For Whitland Cricket Club, it was a poignant day.

Their first ever Harrison-Allen Bowl final with Carew in 2012 had been delayed in tragic circumstances. A mere three weeks earlier, second team player Meyrick Rowlands had died after falling ill during an Alec Colley game.

A further postponement came in the form of the weather, but when the final did go ahead on a dark Sunday in mid-August, the Borderers duly paid Meyrick the perfect tribute.

Albeit with a performance that very few saw coming.

“We were massive underdogs,” recalled then captain Mathew ‘Titch’ Davies.

“We’d played Neyland in the semi final at Haverfordwest and only scored 112 – but then managed to defend it.  So to be honest we were just chuffed to bits to be in the final.”

And his team were given an unexpected bonus at the toss.

“Our plan was to bat first as we thought that would be our best chance but I assumed they would do the same. So it was a surprise when they stuck us in – and I remember telling the boys to just go out there and enjoy it.”

In the early going fortune favoured the brave. Whitland opener Ed John took Scott Helmich for three fours in the first over – two of which flew inches wide of the slip cordon. He was later out for 25 (22 in boundaries) as he and Owain Evans put on a rapid 49 for the opening wicket.

Evans himself would also make 25 and after he departed, with the score 69-2, came the most significant partnership of the day.

Jonathan Thomas and David Dunfee proceeded to put on 97, with Thomas eventually falling for 50 while his partner finished unbeaten with a powerful 52 not out off 29 balls. With conditions less than ideal, a score of 170-3 was not to be sniffed at.

“Ed had some luck early on but he got us off to a flier and Dunfee took the bowling apart in the last five overs,” said Davies.

“It was a score we were happy with.”

Even more so, after the skipper himself bowled one of the overs of his life.

In the space of three balls, he removed two danger men in Nick Scourfield and Tim Hicks to leave Carew 2-2, and although Whitland’s momentum was soon halted by a rain delay, they were in the ascendancy.

“It started to come down pretty heavily and we were just thinking this can’t be happening,” admitted Davies.

“Once it cleared we were desperate to get back out. Having scored 170 we were suddenly in a great position and we’d definitely had the better of the batting conditions.”

Carew would then labour to 121-9 despite a brisk 31 not out from Rhys Davies at No 8, and a 49-run lead was not the scenario Davies envisaged at tea.

“It was weird being so far in front.

“But we knew with the team they had that lead could disappear quickly. I told the boys as a minimum we had to match their total and make them chase over 170.”

Again, openers John (37) and Evans (12) obliged with a stand of 51, but then it was Helmich who stemmed the tide with figures of 4-32.

However, just as The Rooks were hauling themselves back into contention, a belligerent 36 not out from Iestyn Scourfield helped Whitland to 146-8 – and the overcast conditions made Carew’s victory target of 196 look a momentous one.

“We were stalling before Iestyn started banging the bowling about,” said Davies.

“That was important as they were starting to pull things back but that knock kept us in control.”

Carew didn’t get the start they needed and it was the wily bowling of Mark Lee (4-29) and the pace of man of the match Dunfee (3-36) that ensured they maintained said control.

Stand in skipper Hicks did hammer a defiant 55 not out for Carew, which included five sixes, as his side fell to 116 all out.

And yet Davies never relaxed until the final wicket fell.

“We fielded superbly in that second innings.

“It was strange towards the end.  I was on the boundary for most of it and people were coming round to me saying you’ve got this but I never let myself believe that.

“They had a talented line up and batted all the way down - and by then I’d been around long enough to see some crazy stuff in cricket.”

Davies didn’t have a flawless day as captain though as his inexperience was ruthlessly exposed. Luckily for him, by that point the action had stopped and the presentations were in full flow.

“We always went on tour the weekend of the final so I’d never been to one before.

“So when Hugh Harrison-Allen gave me the trophy I didn’t realise it came off the plinth. I tried to raise the whole thing in the air and then it broke in half on me.”

Thankfully it was fixable, and it didn’t detract from what he considers his best day as club captain.

“Looking back we gave the perfect all round performance. They were so strong and I considered them the best team in the county at the time but we didn’t just scrape over the line - we romped it.”

Davies and Whitland would return to the final stage in 2015 where they were edged out by Neyland in a thrilling finish. But regardless, their name will always be on the coveted Bowl thanks to that day in 2012.

A day, when they did Meyrick Rowlands proud.