Wales produced a performance for the history books, defeating Glamorgan by 3 wickets in a closely fought contest at Sophia Gardens.
On a scorching hot day – temperatures were into the early 30s during the afternoon – Glamorgan skipper Kiran Carlson had no hesitation having first use of a pitch that proved to be difficult to score on all day. It was the National County however, as opposed to their first class counterparts that set the tone for the day, reducing Glamorgan to 39-4 in the initial powerplay after a minute's silence was observed for the tragic passing of Maqsood ('Max') Anwar on Saturday during a game for Sully Centurions.
Lukas Carey, donning the Wales colours for the first time since 2016 accounted for Nick Selman and Kiran Carlson, before Port Talbot Town’s Richard Edwards bagged the prize wicket of New Zealand international Hamish Rutherford with a ball that snuck through bat and pad. Edwards induced the outside edge of Callum Taylor’s bat the very next ball to keeper Cameron Herring – Taylor had made a vital contribution to Wales’ quarter final win against Herefordshire just days before.
PHOTO (Huw Evans Agency): Richard Edwards celebrates the wicket of Hamish Rutherford on his way to 3-40.
Billy Root and Tom Cullen did their best to resurrect the Glamorgan innings, Cullen in particular providing an gutsy contribution of 41, but started to run out of partners when Root was leg before to skipper Sam Pearce followed by Joe Cooke – caught smartly in the deep by Oskar Kolk off the bowling Tegid Phillips. The returning and hugely impressive Edwards accounted for Cullen LBW leaving him with figures of 3-40 off his 10 overs. Phillips picked up the dangerous Smith and Andrew Gorvin deservedly picked up an important wicket, that of Andrew Salter who missed a full straight delivery. Gorvin gave little away all afternoon and toiled away for 8 straight overs in the searing heat, showing just why he has been an instrumental cog to the team since his debut at the back end of 2019.
A few lusty blows from veteran Michael Hogan took Glamorgan up to 202 leaving Wales with a gettable, but challenging chase. That didn’t seem to phase Steven Reingold or Connor Brown who put on 105 in 24 overs after the early loss of Tom Bevan to Roman Walker. Both batters demonstrated shots of high quality mixed in with some smart running and will be delighted at being able to do so in front of Glamorgan’s coaching staff. A mix-up off a Nick Selman mis-field was a disappointing way for the partnership to end with Reingold being run out for an excellent 44 – he was closely followed by Brown who was smartly taken by substitute fielder Alex Horton at square leg off the bowling of Callum Taylor.
PHOTO (Huw Evans Agency): Steve Reingold made an impressive 44 before being run out.
When Oskar Kolk slapped a wide short ball straight to Joe Cooke at backward point, shortly followed by Herring who was caught at the wicket Wales were 145-5 and suddenly looking at being on the back foot for the first time in the game. Greg Holmes – returning to the game after dislocating a finger early in the fielding innings – made small inroads towards the target with a hard earned 19, but when he also perished with the score on 164, Wales needed 38 with 6 overs to go.
Sam Pearce came together with Lukas Carey and whittled the total down further, Carey striking the first six of the match with an enormous six of Salter. Salter exacted revenge of sorts having Pearce caught and bowled off a skier moments later. Carey continued on his way though smashing the returning Hogan for another maximum over square leg in the penultimate over leaving Gorvin to face the final over from Taylor requiring three to win. The St Fagans captain didn’t panic, as he patted back two dot balls before calmly knocking a single through mid wicket to bring Carey back on strike. Carey hoisted the fourth ball over square leg for a boundary to wrap up a thoroughly deserved victory.
PHOTO (Huw Evans Agency): Andrew Gorvin held his nerve with the bat after an excellent bowling display.
Head Coach Darren Thomas was understandably delighted with the side’s performance and was quick highlight some fine performances. He said, “the intent from our seamers up top was brilliant – Richard Edwards in particular. The spinners came on and did a great job alongside Andy Gorvin in the middle and I thought our fielding was exceptional all day which put us in a decent position to chase them down. Steve Reingold and Connor Brown was exceptional too, but a few wickets caused a bit of panic but Greg Holmes in fairness to his, Lukas and Gorv got us over the line.”
On the day itself Thomas was quick to thank Glamorgan for their part in facilitating the day itself – “we’re privileged to have the opportunity play in this environment, in this test venue which was brilliant for the lads. So we’re a happy bunch tonight.”
The win will no doubt provide an added boost to a revitalised Wales side ahead of their crucial semi-final clash against cup holders Berkshire on the 8th August. The game will be held at Port Talbot CC. Before then though, Wales must turn their attentions back to championship action as they take on Devon at Sandford starting on Sunday. Rain prevented Wales from finishing off Cornwall (who were the only other National County to beat first class opposition in Somerset yesterday) two weeks ago – they will be hoping to build some momentum in their push for promotion to Division 1 of the Western Conference.
Match preview will follow later in the week.