ALL eyes will be on Flint Road as Northop and St Asaph meet for the first time since their infamous clash on the final day of last season.

The spirit of cricket went out of the window as the 2018 Premier Division campaign finished with Northop’s Jordan Evans and St Asaph’s Mathew Ryan grappling on the Elwy Grove Park wicket.

St Asaph were exonerated of any wrongdoing, but Northop were docked 30 points, half of which were suspended.

Evans was handed a 20-match ban, 10 of which were suspended, while Mark Poynton, Northop’s skipper at the time, sat out the first two games of this year.

Ironically, Evans’ ban ends this week in time to tackle St Asaph, but the hard-hitting batsman is unavailable for selection due to work commitments.

Ahead of the renewal of their rivalry, Northop team manager Dale Harley said: “Our captain Gareth Williams has got the lads disciplined for every game.”

Both teams will be doing everything they can to make sure the contest passes without incident.

“We want to re-establish the good relationship we had with Northop a few years ago and to make sure that there is no animosity between the two clubs moving forward,” said St Asaph chairman Gareth Ryan in October.

Without their points deduction, Northop would be level on 74 with St Asaph, which points to a closely-fought clash tomorrow.

“We expect a tough game against them, we always do,” added Harley, who has been able to recall Bart Beswick and Alex Gill, but Matthew Williams (knee), Harry Lewis and Ben Beaver miss out.

There’s also a crunch clash just down the road as rock-bottom Connah’s Quay entertain fellow strugglers Brymbo.

Quay are yet to win this season to leave them propping up the division on seven points, while second from bottom Brymbo have managed just one victory to lie 15 points adrift of Pontblyddyn.

Both teams know the importance of a victory in their quest for Premier Division survival.

Brymbo skipper James Claybrook said: “It’s a massive game and opportunity for us to gain ground on Pontblyddyn.

“Losing is not an option and it’s the perfect springboard for us going into the second-half of the season.”

Quay captain Martin Burger was of a similar opinion to his opposite number, saying: “It’s definitely a big game.

“We want to put ourselves in contention to get out of the bottom two and winning this games would certainly help us do that.

“We are expecting a good game.”

Quay’s latest defeat came as they suffered a 138-run loss at Gresford, who posted 229 for nine before bowling their visitors out for just 91 after the turnaround.

“We know what we’re doing wrong,” said Burger. “Our bowling and fielding has been good, but we are letting ourselves down with the bat. We know what we need to fix and hopefully we can sort the problems out this weekend.”

Brymbo remain cautious of Quay even if they are bottom of the pile.

“They have some match winners in their team in the form of Burger and David Fox so we know we need to turn up and put in a good performance,” said Claybrook, who sees similarities in the two side’s problems.

“Our batting has nowhere near lived up to the standards we expect,” added Claybrook, who returns to action alongside David Blackwell and CJ Craven.

Daniel Williams is pleased to see Denbigh up near the top of the Premier Division - because he sees similarities between them and his own Gresford side.

Denbigh are third in the table after 10 games, 12 points adrift of leaders Bangor, and Williams isn’t surprised by Harrison Jones’ side’s progress.

“I’m not at all surprised to see them where they are in the table,” said Williams. “They are well led by one of the best players in the league in Harrison.

“It’s nice to see them up there because man for man there isn’t anything between us. It’s just about us putting it all together on a consistent basis and getting a bit of luck now with the weather.”

Gresford head to Denbigh on the back of a 138-run success over Connah’s Quay.

The Wrexham-based side post 229 for nine with contributions from Chris Ellwood (51), Ross Willets (42), Gareth Bell (right, 39) and Williams (48), before bowling Quay out for just 91, that man Willets taking 5-15.

“It was a good all round performance from the lads,” said Williams. “They bowled well early doors on a helpful pitch, but once we got through that we really played some good cricket.

“It would have been nice for one of me or Chris to have kicked on. But Gaz and Ross batted extremely well down the order.

“We’ve known about Ross for a while and he’s such a talented spinner, we’re hoping to get him for the rest of the season.”

Gresford see Matty Cree return with Cam Evans missing out.

Pontblyddyn will be looking to end their five-match losing streak with a home victory over Llandudno tomorrow.

The Flintshire side have slipped to third from bottom in the top-flight after their barren run, which dates back to May 11 when they defeated Pwllheli by 30 runs.

Elsewhere, the top two - leaders Bangor and Mochdre - go head-to-head at Black Marsh Fields, while reigning champions Menai Bridge make their way to lowly Pwllheli.


Division One: Abergele v Carmel and District; Bersham v Hawarden Park; Conwy v Bethesda; Llanrwst v Dolgellau; Mold v Llay Welfare.

Division Two: Bangor 2nds v Corwen; Brymbo 2nds v Buckley; Gresford 2nds v Marchwiel and Wrexham 2nds; Halkyn v Northop 2nds; Llay Welfare 2nds v Menai Bridge 2nds; Mynydd Isa and Maeshafn v Mochdre 2nds.

Division Three: Buckley 2nds v Abergele 2nds; Carmel and District 2nds v Denbigh 2nds; Gwersyllt Park 2nds v Mynydd Isa and Maeshafn 2nds; Hawarden Park 2nds v Pontblyddyn 2nds; St Asaph 2nds v Connah’s Quay 2nds.

Division Four: Llandudno 2nds v Bethesda 2nds; Marchwiel and Wrexham 2nds v Caernarfon; Rhewl v Conwy 2nds; Ruthin 2nds v Dolgellau 2nds.