Dafen played their penultimate game of the 2013 season when they travelled to Clydach, near, but not quite certain of, safety from relegation. The day was set fair, the pitch looked dry and slow and Dafen captain Matthew Evans inserted the opposition upon winning the toss. The established opening attack was reunited and Andrew Rowlands and Evans reeled off 6 consecutive maidens before the first run off the bat.
Slowly Jason Davies and Jonathan Donne increased the tempo, and the ball started to whiz over the curiously undulating outfield, studded as it was by the efforts of crows to dig out leatherjackets from under its surface. As the shots came, the cockerel in a nearby coop started to crow and it continued to do so throughout the afternoon.
The first wicket fell on 66 after 22 overs when Evans had Davies LBW, the party was then joined by Phil George who claimed a remarkable 5 wickets in 4 overs, four of them LBW to his aggressive offspin bowled from around the wicket to the right handers a la Nathan Lyon. This clatter of LBWs made more than one batsman a bit cross, but the extreme low bounce, tight line and neat turn made for this mode of dismissal.
James Garland (46) watched all this from the non-strikers end before rebuilding the innings with first Nicky Fisher and then Gwennan Davies who used her feet well to hit George for a brace of fours through mid-wicket. Chris Hudson claimed one wicket, Rowlands returned for his own and George applied the coup de grace by taking two more to finish the innings with 7-43 after a superb exhibition of attacking spin bowling. Clydach closed on 155 all out.
In reply Dafen feared the low bounce and made a cautions start, Evans and Nicky Davies putting on 52 before Davies fell LBW and Evans, as if keening for his partner, himself being dismissed. Dafydd Nicholas net soon after, all three wickets to Matthew Vaughan. When Shaun Evans, fresh from GCSE success, was bowled by Gwennan Davies, Dafen were wobbling on 81 for 4. Jamie Mansel and Chris Randell steadied the ship with a brace of thirties and took Dafen to the brink of victory. Though a couple of wickets fell, the win was calmly secured and with it first division cricket next year.
The later stages of the game were watched by the second team who had trounced Clydach early in the day and with it took the second XI title as champions.
Cowbridge have been fined 200 points for fielding an ineligible player and are therefore now certain of second division cricket next year along with Llangennech. They could be joined by Maesteg Celtic if two teams from the SWCA finish bottom of the premier league leading to 3 teams being relegated in turn from the first division of SWCA.
On the last Saturday of the summer next weekend all this will be decided, Dafen travel away again to finish the season against Tata Steel.
Taliesin - 25/08/2013
Dafen Weather Forecast