Gwent pair look to climb up table after poor starts

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

NEWPORT and Usk must attempt to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the Swalec Premier League.

The Gwent pair were both downed last week and occupy the relegation spots.

A disastrous start with the bat saw Newport suffer a 33-run defeat at Mumbles last week.

They slipped to 4-3 chasing a target of 250 and not even a 94 by Imran Hassan, who is tenth in the Premier League batting rankings, could salvage the situation.

But the bunched nature of the table means that Spytty Park outfit don’t need to panic just yet and a win tomorrow when they host Pontarddulais would be just the ticket.

That could potentially see them leapfrog their visitors, who currently occupy fifth spot.

Usk’s situation is a little more perilous after they fell to a five-wicket home defeat to champions Cardiff last weekend.

It doesn’t get any easier for the bottom club as they travel to Port Talbot tomorrow – though that will hold no fear after the May meeting between the sides.

The Pirates were limited to 176-9 before one of their old boys, Glamorgan one-day star Chris Cooke, smashed 88 to see Usk home.

A repeat would give Huw Wilcox and his side a timely boost as they attempt to climb the table and, with the Premier League expansion to 12 teams delayed, avoid the need for promotion criteria to save their bacon.

Prepare for some big swings in Division One of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire Cricket League courtesy of the woeful weather.

No side has won or lost more games than they have had cancelled in a frustrating season.

That means, with the league placings still decided by points average, matters can change rapidly if teams can get out in the middle.

And tomorrow could be a massive day at the top of the table with leaders Chepstow hosting second-placed Sudbrook.

If the visitors win then would leapfrog their hosts, who could find themselves going from leading the pack to mid-table with a low points haul.

Sudbrook are also aided by the fact that they have scored more points than any other (119) and have had fewest cancellations (four), leaving them in a better position to absorb a loss and maintain a healthy average.

Bottom club Newport Fugitives will be looking to cause a major upset when they host St Fagans, who are handily placed in third as they bid to return to the Premier League.

Blackwood and Panteg were both frustrated by the weather yet again last weekend.

They meet at Gordon Road in a game that could push either side into a chase for top spot while Abergavenny and Rogerstone are scheduled to lock horns at Avenue Road.

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