By John Guy

DINAS Powys Cricket Club’s third successive defeat leaves the Villagers closer to relegation than promotion.

Fielding first on the hottest Saturday of the summer was not the ideal start to proceedings, as Machen’s gung ho approach to batting racked up a flurry of early boundaries.

Young Ken Barlow, surplus to requirements a week earlier, was the pick of the bowlers with a deceptively good 2-50 off his 8 overs, while fellow whippersnapper Olly Hurley weighed in with the important wicket of the opposition skipper.

But from 22-2, Machen quickly rose to 115-3 and later 207-6 as some cultured hitting into the deep kept the run rate well above six.

In a rare battle of First Teams, Dinas stuck to their task despite sizzling temperatures and were rewarded with 8 wickets, most of them bowled.

Spinners Will Palmer and Gihan Fernando both hit the stumps, while skipper Alex Vowles and Stuart Jones also picked up dismissals as wickets were shared.

But the customary boundary protection mattered not on this occasion, as 9 sixes and no fewer than 35 fours saw Machen rattle up a formidable 292-8 in their 40 overs.

In response, Dinas never really got going and despite a battling 39 from Kyle Hughes and 30 from Jones, there was not much to shout about.

Aside, of course, for another mature and well-crafted 64 from Hurley, who is already turning himself into a very steady hand in the middle order in this his first season of First XI cricket.

The Villagers closed on 208-6 off their allocated overs and although falling short by 84 runs, a good haul of bonus points could prove pivotal come the end of the campaign.

There was better news for the Second Team away at Creigiau, with a strong all-round team performance doing the business in challenging conditions.

There were eyebrows raised when the home side inserted the Villagers on what appeared to be a flat track and fast outfield.

But looks can be deceptive and with a mixture of grass-cutters and finger-crunchers that reared up off a length, Dinas were quickly reduced to 29-3.

The game was never going to be one for the purists and with graft the order of the day, two 50 partnerships were the eventual difference between the two sides.

Challenged by Mavis Bradman to surpass his season’s tally, skipper Gareth Evans (21) and Jack Houghton (19) took the score to 83, before a flurry of wickets and another crucial collaboration between James Hiscocks (43) and Richard Morgan (9no).

A healthy 33 extras compensated for the flock of four ducks waddling back into the grassy pavilion, though Hiscocks briefly made batting look a lot easier than it was.

Partnerships of 54 and 57 helped Dinas to 152 all out in the last over, which appeared a very competitive total on dubious wicket.

And so it proved, as Dinas skittled their opponents for just 92 inside 24 overs.

But that doesn’t tell half the story, with Dinas holding all but one of the 9 catches that came their way.

A tremendous display in the field, together with some extremely accurate bowling, completed the package for the much-improved Villagers, who turned out victorious by 60 runs in a good game to win.

Particular mention goes to Jack Preston who took two fine catches, one under the pressure of a marauding fielder who missed the very loud call of ‘Jack’s!’ not once, but twice.

Olly Coughtrey was this week’s top bowler, with figures of 8-0-39-4, while young Ryan Mullins continues to impress with the ball, returning 5-1-13-2 in a superb display of controlled pace bowling.

Bryn Fogden picked up a couple of deserved wickets, as did Hiscocks, who was by far and away the man of the match.

There was cause for further celebration at the Common, where Dinas Thirds beat Sudbrook by 5 wickets.

Chasing 195, a tremendous unbeaten 139-run partnership between Gareth Storey (71no) and Ryan Taylor (60no) got the Villagers over the line for the loss of 5 wickets.

Niles Wilton (25) chipped in with the bat, while Andy Hurley (2), Hywel Owen (1), Storey (1) and a rare run out from Mave Wilton contributed to the home side’s 5 wickets.

Victory keeps the Thirds well in the hunt for an unlikely promotion out of a hugely competitive Division 10.