin leapfrog the two sides above them and are now in fourth.
Croesyceiliog v Machen
It was a frustrating weekend for Machen‘s cricketers with the first XI slipping to a narrow two-wicket defeat at Croesyceiliog, the second XI denied by the rain when well placed against Abercynon, and the Sunday team having their match at Newbridge rained off.
But on the plus side, the firsts are still 47 points clear in South East Wales division four despite losing their unbeaten record, and the seconds picked up useful bonus points after dismissing their opponents.
The trip to Cwmbran produced the same result with similar scores to the last game in 2021, which was the pool final left over from the Covid-hit 2020 season. Nearly all the Machen batters got to double figures with the main contributions coming from former Glamorgan professional Ian Thomas (29), Gazzy Jones (45) and Jon Toghill (44*), though it was disappointing to be bowled out with 4.1 overs left for 207.
Ahsan Naqash (3-42 including a superb return catch) claimed the first three home wickets and the bowlers looked to be on top at various stages when Croesy were 47-3, 107-5 and 167-8 before they found a stand of 40 to take them to victory with just two balls to spare.
Arbab Buland (a tidy 2-30), Gazzy Jones (2-43) and Arbab Haroon were the other wicket-takers.
Meanwhile Machen seconds bowled out Abercynon for 146 after economical opening spells from Jake Preston and Dean Lewis, with wickets for first change bowlers Samir Khan (2-39) and Dan Leonard (1-24). Meirion Pugh (3-26) got rid of top scorer Idris Davies for 69 thanks to a catch from captain Nigel Hicks, who brought himself on as sixth bowler and hit the stumps four times at a cost of just 15 runs, highlighting why his threats to retire should be resisted.
Machen lost a couple of early wickets but Owen Tamplin (25) and Jonny Cross (30 not out) had them well placed at 84-4 in 22 overs, with plenty of batting to come, when rain ruined the chances of improving further their third place in division 11.
Meanwhile the Sunday match at Newbridge was rained off, but the club hopes there will be more opportunities for younger players in coming weeks depending on player numbers.
July 30 sees the first team’s turn to host Abercynon, while the second eleven look to repeat August 2021’s win at Sudbrook, while attempts are being made to arrange a third team friendly match.
Abercarn hosted Dinas Powys in division seven, however the game never saw its natural conclusion with rain forcing its abandonment. Abercarn remain eighth.
Down in division nine, second-placed Cefn Fforest and Maesycwmmer were looking to move into top spot as they entertained ninth-placed Monkswood.
With rain once again being a consideration for teams, Cefn Fforest and Maesycwmmer declared when they reached the 200 mark and let Monkswood chase.
The bold strategy paid off; the home side won by 92 runs as they bowled the visitors out in 27 overs. Cefn Fforest and Maesycwmmer move into first-place with just two points between them and second.
A reminder to clubs that if they wish to send a match report they can do so via: email@example.com.
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