The Wales cricket teams have made a promising start to the new campaign across a range of age groups.
Wales U12 started in the best possible way, picking up a convincing 5 wicket victory against Herefordshire U13. After losing the toss, Wales were made to field but made inroads immediately with Jack Parry (NE Wales) picking up a wicket with the first delivery of the match. Herefordshire recovered with a second wicket stand of 46 but their middle order failed to kick on, as Welsh spinners Luc Rees (West Glamorgan) (2-12) and Sean Buchanan (Eryri) (2-9) limited the visitors to 105-7. Chasing 106 to win, Wales lost two early wickets, but recovered with Gwent pair Alex Horton (24) and Joe Westwood (17 not out) leading Wales to a 5 wicket victory.
Wales U12 enjoyed further success when they travelled to Tiverton Heathcote Cricket Club to play Devon U12s. Devon put Wales into bat after winning the toss, a decision which paid off immediately when they took an early wicket. But an impressive 55 run stand for the second wicket between Ben Kellaway (Gwent) (30) and Osian Evans (Cardiff and Vale) (49) put Wales on top. But Devon made regular inroads into the Welsh line-up and 107-3 turned into 155 all out. Nevertheless, Jack Parry (1-8) and Joe Westwood (2-20) picked up early wickets in the chase. And after the introduction of spinners Luc Rees (2-15) and Ioan Phillips (Carmarthenshire) (2-18), Devon’s middle-order collapsed and was bowled out inside 30 overs for a meagre 65.
The U14 Wales team got their season underway with a win also, when they faced Millfield. Chasing 137, Gwent’s Scott O’Leary (52) and Tomos Evans (44 not out) led Wales to an 8 wicket win. Connor Davies (NE Wales) had earlier claimed figures of 4-23 to reduce Millfield to a modest total.
Wales U14 followed that by beating Wiltshire in a low scoring game. Wiltshire batted first but struggled from the start, with Connor Stone (West Glamorgan) taking 5-9 to limit the batting side to just 100. And despite losing a couple of early wickets in reply, Travis Morgan (Gwent) (41 not out) and Tomos Evans (41 not out) steered Wales home to a comfortable victory.
Wales U17s were on show too, and began brightly against Cardiff CC with Oliver Pike (Cardiff and Vale) taking 3-45 to limit Cardiff 202 inside their 45 overs. Yet despite half-centuries from Jamie Mills (Cardiff and Vale) (50) and Scott Thornton (Gwent) (56), the lower order were unable to score at the requisite run rate and consequently Wales came 14 runs short.
Against Carmarthen Wanderers, Wales U17s fared better, winning by 77 runs. A quick-fire 75 from Scott Thornton propelled Wales to 221. Chasing, Carmarthen made an encouraging start with an opening stand of 44, but were unable to stay in the game.
Wales U17s then went to Millfield School, where – after Alastair Andrady (NE Wales) hit 110 – Wales had good reason to think they had set a sizeable target. But when Millfield started their innings they were able to put on 141 for the first wicket which consequently proved too strong as they strolled home with 8 wickets remaining.
Wales U17s got back to winning ways though when they thrashed Welsh Colleges by 42 runs after setting up a huge total of 282-7 in 40 overs. Steffan Roberts (Mid Glamorgan) led the way, scoring 101 from 93 balls. But the real fireworks came with Ryan Ward (Gwent) who hit 53 off just 27 balls. Chasing 283 to win, Welsh Colleges put up a commendable fight with many of Wales’s bowlers leaking early runs. But the steady bowling of Prem Sisodiya (Cardiff and Vale) (2-37) was able ensure a comfortable victory.
Wales U17 did fall short against Newport at Spytty Park. Put in to bowl first, Wales were unable to control the scoreboard from the onset as a strong top order performance from Newport put the home team in charge despite Ieuan Paske’s (Carmarthenshire) 4-20. Chasing 236 to win, Wales fell short despite a very fine 52 from 74 balls from Steffan Roberts, and lost by 29 runs.
“We have seen some very encouraging team performances and some impressive individual contributions at the start of the season,” said Cricket Wales performance manager, John Derrick. “Our teams are now looking to build on this as the season progresses.”
Cricket Wales is the national governing body for junior and recreational senior cricket in Wales. It works closely with Glamorgan County Cricket Club, which governs the men’s professional game. For information visit www.cricketwales.org.uk