Harrison Allen Bowl semi-final: Whitland (97 all out) lost to Neyland (99-3) by 7 wickets

An unbroken stand of 89 between Nick Koomen and Ashley Sutton ensured Neyland will return to the Harrison Allen Bowl final as they saw off Whitland at Carew tonight.

The Borderers were shot out for a disappointing 97, but an inspired opening spell from Iestyn Scourfield left Neyland 10-3, before Koomen and Sutton took command with the latter finishing 64 not out.

After being asked to bat, Whitland opener Geraint Jones got things off to an explosive start, taking Nathan Banner for 15 off the first over as he struck two fours and launched a straight six.

But the tide turned in the second over as Jones and opening partner Dylan Blain looked to take a quick single off Jamie Smith, only for the latter to be run out for 0 by a direct hit from Gregg Miller in the field.

And next over Banner tightened Neyland’s grip with two wickets in two balls, clean bowling Jonathan Thomas (2) and then trapping Will Spreadbury LBW for a golden duck.

That left The Borderers 20-3 in three overs, and worse was to follow as the dangerous Jones hammered Smith for his second six, only to be skittled next ball by the left arm youngster for 24 (two fours and two sixes).

And then when Banner picked up his third victim, bowling Paul Davies (4) with a deceptive slower ball, Whitland were in dire trouble at 32-5.

But Matthew Davies and skipper Scourfield set about rebuilding matters, with Scourfield lofting Banner over mid-off for four.

And the pair then built steadily, picking singles off first change bowlers Henry Durrant and Andrew Miller to take matters to 65-5, before in the 12th over Davies (14) got a leading edge that Gregg Miller superbly caught one handed off his brother’s bowling.

Next over, the 2015 Bowl winners struck again, with Durrant bowling Jonathan Strawbridge (0), before Miller’s spin removed Scott Newton (7) as his attempted drive ballooned in the air to Scott Jones at mid-off.

 Then in the same over, skipper Scourfield (21) paid for trying to push matters along as he could only cut a Miller delivery into the hands of Paul Murray, leaving his side 79-9.

That left the final pairing of Wayne Howells and Nathan Evans to try to salvage some kind of total, and they pushed the score to 97 before Howells was caught by Nathan Banner for 5 off the returning Smith, leaving Evans 12 not out.

For Neyland, Banner finished with 3-34, Jamie Smith 2-13, Miller 3-22 and Durrant 1-24.

Few envisaged many problems for Sean Hannon’s men as they set about chasing 98, but Scourfield rocked them back by bowling Paul Murray for the first ball of the Neyland innings.

And just three balls later, he dismissed Patrick Bellerby for a duck in the same fashion, leaving Neyland 1-2 after their first over.

Sutton relieved the pressure with two boundaries off Wayne Howells the next over, before a fired up Scourfield struck again, taking Gregg Miller’s (2) off stump to leave the score 10-3.

That brought in Koomen, who settled matters with two early boundaries, but Sutton rode his luck early as two inside edges off Scourfield narrowly missed his stumps – before he struck the same bowler for a one-bounce four.

He did the same to Howells in the sixth over, and took Scourfield for three further boundaries thereafter as Neyland stood 61-3 before a vital moment, when Sutton was put down by Nathan Evans in the Whitland skipper’s final over as he finished with 3-35.

That left Neyland 61-3 after 11 overs, and as Koomen continued to accumulate steadily, Sutton launched Jonathan Thomas for a maximum to pass 50.

He was dropped again by Jones in the deep off Matthew Davies’ first ball, before Koomen rubbed salt into the wounds by hitting the same bowler to the fence.

Sutton took Thomas for another four in the 16th over, and then sealed the win the following ball with a cheeky scoop shot that found the fence to finish 64 not out (nine fours and a six).

Koomen meanwhile, ended unbeaten on 30 (three fours).

It means Neyland will play in the final at Cresselly on Saturday, July 29th, and await the winners of tomorrow night’s game between Cresselly and Haverfordwest in Pembroke Dock.

Umpires: John Williams and Dennis Chiffi.