4:00pm Tuesday 30th July 2013
By Bill Carne
Can Neyland complete the treble of league champions, Harrison-Allen Bowl winners and DR Morris Cup (already pouched safely in the bag)?
Will Llangwm collect a totally unwanted treble at the opposite end of the scale by getting relegated, losing the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final and coming runners-up in the DR Morris Cup (already occurred)?
Can Gregg Miller gain this amazing success in his very first season at the helm for Neyland?
Will the Llangwm players raise their game from two weekends ago (when they were slammed by Neyland in the league and lost in the Duggie Morris Cup) and present their captain, Jonathan Twigg, with a very nice 46th birthday present?
These are all questions that will be answered or at least be made a little clearer at Cresselly on Saturday when the 2013 Harrison-Allen Bowl takes place between red-hot favourites Neyland and underdogs Llangwm.
Neyland will rightly dismiss thoughts of that easy league win at Pill Parks out of their minds because it has little bearing on Saturday but the DR Morris Cup Final showed how strong Neyland all-round are, whilst Llangwm have big match players like Will Beresford and Andrew Harries who can swing any innings but the support batsmen need to raise their games. Skipper Twigg must also make sure that his batting order is right!
It was significant that Llangwm were all out in both innings whilst a measure of how strong Neyland are can be gauged from the fact that key run makers like Nathan Banner had no part to play in the batting stakes. A quick trawl amongst some first division players saw no-one ready to go for Llangwm in this Blue Riband event!
So where will the Bowl be decided? There is no doubt that Neyland are the best fielding team in the county, with Gregg Miller leading by example alongside Ashley Sutton, with the Hannon twins sharp in their respective roles and others like Andrew and Paul Miller, Nick Koomen and Patrick Bellerby no slouches in the field.
Llangwm conceded a lot of twos in the DR Morris Cup when singles might have been expected so again it is a key job for their captain to have his best fielders in prominent places so that Chris Inward, Richard Brock, the Kiff brothers, James Venables and Andrew Harries can use their catching and throwing skills.
On paper, the teams are fairly well matched in the bowling area because Llangwm can use the slow bowling of Andrew Harries and 14 year old Phil Llewellyn alongside the faster stuff of Darren Brick and Chris Inward (who could play vital roles), Richard Brock and Matthew Kiff.
Patrick Hannon, Nick Koomen, perhaps Anton John or Gregg Miller, and especially Nathan Banner, will supply the fast stuff for Neyland whilst Gary Lloyd is bowling his off-spinners better than ever – and the Llangwm batsmen find Andrew Miller’s canny slow stuff a bit of a torment.
Neyland seem to hold the aces in batting with their very settled line-up that sees Gregg Miller and the powerful Paul Murray as key players at the top of the innings, followed by the classy Ashley Sutton and Andrew Miller. Nick Koomen has been man of the match in a past final, Nathan Banner is very powerful, the Hannon boys are really quick run accumulators and Paul Miller could find himself at No 10 despite being a useful batter.
Llangwm have lost a key stroke-maker in Steve Inward but his big brother Chris, Beresford and Harries are adept at the limited overs stuff, as harries showed in the DR Morris with a 50 from only 23 balls. Team vice-captain James Venables, Matthew and Joseph Kiff, perhaps Gary Phillips and Twigg himself need to impose themselves more if Llangwm are to halt Neyland’s progress.
So all the indicators are pointing to Neyland to march on towards the coveted treble and one has to go with them on form, experience and general skill levels. If it had been over one innings I might have risked a flutter on Llangwm but it has to be Neyland for me – a prediction that will gladden Llangwm hearts from the county’s worst tipster!
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group