THE MONMOUTHSHIRE Building Society Youth Cricket Shield Under 15 Final was played at the Monmouth CC ground, which was looking a picture at the end of the season.

The home team, making their first appearance at this stage of the competition, were facing Chepstow.

Having lost the toss, Monmouth were put in to bat and lost a wicket in the second over with Sam Swingwood caught down the leg side by keeper Ryan Scrivens off the bowling of Ben Kellaway.

Monmouth’s Harry Friend and Ben Davies then had a rebuilding period but both fell for 17 in close order with the score reaching 41 for 3 in the eleventh over. Friend was clean bowled by Matteo Goddard and Davies was caught Tom Franklin, bowled Ollie Rayner.

From then on Chepstow controlled the innings as wickets fell steadily and Monmouth were left in the precarious situation of 65 for 8 with four overs still remaining.

However, Owen Harris and Hayden Morris batted sensibly adding another 15 runs to enable Monmouth to post a total of 80 for 8 off their allotted 20 overs. But they knew they were probably 20-30 runs short of a par score and would have to bowl and field out of their skin if they were to win the match.

As Chepstow batted, Monmouth got off to the perfect start with Friend opening with a wicket maiden, and he and Davies conceded just 25 runs in the first eight overs.

However, a half-century partnership between Tom Franklin and Matteo Goddard was threatening to take the game away before the latter was out to a smart run-out by Friend in the twelfth over.

Monmouth’s change bowlers, Ben Pilot and Sam Swingwood, kept up the pressure, restricting Chepstow to just 21 runs in the next eight overs while taking two more wickets. This left them needing 18 runs in four overs with six wickets left.

All through the innings, Franklin had been patiently compiling the runs and the turning point in the game came when he was finally out through a fine catch by Haydn Morris off the bowling of Pilot for 33.

There then followed a fine two overs from Ollie Berry which included two wickets and, crucially, conceded just 8 runs. This meant the last over started with 14 runs to win.

Ollie Rayner and Josh Truckel did their best by scoring 11 but the Monmouth fielders held their nerve and the Chepstow batters failed to get the 3 runs needed off the last ball.

This was a match dominated by the fielding sides so it was no surprise that the Player of the Match award went to Monmouth’s Ollie Berry for his match-turning two-over spell.