DR Morris Cup final:
Neyland (115-5 and 181-8) beat Haverfordwest (164-4 and 131-8) by 2 wickets
PATRICK Bellerby struck a six from the very last ball of the match as Neyland secured a third DR Morris Cup in sensational fashion at Burton this afternoon.
Chasing an unlikely 181 to win, the defending champions got themselves to 175-7 with just two balls of Josh Wilment’s final over remaining, thanks in main to a superb knock of 97 from Ashley Sutton.
Scott Jones was caught by Dai Davies off the penultimate delivery, but just when it seemed The Town had secured victory, Bellerby then struck a straight six that sparked bedlam amongst the Neyland players and supporters.
It sealed a remarkable comeback after Neyland skipper Sean Hannon had won the toss and asked The Town to bat, and openers Adam James and Dai Davies wasted little time in showing their intent.
James (15) struck a four and a six before he was unluckily run out in the third over. Davies drove a ball back at bowler Gary Lloyd, and with James out of his crease at the non striker's end, it deflected off the spinner and onto the stumps.
Jonathan Strawbridge (11) was also run out to leave The Town 47-2 in the sixth over – but then Ben Field joined Davies at the crease.
The pair kept things ticking at an impressive rate, and shared a stand of 61 before Field gave a return catch to Andrew Miller (1-22), having hit four boundaries in his knock of 32.
Davies went on to strike five fours and a six before being run out by a great piece of fielding from Jones for 54.
That left Haverfordwest 125-4 but Simon Holliday, who was scheduled to open the batting for The Town but arrived late due to work commitments, hit two sixes and two fours to make 32 not out – 14 of which came from the 19th over off Henry Durrant.
He was supported by skipper Danny Potter (18 not out) as The Town posted 164-4 from their 20 overs.
And Potter’s men assumed control early in Neyland’s reply, as opener Nick Koomen (6) was caught behind by Huw Scriven off AJ Revu (1-11).
But Koomen’s opening partner Scott John was then joined at the crease by the in-form Sutton, and the pair scored steadily before Sutton (33) was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Davies off the bowling of Wilment.
John (30) soon followed, caught by Nigel Delaney off the bowling of Holliday (2-27), before the all rounder had Nathan Banner (2) stumped by Scriven.
Wilment (2-13) then clean bowled Miller (12) to leave Neyland struggling on 100-5, and Durrant and John Tennick were only able to add 15 in the final three overs – as Wilment was joined by James in keeping things tight at the death.
The pair helped The Town secure a first innings lead of 49, putting them in a seemingly winning position.
But Sean Hannon’s men came out with renewed determination after the break, and Lloyd (1-37) bowled James (9) after the dangerous opener had hit two early boundaries.
No 3 Strawbridge (2) was run out for the second successive innings, before Koomen (2-10) dismissed opener Holliday (16) and Ben Field (0) in successive balls to leave The Town precariously placed on 40-4.
But Davies again formed the backbone of his side’s innings, hitting seven fours in his 39 before being stumped by Hannon off Durrant (1-32).
Delaney (3) and Scriven (6) both fell to Miller (2-10) and Banner (1-29) dismissed Revu to leave Potter’s men 115-8 – but it was the skipper himself who ensured they batted out their overs as he made 23 not out, and No 10 Wilment (12 not out) chipped in with two late boundaries to help take the score to 131-8.
That left Neyland needing 181 for victory, and they reacted by switching their order as Miller was promoted to open alongside Koomen.
But the tactic appeared to backfire when James bowled Miller (2), and Revu had Koomen (9) caught by Strawbridge as they slumped to 11-2 in the third over.
Then in the fifth over, came a crucial moment.
Banner and Sutton set off for a risky single, with The Town clearly thinking they had the latter out following a sharp bit of work from Davies – but umpire Dennis Chiffi ruled not out.
Still, Potter’s men were still in charge of proceedings as Revu (2-21) bowled Banner (9), before Clive Tucker (1-38) dismissed Durrant (12) in the same fashion.
Bellerby then entered the fray and although he and Sutton steadied matters, at the ten over mark Hannon’s men were 66-4, needing an improbable 115 off 60 balls for victory.
But it was then that Sutton turned the tide with a devastating counter attack.
With meticulous timing, he peppered the ball to all parts of the Oatfield Park ground – although he was twice given a lifeline when he was dropped on the boundary edge by Delaney and Strawbridge respectively.
And the misses proved imperative as he and Bellerby took Neyland to 144-4 in 16 overs - and all of a sudden, a contest that had appeared a formality hung in the balance.
It was James who took the ball for the 17th over, and after Sutton dispatched the first two balls for six, he eventually fell for 97 as he holed out to Revu, having struck seven fours and eight sixes.
In the same over, James (3-30) trapped Hannon (0) LBW, and when John (9) was run out in the 19th over, Bellerby and No 9 Jones were left needing 13 off the last 10 balls for victory.
That equation became six off two balls, before Jones (5) sliced a Wilment (1-54) delivery into the off side and was easily caught by Davies.
The batsmen crossed while the ball was in the air meaning Bellerby, who had already hit one maximum, needed to repeat the feat to prevent his side from relinquishing the trophy.
And he duly obliged, hammering the ball back over Wilment’s head to finish 33 not out and secure a Neyland win in the most amazing circumstances.
“It was a fantastic game of cricket,” said Neyland skipper Hannon afterwards.
“The crucial innings was the third one. We targeted keeping Haverfordwest to around 130 because we were confident we could chase around 180, anything more would have been a real struggle.”
Hannon also paid tribute to Bellerby and man of the match Sutton.
“Ashley’s innings was brilliant but fair play to Patrick to be able to do that at the end.
“He had hit one six already but then to do it to win the game, under that pressure, was incredible.”
The win keeps Neyland’s hopes alive of a domestic double as they currently lead the Division One table by 31 points, while The Town will now be looking to make amends by catching their rivals in the race for the title, and by winning the Harrison Allen Bowl against Cresselly on Saturday, August 23.
Umpires: Huw Davies and Dennis Chiffi.
Scorers: Jayne Cole and John Laugharne.
Full scorecards, plus more photos and reaction, to appear in this week's Western Telegraph.