By Gareth Evans

DINAS Powys Firsts overcame a couple of mid-match jitters to beat Abercynon in an entertaining game of cricket at Parc Bryn-y-Don.

But a fourth win in a row was by no means assured when the Dinas bowling attack saw fit to use only half of the wicket – or none of it at all – in a charitable offering of long hops and full tosses.

Fresh-faced Ken Barlow bowled another tidy spell of 0-18 off 8 overs, and Bryn Fogden and Stuart Jones kept things reasonably tight in the middle overs, but it was a largely erratic bowling and fielding display that allowed Abercynon to score freely throughout.

Casey Hughes picked up 3 wickets towards the end of the innings, and young Olly Hurley, while expensive, picked up his maiden First Team wickets as the away side posted a threatening 217 for 9 off their 40 overs.

In response, Dinas got off to a poor start; an unfortunate run out and some handy in-swing reducing the Villagers to 27-3.

Fortunately for the batting side, however, Curtis Wingren (63) and Hurley (63) dug in and leapt on anything short, wide or illegal.

Wingren, in particular, looked in the sort of form that would win any game until a lazy single after drinks spoilt his afternoon and chance of a certain hundred; his 63 coming off just 48 balls, including 11 fours and a six.

Hurley, with support from Jason Harries and Casey Hughes (35no), was again the rock around which Dinas built, albeit a shame that he walked past one 40 runs short of the target.

Instead, it was left to Hughes and skipper Alex Vowles (15no) to see the Villagers home against their Cynon Valley opponents for the loss of 6 wickets.

Another solid victory to which everybody contributed leaves the First Team unbeaten in Division 4 of the South East Wales Cricket League, just 4 points off the promotion places.

It wasn’t quite so positive for the Second Team, however, having lost away to Blackwood in a miserable performance that leaves one or two looking over their shoulder for the old shepherd’s crook.

Electing to field first with their strongest batting line-up for several seasons, Dinas kept their opponents to 167-8 off their 40 overs.

A good spread of wickets, for Matthew Todd-Bennett (2-36), Olly Coughtrey (2-28), Lewis Clarke (2-33) and 1 each for Will Palmer and the returning Rhys Lloyd, who bowled particularly economically, was good reward for a battling display.

In response, stand-in skipper Red Todd-Bennett had an embarrassment of riches to choose from with the bat, with runs right the way through the Dinas order.

An unusual start saw Dinas fall to 44-3 in just 6 overs; the travelling Villagers were either going to get them quickly, or not at all.

And so it proved, as from a comfortable 102-3, the super-strong Seconds folded like origami to a pitiful 136 all out with 7 overs still to bowl.

Only Lloyd DiMauro, with a stoic 42, left with any real pride intact in a defeat later described as ‘one of the worst I can remember’ by one of the Dinas stalwarts.

It appears that some soul-searching (and bat finding) is required for a number of the Seconds, who rolled over quicker than Beethoven.

At the Common, Dinas Powys Third XI entertained Ebbw Vale Seconds in a competitive game that was ultimately determined by some prestigious turn and bounce (which rules out home skipper Gareth Storey!).

Batting first, the away side amassed 211-9 off their 40, with Andy Hurley (2), Hywel Owen (1), Rhys Bradley (2), Storey (3) and Mave Wilton (1) picking up the wickets.

But it could have been a whole lot better for the Villagers, who’d reduced their opponents to 100-7 earlier in the innings.

Three catches for Nathan Waite, fresh from Wales supporters’ duty, were the highlight of a solid showing in the field.

In response, Dinas saw off some uncharacteristically short pace bowling to post 79 for the first wicket, when Miles Wilton departed for a well-crafted 41.

Storey (24) and Waite (19) were the only real scorers thereafter, as Dinas toiled until the 38th over before succumbing for 161.

A 50-run defeat with a much-changed side was a very solid effort given the circumstances, albeit 45 extras helped soften the blow for the Villagers.

Ebbw spinner Yasir Iqbal’s 6-22 proved the real difference in what was an otherwise fairly even encounter.

Finally, a word on Andy Hurley’s Wednesday XI, which took on local rivals Penarth in the midweek T20 cup at the Common.

The visitors won the toss and batted first, posting an extremely challenging 182-1 off their allocation of 20 overs.

A tough evening in the field for the hosts yielded just 1 wicket to Stuart Jones, but after the surprise retirement of both opening batsman on reaching 50, some tidy bowling in the middle order and towards the end of the innings restricted the score to significantly less than first feared.

The Dinas reply started brightly, with club newcomer Simon Le Good (40) and Jeff Mitchell (25) providing the Villagers with an early platform.

But as wickets tumbled, it was left to Dinas’ ‘Dynamic Duo’ of Jones and Olly Hurley to come to the fore once again, having performed so admirably in recent victories for the Saturday First XI.

As Batman and Robin got into their stride, the home crowd, geed by Wales’ scintillating win over Turkey in the European Championship, started to sit up and take notice – could the Villagers pull off an unlikely win as the run rate continued to climb?

When Hurley was caught for 21 the answer appeared not, but Jones had other ideas and with 47 runs to win off just 18 balls, he let loose and to the amazement of all on the Common, took Dinas across the line with 2 balls to spare.

A magnificent display of power-hitting from Jones (66no) and a fabulous victory for Hurley’s men against all odds will be remembered for many years to come at the home of Dinas cricket.

Another busy week for the Villagers see the high-flying First XI travel to Radyr Thirds; the brow-beaten Seconds host Ton Pentre Firsts; and the always competitive-no matter what side they have out Third XI away at Pontymister & Cross Keys Seconds.

Buoyed by last week’s defeat of Penarth, Andy Hurley’s heroic midweek outfit entertain Cogan Chiefs on the Common.