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MONTGOMERY & RADNOR V CLWYD 16-17 JAN 2016
19th Jan 2016
After a fine performance against the Isle of Wight in 2015’s final fixture, Clwyd were well aware that their visit to Welshpool Social Club, to face their Welsh neighbours Montgomery and Radnor, was always going to be a different kettle of fish altogether. And so it proved – to a point. Having reacquainted themselves with many old friends, battle commenced and it was Clwyd who drew first blood. In the opening Ladies B game, maybe Paula Collins set the standard required as she opened the weekend with a fine 3-0 win, and a match award winning 20.88 average. M&R levelled in the next set; Clwyd’s Julie Maddock restored the lead briefly (3-1, 15.00 ave), only for M&R to once again draw level in the next set. However the Clwyd ladies once again dug deep and produced a 4-2 scoreline, courtesy of wins from Jayne Andrews (14.34) and Nat Davey (17.89).
The Mens’ B match started very well indeed for Clwyd, who rattled off the opening four sets with wins from Paul Alley (21.01), Richard Jones (22.13), Ricky Spender (20.59) and a great effort from Craig Spriggs (25.05). M&R pulled the next two sets back, before Clwyd’s Colin Snead stepped up and produced an excellent match award winning 3-0 win and a superb 29.47 average. M&R rallied and took the next three sets, making it 5-5, but Clwyd collected a 7-5 victory with wins from Steve Gierke (24.24) and Pete Lewis (21.49). Overnight, Clwyd lead 11-7.
Day two, and Clwyd’s lead almost went into reverse, as M&R’s Welsh International Katie Bellerby opened the Ladies A proceedings with a 3-1 win and a 19.61 average. M&R also picked up the next two sets, narrowing the visitors’ lead to 11-10, but it was Clwyd who yet again dug deep and fired off the remaining 3 sets with wins from Jane Robson (16.69), Bethan Jones (17.30) and Lady of the Match Claire Maddock (17.50). Clwyd’s 4 point lead had been restored (14-10), but the Mens’ A match loomed, and this was always going to be a great challenge…
Clwyd’s Paul Hughes produced the perfect start as he picked up a match award winning 4-1 win with a 24.91 average. M&R then very nearly levelled with 4 consecutive wins from Scott Dockerty (MOM 29.70 ave), Welsh International and Lakeside contender Jim Williams (28.09), Robin Shingler (24.01) and Craig Davies (24.43). Clwyd’s John Thomas stopped the rot, though, with a hard fought win, followed by wins for visitors Dave Harrold (24.50), and Bryan Moran. Clwyd had secured the draw at the very least, with 4 sets left to play. Alas, what would have been a fabulous win for Clwyd, was not to be. Despite mere chances to get another point on the board for the visitors, M&R fired in all 4 of the remaining sets, with further wins from Mitch Butler (26.61), Sean Barnett (24.85), Dave Lewis (23.24) and Scottish International Steve Ritchie (25.83).
All in all, a great match across both days and a great comeback by Montgomery and Radnor, and I don’t think anyone could argue with sharing the spoils from an 18-18 draw. It was great to meet up with old friends (and adversaries!) again, and all games were played in a true sporting spirit. Incidentally – a total of 24 x 180’s over the weekend, between men and women. Not a bad Div 4 total, and a joy for the referee! Next match up for Clwyd: Home v Middlesex, 6th-7th February… We owe them one!