PANTEG are hopeful that this will finally be the year that they get over the line to secure promotion to Division One of the South Wales Premier League – but captain Ian Bird expects another tight tussle at the top.

The early leaders host St Fagans tomorrow after maintaining their winning start to 2017 with a double success last weekend.

Panteg triumphed against Miskin Manor by 70 runs on the Saturday and then Penarth by 72 runs in round one of the Welsh Cup on the Sunday.

The latter of those victories was against the side that pipped them by nine points to the Division Two title last summer, an agonising runners-up finish after Swansea edged them out by seven points in 2015.

“We’ve come close and by our own admission we should have gone up last year,” said Bird, who will hand the reins to vice-captain James Reid tomorrow.

“I believe we were the best team in the league but we didn’t win and have regrouped as we always do.

“We’ve made a good start but it’s early days and we need to continue that to build a really strong challenge for that automatic promotion spot.

“I’m not going to say we are going to win it but as long as we keep playing this brand of cricket we should be up there.

“A lot of players have matured and now have a bit more experience – Chris Mee and Jack Mayers – while the additions of Dan Wilkinson and Ian Thomas [from Blackwood and Port Talbot respectively] makes us stronger.

“There are lots of good sides in the league so we have got to make sure we keep picking points up, but we feel that we have a strong side that is capable of being there or thereabouts.”

Panteg are two from two to sit top but Tata Steel and Newport Fugitives are on their tail after their own impressive starts, and they meet in the west this weekend.

The Fugies have hit the ground running following their promotion from the South East Wales Cricket League by beating Ynystawe and Carmarthen Wanderers in convincing fashion.

The aim is to join Newport in Division One and the champions will bid to make it three from three when they host Neath tomorrow.

The Spytty Park side enjoyed a fine start to the defence of their title against Pontarddulais and built on that by triumphing at Mumbles by 62 runs.

Former Glamorgan wicket-keeper Mark Wallace top-scored as opener with 66 before Australian Callum Taylor was pick of the bowlers with three for 15 from 10 overs.

In round one of the Welsh Cup last weekend, Abergavenny triumphed against Usk, Chepstow beat Blackwood and Newbridge lost at Cardiff.

The South East Wales Cricket League got under way last weekend and Newbridge, Sudbrook and Croesyceiliog are looking to build on winning starts.

’Bridge host Malpas at the Welfare Ground, Sudbrook entertain Usk and Croesy travel to Pentyrch.

Standout performances from opening weekend came from Sudbrook’s James Hussey (105), Danny Evans’ unbeaten 67 from number six got Croesyceiliog over the line against Chepstow, Michael Martin’s 71 wasn’t quite enough to see Malpas home at Pentyrch while Will Davey (101 not out) and Scott Greaves (five for 22) impressed for Newbridge against an Usk side whose top-scorer was Jamie Norman (68).

In round one of the Welsh Cup, Abergavenny triumphed against Usk, Chepstow beat Blackwood and Newbridge lost at Cardiff.


Thomas Carroll South Wales Premier League, Division One: Cardiff v Mumbles, Newport v Neath, Penarth v Bridgend, Port Talbot v Ammanford, Ynysygerwn v Pontarddulais

Division Two: Carmarthen Wanderers v Tondu, Clydach v Swansea, Panteg v St Fagans, Tata Steel v Newport Fugitives, Ynystawe v Miskin Manor

East Division Second XI: Bridgend v Penarth, Miskin Manor v Newport, Newport Fugitives v Tata Steel, St Fagans v Panteg, Tondu v Cardiff

Thomas Carroll South and East Wales Cricket League, Division One: Chepstow v Brecon; Newbridge v Malpas; Pentyrch v Croesyceiliog; Pontypridd v Blackwood; Sudbrook v Usk

Division Two: Barry Athletic v Lisvane; Cardiff Gymkhana v Welsh Asians; Ebbw Vale v Whitchurch-Heath; Ponthir v Rogerstone; Radyr v Abergavenny

Division Three: Barry Wanderers v Crumlin; Dinas Powis v Monmouth; Machen v Sully Centurions; Monkswood v P’tymister & Cross Keys; Vale v Creigiau

Division One, Second XI: Lisvane II v Pontypridd II; Welsh Asians II v Chepstow II; Abergavenny II v Pentyrch II; Whitchurch Heath II v Newbridge II; Usk II v Sudbrook II

Division Two - Second XI: Blackwood Town II v Barry Athletic II; Brecon II v Cardiff Gymkhana II; Croesyceiliog II v Radyr II; Malpas Wales II v Dinas Powys II; Rogerstone Welfare II v Ponthir II

Division Three – Second XI: Creigiau II v Vale II; Crumlin II v Barry Wanderers II; Pontymister & Crosskeys II v Monkswood II; Monmouth II v Ebbw Vale II; Sully Centurions II v Machen II;

Division Four: Llanarth v Newport Wales III; Abercynon v Abertillery Town ; Brynmawr v Cardiff III; Abercarn v Llantwit Fardre; Welsh Asians III v Hopkinstown

Division Five: Christchurch, Wales v Mountain Ash ; Pontnewynydd v Penarth III; Blaina v Cefn Fforest & Maesycwmmer; Undy and Magor v Radyr III; Upper Rhondda v Mountain Ash

Division Six: Panteg III v Miskin Manor III; Porth v Sully Spartans ; Lisvane III v Bridgend Town III; Blaengarw - 1st XI v Chepstow III; Whitchurch-Heath III v Tredegar

Division Seven: Newport , Wales IV v Dinas Powys III; St Fagans III v Blackwood Town - Pontllanfraith III; Llantwit Fardre II v Merthyr Tydfil III; Newbridge III v Lisvane IV; Sully Spartans II v Abercynon II

Division Eight: Sully Spartans III v Christchurch , Wales II; Hopkinstown II v Cynon Valley; Radyr IV v Abercarn II; Cefn Fforest & Maesycymmer II v Newport Fugitives III; Penarth IV v Croesyceiliog III

Division Nine: Mountain Ash II v Llanarth II; Bay Dragons v Whitchurch-Heath IV; Lisvane V v Sudbrook III; Pontymister & Crosskeys III v Cardiff IV; Bridgend Town IV v Pontypridd III; Blackwood Town - Pontllanfraith IV v Monkswood III