A captain’s knock
When Jonathan Strawbridge was dismissed by Mike Shaw in The Town’s first innings, his side were well placed at 89-3 after 12 overs.
It was then that skipper Danny Potter took centre stage, smashing a mercurial 77, including 11 fours and three sixes, as his team put on a further 107 in their final ten overs to finish 196-6.
And Potter’s knock was no smash and grab effort – as he combined power hitting with precision to put The Town in a commanding position which they never relinquished.
Dai Davies deservedly went on to win the man of the match awards and the plaudits – but Potter’s first innings display will linger long in the memory.
‘Snowy’ done for a duck
When the in-form Simon Cole strolled to the crease, with Cresselly 31-1 in their first innings reply, you sensed the game was entering a pivotal period.
As it was, that period lasted just two balls as umpire Richard Merriman adjudged Cole to have been trapped LBW by Adam James.
Cole’s initial reaction suggested he was unhappy with the decision, and indeed, had he survived that appeal and subsequently pushed on, then the outlook at the interval may have been entirely different.
Instead, with their danger man gone, the hosts found themselves on the back foot and in a position from which they never truly recovered.
Izzard’s isolated innings
Opening batsman Phil Williams formed the backbone of his side’s reply, but only when Iwan Izzard joined him at the crease did Cresselly threaten to get anywhere near The Town’s first innings total.
Izzard’s quick fire 52 helped accelerate the run rate and went a long way to keeping his side in it at the half way stage – but in truth, he was only Cresselly batsman to successfully attack the bowling and Williams’ men needed more from the top and middle order.
Indeed, The Town’s lead of 38 would have been more had they not sloppily conceded 26 extras.
Davies proves destructive
Cresselly needed a good start with the ball in Haverfordwest’s second innings – and they were handed a perfect one when Tom Murphy bowled Adam James second ball.
But then in came Dai Davies, who immediately picked up where he left off after making 60 first time around.
Davies used all his experience to ensure the rate kept ticking, and his second wicket partnership of 132 with Simon Holliday negated any Cresselly hopes of a fightback.
He eventually departed for 75, but by then, the damage had been done, and his man of the match award was just reward for two classy performances.
Cresselly’s catching deserts them
To criticise Cresselly skipper Williams for dropping opposite number Potter in The Town’s first innings would be harsh – he was diving at full stretch to his left to a powerfully hit square cut.
But the brutal reality is the miss proved imperative as Potter, on 30 at the time, went on to make a further 47 more runs before finally departing in the final over.
And as The Town pressed home their advantage in the second innings, there were further blips as Izzard dropped Davies on the boundary when he was on 39, and Potter was dropped twice in the same over by Harry Thomas and Williams respectively.
In the grand scheme of things, the latter drops would not have changed the overall result, but they would have had least boosted Cresselly’s morale and momentum ahead of their final innings run chase.
The ‘Spin Doctor’ seals victory
Chasing an improbable 240 from 22 overs, the hosts had no choice but to throw caution to the wind.
However, The Town’s slow bowling trio of Holliday, Clive Tucker and Ajay Revu can boast a wealth of intelligence and experience - and it was of no surprise they claimed seven second innings between them as the Cresselly batsman looked to charge down the track and hit big.
Holliday in particular, revelled in the situation as he took the game’s only five wicket haul to help seal a huge 128 run win.
Haverfordwest handle the pressure
On paper, The Town went in to yesterday’s showdown as favourites, especially given their dominant displays in the knockout rounds.
However, having lost their last three Bowl finals, and squandered winning positions this season in the DR Morris final and their critical league match at Neyland - many were left questioning The Town’s bottle on the big occasion.
It was a notion that clearly fired up Potter and co, and they dispelled the theory with a ruthless display that produced one of the most one sided finals in recent times.
Cresselly meanwhile, will no doubt be bitterly disappointed with the manner and margin of their defeat – but to their credit, the post match behaviour of Phil Williams and his men was dignity personified.
They have more than enough quality and experience to bounce back from the defeat, while you can expect The Town to again prove strong contenders on all three trophy fronts in 2015.