Battle of the champions as Panteg make Premier League bow out west

South Wales Argus: FP_BH_PANTEG v PENTYRCH_2  9.9.13  Panteg's Lloyd Smith scored 73 runs during the match against Pentyrch. Panteg won the game. Picture by Bill Hart (1080422) FP_BH_PANTEG v PENTYRCH_2 9.9.13 Panteg's Lloyd Smith scored 73 runs during the match against Pentyrch. Panteg won the game. Picture by Bill Hart (1080422)

PANTEG are presented with an early chance to show that they belong in the South Wales Premier League when they head to champions Mumbles on opening weekend, writes Chris Kirwan.

Last season was a cracker for Panteg; they topped Division One of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League to earn promotion, won the Welsh Cup and were runners-up to Usk in the Macey Knockout Cup.

They will have to get used to losing a few more encounters in the Premier League – they suffered just one league defeat in 2012 – but captain Ian Bird believes they can mix it with the big boys.

“It will be tough but we have got a good side and I am confident that we can thrive in the Premier League,” he said.

“Mumbles is a big test first up but one that we are all looking forward to and it’s a good opportunity for us against one of the top teams.

“Everyone’s preparations have been hampered by the weather but we did manage one game against Usk in which Lloyd Smith got a hundred.

“Gareth Davies has joined from Sully and fits in quite nicely; he’s a good player with Premier League experience.”

Newport were meant to be welcoming Sully but the inaugural champions’ withdrawal from the top flight means that Cardiff, spared relegation, head to Spytty Park.

The pair have already clashed in a friendly and it was the Diamond Ground outfit that triumphed by six wickets.

This weekend’s hosts will hope for better when it matters and have been boosted by the arrival of 22-year-old Bermuda batsman Terryn Fray, who averaged 58 for Sully last year.

“We’re optimistic of a good season, we have a strong squad with plenty of youngsters pressing for places in the side” said Michael Clayden, who has resumed the captaincy after Gary Wood fulfilled the role for a two seasons.

“We were comfortably away from relegation last year but we had performed a bit better at the start of the season we could have had more of an influence at the top, so that’s something to aim for.”

Most of the sides in Division One of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League are also ready for their first action after a frustrating opening weekend.

Just one game beat the weather with Chepstow beating Newbridge, who headed up courtesy of Sully’s descent to Division Two, by four wickets in a thriller.

The hosts’ groundstaff were rewarded for their efforts in getting the game on when Jon Roberts’ six off the last ball saw Chepstow successfully chase down 175 in 41 overs.

FIXTURES

SWALEC PREMIER LEAGUE: Mumbles v Panteg, Neath v Ynysygerwn, Newport v Cardiff, Pontarddulais v Port Talbot Town, Swansea v Bridgend Town

- Second XI matches are a reverse of first XI games

THOMAS, CARROLL GLAMORGAN AND MONMOUTHSHIRE CRICKET LEAGUE, DIVISION ONE: Blackwood v Penarth, Croesyceiliog v Chepstow, Newbridge v Abergavenny, Pontypridd v Sudbroook, Tondu v St Fagans, Usk v Pentyrch

DIVISION TWO: Ebbw Vale v Creigiau, Malpas v Pontymister, Miskin Manor v Rogerstone, Radyr v Newport Fugitives, Sully v Brecon, Welsh Asians v Barry

DIVISION THREE: Cardiff Gymkhana v Monkswood, Lisvane v Whitchurch Heath, Machen v Dinas Powis, Vale v Monmouth

DIVISION ONE SECOND XI: Abergavenny v Welsh Asians, Chepstow v Miskin Manor, Penarth v Radyr, Pentyrch v Usk, St Fagans v Lisvane, Sudbrook v Pontypridd. Welsh Asians v Chepstow (Monday)

DIVISION TWO SECOND XI: Barry v Newbridge, Creigiau v Tondu, Dinas Powis v Sully, Newport Fugitives v Blackwood, Pontymister v Malpas, Rogerstone v Croesyceiliog

DIVISION THREE SECOND XI

Brecon v Machen, Monkswood v Cardiff Gymkhana, Monmouth v Vale, Ponthir v Llantwit Fardre, Whitchurch Heath v Ebbw Vale

THOMAS, CARROLL WELSH CLUB CRICKET CONFERENCE, DIVISION ONE: Barry Wanderers v Abercarn, Hopkinstown v Pontnewynydd, Pentwyn v Cardiff III, Cross Keys v St Fagans III, Pencoed v Abercynon

DIVISIONJ TWO: Penarth III v Welsh Asians III, Abertillery v Radyr III, Tredegar v Brynmawr, Crumlin v Llanarth, Blaina v Upper Rhondda

DIVISION THREE: Blaengarw v Undy & Magor, Pontypridd III v Coedley CWCI, Chepstow III v Ton Pentre, Cardiff Cobras v Barry Wanderers II, Newport III v Cefn Fforest/Maesycwmmer

DIVISION FOUR: Lisvvane III v Croesyceiliog III, Christchurch v Whitchurch Heath III, Porth v Merthyr III, Pontllanfraith v Abertillery II, Abercarn II v Bridgend Town III

DIVISION FIVE: Aberdare III v Sully III, Cardiff IV v Pentwyn II, Miskin Manor III v Hopkinstown II, Panteg III v Lisvane IV

DIVISION SIX: Mountain Ash v Newport IV, Bridgend Town IV v Blaina II, Abercynon II v Crumlin II, Brynmawr II v Chepstow IV, Radyr IV v Christchurch II, Welsh Asians IV v Aberdare IV

DIVISION SEVEN: St Fagans IV v Cross Keys II, Monkswood III v Dinas Powis III, Whitchurch Heath IV v Pontypridd IV, Sully Spartans v Caerphilly & Bedwas, Cynon Valley v Pencoed II

DIVISION EIGHT: Upper Rhondda II v Panteg IV, Cefn Fforest/Maesycwmmer II v Pontllanfraith II, Pontnewynydd II v Mountain Ash II, Newbridge III v Penarth IV

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