NEWPORT Fugitives have made a perfect start to life in the South Wales Premier League following last year’s promotion – and this season could get even better for the High Cross side tomorrow.
Matthew Evans skippered the Fugies to the South East Wales League Division One title in 2016 and he has already led his men to three victories on the spin this time around.
The Fugies kicked off their South Wales Premier League Division Two campaign with an emphatic eight-wicket thrashing of Ynystawe, thanks largely to James Didcote’s 4-17.
Evans’ bowlers were in fine form once more when, a week later, Carmarthen Wanderers were skittled out for just 94.
Nathan Millichip, who had hit 54 in the defeat of Ynystawe the previous Saturday, then top-scored again with 42 off 31 balls to guide his team home.
A second half-century in three matches from Millichip paved the way for last weekend’s four-wicket triumph over Tata Steel.
Replying to Tata’s 160-8, Millichip hit 10 fours and a six before being caught with the score on 139 – the Fugies eased past Tata’s total with more than 13 overs to spare.
Those three successes have put the Fugies right at the top of the table, level on points with Panteg and 14 clear of Tata.
Evans’ troops will fancy their chances of continuing their flawless start to the season tomorrow when they host bottom side Clydach.
It is still very early in the term but the Swansea outfit will obviously be keen to kick-start things after two losses and a draw so far.
As for second-placed Panteg, they had to settle for a draw against St Fagans last time out.
After superb knocks of 77 and 53 from Ian Thomas and Akhtar Balouch had helped take Panteg to 214-9, their opponents were reeling on 20-5.
Daniel Wilkinson’s devastating spell of 3-20 seemed to be taking the game towards an early finish.
However, Andrew Leering’s 67 not out and Owain Hopkins’ 52 steadied the St Fagans ship, and the former was there at the end to deny Panteg.
Tomorrow sees Ian Bird’s men face Swansea, relegated from the top tier at the end of last season, on home soil.
After getting his tenure as captain of reigning Division One champions Newport under way with back-to-back wins, Matt Norris saw his troops draw with Neath at Spytty Park last weekend.
Dean Cosker’s three dismissals kept Neath to a gettable 170-7 but Newport were very much holding on when their innings closed on 129-9.
Mark Wallace top-scored with 23 as none of the Newport batsmen were able to make a telling contribution.
While Bridgend Town are the early pacesetters in the standings, Newport sit just seven points behind in fourth, 18 ahead of tomorrow’s opponents Ammanford.
Meanwhile, there are still four teams with 100 per cent records in Division One of the South East Wales League.
Leaders Newbridge, Sudbrook, Croesyceiliog and Brecon have two wins from two so far but at least one of those records will go tomorrow.
Newbridge go to Croesyceiliog looking to build on a four-wicket defeat of Malpas, while their hosts will bid to follow up a three-wicket triumph over Pentyrch.
Sudbrook have home advantage when they take on Pontypridd, Blackwood host Chepstow, Usk entertain Malpas and Pentyrch visit Brecon.