Harrison Allen Bowl semi-final: Cresselly (188-6) tied with Haverfordwest (188-9) – Cresselly win after super overs by 3 runs

AN incredible Harrison Allen Bowl semi-final went the way of Cresselly as they overcame Haverfordwest in super overs following the most dramatic of finishes at Pembroke Dock.

After Jonny White struck two off the final ball of The Town’s reply to ensure the sides finished all square, umpires Dai Morris and Richard Merriman informed both captain’s they would then toss again and play out six balls each.

Cresselly skipper Neilson Cole won the toss and for the second time that night opted to go first, and although Adam James dismissed Iwan Izzard first ball, a six from Alex Bayley saw them finish 12-2.

Adam James was then run out first ball of Sam Harts’ over, and although Simon Holliday struck a boundary, Ben Field could only get a single off the final delivery when five was needed for a Haverfordwest win.

It provided a fitting end to a memorable clash, that had got off to a dramatic start earlier in the evening when Chandler took a quick single first ball to James and it nearly ended in partner Bayley being run out - but instead the pair picked up four overthrows.

Chandler then glanced James to the boundary as Cresselly took 12 off the first over, and from the first ball of the second, Bayley hammered a straight drive off Kieran O’Connor that James spilt over the boundary for six.

Bayley followed that up with another maximum as his side sped to 24-0 in two overs.

But The Town’s openers then tightened things up, and it wasn’t until the fifth over that Chandler found the fence again with a another neat leg glance off James - before Bayley launched his third maximum off O’Connor.

Bayley grabbed another boundary with an off-drive off Jonny White, but then perished to Simon Holliday in the ninth over, as the spinner forced him into a late cut than spooned in the air to Ben Field at point to end an opening stand of 67.

Bayley made 33, including three sixes and a four.

That brought in the in-form Iwan Izzard, who announced his intentions by clipping White to the boundary, before dancing down the track to club another four off the same bowler.

Chandler meanwhile, also began to attack, striking two boundaries off White to take Cresselly past 100 in the twelfth over.

But after hammering Holliday for six, Izzard (22) fell to the same bowler by aiming another big hit, only to be caught by James in the deep to leave Cresselly 112-2.

And Danny Potter’s side then tightened matters, and new man Simon Cole survived a run out scare before Chandler broke the shackles by cutting Holliday to the fence to reach his half century.

But in the 17th over, ‘The Doc’ had his second wicket as Chandler (55 – five fours) miscued to Field who took another smart catch to leave the score 132-2.

However, just as The Town seemed to be taking command, Dan James altered the course of the tie in the 19th over, cracking Holliday for two fours and a six in successive balls, and although Cole (9) was then stumped by keeper Huw Scriven, Ryan Lewis also cracked a maximum off his first ball in an over that yielded 24 runs and a wicket.

Lewis (6) was caught by Holliday off the returning Adam James the next over, but Dan James kept the Cresselly momentum going by hooking Archie Thomas to the boundary, before new man Mike Shaw hit a straight six as Neilson Cole’s side headed into the final over 183-5.

But they could only take five off Adam James, with Shaw (7) run out from the final ball following good work by Nigel Delaney.

James finished 37 not out (a six and three fours) – whilst for The Town, Holliday ended with 4-55 and Adam James 1-35.

It was Holliday who got The Town’s reply going with early boundaries of opening bowlers Lewis and Shaw – but in third over Lewis removed Archie Thomas (1), caught by Bayley at mid-off.

Lewis continued to be in the thick of it as he dropped a tough chance on the boundary of No 3 Ben Field, who responded by sweeping Shaw for four.

Holliday meanwhile continued to push on, driving Neil Gregory to the rope, but in the seventh over it was Gregory whose catch at third man dismissed Field (8) after he top edged a Dan James delivery.

That left The Town 30-2 and behind the rate, but Holliday was unperturbed as he hooked James to the fence, and then cracked three fours off Gregory in the eighth over to push the score to 46-2.

Cole continued to rotate his bowlers but could only watch from behind the stumps as opposite number Danny Potter drove Harts for four, and then in the 11th over, Holliday hammered Simon Cole for a four then six in successive balls.

He continued his assault with four more off Harts the next over, but to the credit of the latter, he responded with some tight wicket to wicket bowling that restricted the Bowl holders to 84-2 in 14 overs, needing an unlikely 105 off eight overs to win.

But then Potter upped the ante, taking 21 off Lewis in the 15th as he put two full tosses away for sixes, and also cracked a four.

The  momentum seemed to be lost next over though, when Harts had Holliday stumped thanks to some sharp work by skipper Cole, with the danger man departing for 58 having hit eight fours and a six.

But Adam James announced his arrival at the crease by pulling Harts for four, and in the 17th the fireworks continued as Potter and Adam James took 15 off Dan James, with Potter cutting a boundary and James hammering a big six and a one bounce four – only to nick the final ball from his namesake to Cole behind the stumps.

That left The Town 128-4, needing 61 in five overs, and they knocked off 16 of them in the 18th as Potter cracked another maximum of Harts and slog swept a four.

Chris Phillips lofted James to the rope the next over, helping his side to 154-4 in 19 overs, still needing 35 from three overs.

Shaw bowled the first of them and conceded a four to Phillips, before vitally skittling Potter after he had reached a superb 50 (four fours and three sixes). More drama in the over followed as Phillips hammered a maximum, but then from the final ball, was run out for 21 pushing for an ambitious second run.

It meant The Town were 167-6, needing 22 in 12 balls, before a bizarre penultimate over from James.

He opened with two wides, before new man Nigel Delaney then cracked him for a leg side four, before he and Huw Scriven ran two off another wide.

Delaney then cracked a six and yet another wide was to follow, meaning Haverfordwest now just needed seven off nine balls to clinch it.

But to his credit, James dug deep and responded by bowling Delaney (11), and after Kieran O’Connor took a single first ball, he did the same to Scriven (0) – leaving the game on a knife edge with The Town 184-8 after 21 overs.

Lewis took the ball and despite a wide, trapped O’Connor (1) LBW, leaving The Town needing four runs off as many balls with a wicket left.

 No 11 Jake Merry (1 not out) took a single, but Lewis responded with two dots, before White (2 not out) managed to sweep his final delivery away and come back for the second run that tied the contest.

For Cresselly, Lewis finished with 2-37, Shaw 1-28, Harts 1-39 and James 4-54.

It all meant two super overs and a finish that gripped the large crowd at Pembroke Dock – but after further drama, it was Cresselly who sealed their place in the Harrison Allen Bowl final against Neyland on their own ground on Saturday, July 29th.