South East Wales Cricket League Division One (First XI) - Malpas CC (150-2) beat Chepstow CC (149 all out) by eight wickets
LOCAL rivalries stepped up the title pressure at the weekend as Sudbrook and Chepstow enjoyed mixed fortunes on their travels.
Newbridge hold on to top spot, despite losing to Chepstow seven days earlier, and were no doubt delighted to see their conquerors brushed aside at Malpas but were probably less pleased that Sudbrook had won convincingly at Brecon.
As a result, Sudbrook are second with Chepstow third while Brecon – who began their season well – slumped closer to the relegation places.
At Malpas, it was former Sudbrook captain and opener Micky Martin who was the thorn in Chepstow’s side, scoring more than half his team’s target, ending unbeaten on 76 runs.
The home team skipper David Martin won the toss and asked Chepstow to bat first – a toss and decision which proved crucial.
His opposite number Gareth Ansell took the captain’s role in the absence of Jason Dobbie and, in partnership with Carwyn James, made 59 before Ansell departed for 26.
But James lost partners cheaply before he was caught by Scott Archer and despite double-figure scoring from Mitchell Harris (13) and Lewys Jones (14), no-one was able to make a meaningful stand with Malith Madurasinghe (26 not out) and the innings ended at 149 all out in the 47th over.
Christian Rose was the main wicket-taker finishing with 4-29 with five of his 10-over spell being maidens.
In reply, Madurasinghe removed Malpas opener James Francis (5) and Harris bowled Ryan Ward (30) but Martin and Ross Ward (14 not out) saw the home side pass the required total in the 42nd over.
Later, Madurasinghe said the toss had been a good one to win.
“The wicket was surprisingly wet and we were, unsurprisingly, asked to bat in difficult conditions,” he said.
“Despite a good start with Carwyn and Gareth, wickets fell regularly after that and when the time came for Malpas to bat, the wicket had dried out and they made the most of it to win comfortably.
“On a positive note, it was good to see two of our youngsters, 15-year-old Ryan Scrivens and Sam Hope-Bell (17) make their first team debut. The future looks bright - and made me feel very old!”