WALES star Rhian Griffiths led from the front as Gwent continued their excellent start to the British Inter-Counties Championship season with a 23-16 victory over Surrey to maintain their perfect record and remain top of Division Two, writes Morgan Barrell.

Griffiths, from Ebbw Vale, showed her international class with a stunning 30.67 average in a 3-0 win to get Gwent up and running on day two of the match.

The hosts led 11-7 overnight in Hafodyrynys after the B teams had come out on top on day one.

Brynmawr’s Jackie Norman won the ladies’ player of the match award for her triumph, while there were also wins for Newport duo Mandy Cosslett and Megan Vodden and Golddiggers Ceri Stephens to secure a 4-2 victory against strong opposition.

The men followed up the ladies’ achievements despite losing the opening three matches of their tie.

Stephen Cake, Paul Linwood, Paul Cosslett, the returning Corey Evans and debutant Mike Fleet dominated their opponents to claim a 7-5 win and take the B team top of their respective division.

Gwent took a four-point advantage into day two and it was on-fire Griffiths who inspired all 18 women men in the A team’s victories.

With Griffiths claiming the all-important opening point of the day, Tracey Hickey followed up her superb midweek Super League success with another solid performance in a 3-2 win.

The other Gwent ladies played well, although a talented Surrey outfit narrowed the overall gap to just 13-11 heading into the men’s A games.

It was the two best men’s A teams going head-to-head, and Gwent’s Ryan Palmer, Alec Small and Bryan Flew showed incredible mental strength to win three of the fixture’s closest games to see the hosts home.

More comfortable wins came for man of the match Mark Blandford, Peter Johns, Lee Harris and Liam Meek, as Gwent stayed top of the Division Two table, four points ahead of Kent.

Somerset and Buckinghamshire are eight points further back, Surrey and Berkshire are locked together on 55, while Worcestershire and Suffolk are not far behind them.

Gwynedd sit bottom of the 10-county table, five points adrift of ninth-placed Nottinghamshire, who have 16 points to make up on Suffolk.

Next up for Gwent is a visit to Ipswich to face Suffolk at the end of November as the journey towards an immediate return to Division One continues.

As for the other Welsh counties, Glamorgan are third in the Premier Division, and Clwyd are top of Division Three with Montgomery and Radnor down in ninth.

Meanwhile, Breconshire are involved in a three-way tussle with leaders Leicestershire and Tyne & Wear in Division Four, with Pembrokeshire ninth, 13 points clear of basement boys the Isle of Wight.