DR Morris Cup semi final: Haverfordwest (173-6) lost to Neyland (174-2) by 8 wickets

To say it was a dramatic finish would be an absurd understatement.

After a clash packed with confusion, controversy, and excitement in equal measures, Neyland won through to an eighth Duggie Morris final in nine years with a final ball win over Haverfordwest.

And those watching on a glorious summer night at St Ishmaels were left wondering how, after a brutal 12 ball knock of 44 from Archie Thomas had helped take The Town to 173-6 for 20 overs. The total seemed enough when the Neyland pairing of Patrick Bellerby and Henry Durrant were left needing 23 off six balls to win, only for that figure to brought down to 18 when they were awarded five penalty runs.

Still it seemed Danny Potter’s men were home and dry when the equation became eight runs off one ball, but Ashley James’ leg side wide went to the fence and then from the final ball, Bellerby and Durrant somehow scrambled three to secure the most dramatic of victories.

It meant Bellerby finished 97 not out with 12 fours and four sixes to his name as again he proved the scourge of The Town in this competition, five years after his final ball maximum sealed Neyland the trophy in that remarkable 2014 final.

Summons and Thomas set the tone:

And yet for much of the night Neyland were behind the eight ball. It was Potter who chose to bat upon winning the toss and Ben Field got things moving with a square drive off Durrant for four in the second over, before flicking off his legs for another boundary.

But next over he was gone for 9, steering Sean Hannon to Durrant at backward point, and fellow opener Dai Davies (8) followed as he was brilliantly run out by Bellerby to leave matters at 30-2.

Summons and Potter put Haverfordwest in charge though with a stand of 71, the skipper accelerating by taking 14 off Tom Pritchard in the ninth over, including two pull shots to the rope.

Summons also began to motor and in the 13th over he cracked two straight sixes off Gary Lloyd before Durrant halted the partnership by bowling Potter for 37 (four fours).

That brought in Adam James but after cracking a four off Geraint Rees he nicked the next ball to Hannon, now behind the stumps, for 5 - and that paved the way for Thomas to start his assault.

He hit six sixes and a four in his rapid knock as he and Summons put on 52 in less than four overs, Thomas making 44 of them, and the only one of his 12 balls he didn’t score off was when he was stumped by Hannon off Patrick Bellerby.

Jake Merry went second ball when his failed ‘scoop shot’ off Rees was caught by Hannon but Summons finished unbeaten on 58 in 47 balls, including three fours and two sixes, and Mike Jones (4 not out) joined him in helping post a seemingly imposing total.

Bowling figures:

For Neyland, Hannon finished with 1-16 in four overs, Durrant 1-35 (5), Rees 2-41 (5), Andrew Miller 0-20 (4), Pritchard 0-14 (1), Lloyd 0-27 (2) and Bellerby 1-16 (1).

Neyland openers survive early scares:

You felt Neyland had to get the run rate up early in the reply but in the first over they could have been one down as Adam James drew a thin edge off Nick Koomen – but keeper Jack Scriven couldn’t gather a tough chance.

And in the third over Koomen took advantage, hitting three fours off James while taking 14 off the over – with the bowler looking to be struggling with injury.

Indeed, he was duly replaced by Thomas who in the seventh drew false shots out of both Koomen and Bellerby, and yet both chances went down in the deep.

A frantic finale:

But with the score on 70-0 in the tenth over finally the breakthrough came when Ashley James bowled Koomen round his legs for 43 (five fours), although Bellerby responded with a massive six off Summons that cleared the hedge.

And in the 15th over he passed 50 as he cracked three fours and six off Thomas to take the score to 118-1 and leave his side needing 56 from five overs.

That became 47 off four overs but Adam James bravely returned – and the risk seemed to pay off as he skittled Ashley Sutton (12).

With two overs left Neyland still needed 33 and two Bellerby boundaries in the 19th helped take 10 off the over, but 23 from six balls seemed a tall order before umpires Arthur Brady and Simon Richards convened. The pair then confirmed to the scorers they were awarding five penalty runs after James had sworn, having already had earlier warnings.

Still, The Town remained favourites and although Bellerby and Durrant (7 not out) struck a four each they were left needing eight of one ball.

But then came the leg side wides before Bellerby’s off-side drive somehow yielded three runs as The Town made a hash of the run out chance - and were left wondering just how a place in the final had got away.

Bowling figures:

Adam James finished with 1-22 in four overs, Clive Tucker 0-19 (4), Thomas 0-42 (4), Summons 0-42 (40), and Ashley James 1-30 (4).

Impossible to analyse….

Neyland and Haverfordwest have produced some tight finishes over the years – but few of the players or spectators last night would have seen one as bizarre as that.

Sean Hannon’s team are no strangers to coming through tight games, but essentially winning a match where they scored less runs then the opposition is new territory even for them. It seemed they had paced their chase wrongly and were set to lose despite having ample wickets in hand – but as so often they pulled it out of the fire.

As for Patrick Bellerby, him and Duggie Morris heroics just go hand in hand.

The fact they played their part in a thriller will be no consolation for Haverfordwest and Danny Potter. Regardless of the penalty runs it was a game they should have won after batting so well and seemingly stifling Neyland’s chase before thing unravelled in those final few overs.

They will be wondering for some time just how they didn’t win this semi final but at least still have a Harrison-Allen Bowl to play for. And they must somehow use last night’s disappointment as motivation for that.

Umpires: Arthur Brady and Simon Richards.

Scorers: John Laugharne and Jayne Cole.