Roberts leaves Wanderers in a spin as Ammanford claim top spot

South Wales Guardian: TOP DOGS: Ammanford climbed to the top of the SWCA Division One courtesy of a 21-run victory over title-chasing Carmarthen Wanderers. TOP DOGS: Ammanford climbed to the top of the SWCA Division One courtesy of a 21-run victory over title-chasing Carmarthen Wanderers.

SWCA Thomas Carroll Insurance - Division One

Carmarthen Wanderers (154) lost to Ammanford (175) by 21 runs

Ammanford became the outright leaders of the SWCA first division thanks to a 21-run victory at Carmarthen Wanderers on Saturday with spinner Matthew Roberts’ five-for seeing him move to the head of the wicket-taking leaderboard.

The hosts had themselves been top of the table before the first ball was bowled.

Ammanford skipper Alun Evans made his intentions crystal clear when he won the toss and elected to bat.

It was a decision which baldly stated: “We are the best team in this division and we’re just about to show you why.”

Openers Craig Maloney and Rhys Culley got Ammanford off to a solid start with 47 from 15 overs before Maloney fell to ex-Ammanford spinner Ian Marsh.

Culley (27) was next to fall and Matthew Fisher’s 22 took the visitors to the reasonable platform of 101 for three from 30 overs.

There they lost direction, and wickets began to fall unnecessarily.

However, Evans was still at the crease and he carefully guided his team to a respectable 175 before succumbing in the penultimate over for 60.

The final wicket failed to add a run and Ammanford closed on 175.

The visitors’ opening bowler Tom Maynard struck with the second ball of the innings, and together with fellow opener Hedd Jones had the hosts struggling at 10 for two.

A further couple of quick wickets reduced them to 46 for four, but then a stand of 62 between Steffan Jones (44) and Rhys Thomas (19) offered the Wanderers some hope.

But hope was all they had and the hosts were never able to gain any real foothold as spinners Matthew Roberts (5-42) and Matthew Fisher (2-34) strangled the life out of the second half of the Carmarthen innings.

Roberts took two wickets in consecutive balls to swing matters decisively Ammanford’s way. His five-wicket haul made him the league’s leading wicket taker with 21 from five matches.

The 27-point victory eased Ammanford 15 points clear of Carmarthen.

Next Saturday they will look to extend their lead at the top of the table as they host second-bottom Gowerton at the Park while the Wanderers face a tough challenge when they travel to third-placed Tata Steel.

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