Hawarden Park's bold bid for an historic first appearance in the final of the Welsh Cup came to a disappointing halt when favourites Ammanford pulled off a four wicket semi-final victory.
With just one more hurdle to surmount to make their dream of appearing in the showpiece final of Wales premier competition at Glamorgan’s Swalec Stadium in Cardiff on August 22 come true, Hawarden’s fighting performance proved insufficient to negate the experience and quality of visiting Ammanford.
Fresh from having disposed of Pontblyddyn in the quarter-final the previous week, buoyant Hawarden’s prospects brightened when they won the toss and opted to bat in the hope of posting a high enough target to pressurise the South Wales Premier League visitors.
Lifted by a dominant 59 not out from number five Ian Martin after opening batsman Tom Ducker had gone for 20, Hawarden had to settle for a respectable total of 186 when their last wicket fell with just eight balls of their 45 available overs remaining.
James Hurlin (22) and Mike Rapson (21) also fell when looking well set as Tom Maynard 3-34 and England Under-19 captain Andrew Salter 2-39 grabbed crucial
In reply, Hawarden’s attack enjoyed early success as they reduced Ammanford to 16-2, but the visitors rebuilt as former Glamorgan regular Alun Evans, the Ammanford skipper, figured in a match-winning third wicket stand with vice-captain Matthew Fisher that took the score to 151-3.
Evans finally went for 66 with partner Fisher scoring 65 before all-rounder Salter completed the triumphant surge with 29 as Ammanford reached a winning 187-6.
Jeff Henshaw was Hawarden’s most successful bowler, taking 3-42 but the cherished ticket into the final was securely in Ammanford’s back pocket as they headed back South to prepare to take on Sully – conquerors of Swansea in the other semi-final – in the big decider next Sunday week.
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