THE final of the Harrison Allen Bowl takes place this Saturday, August 27, with two teams battling for the most coveted prize in Pembrokeshire cricket.
As always the game takes place in Cresselly and it sees Llangwm take on Haverfordwest and both sides are confident they can win the big one.
Whoever wins there will be a new name on the trophy after holders Neyland were knocked out in one of the earlier rounds.
Llangwm finished second in the league, their best finish to a Division 1 season since 1969, and they will be looking to make it even more memorable.
Haverfordwest were relegated from Division 1 but they have players who have Harrison Allen final experience and they too are looking to end their season on a positive note.
The only league game between the two saw Llangwm take a comfortable eight-wicket win after bowling Town out for 97. The other game was abandoned because of rain.
It promises to be another exciting encounter with lots of action to look forward too.
Will we see a repeat of last year’s final when Neyland’s Patrick Bellerby cracked 15 fours and nine sixes in an unbeaten score of 134 or will it be a tight game between two good teams?
Haverfordwest were beaten finalists in 2020 but won it in 2019 and in 2016.
Llangwm were beaten finalists in 2013 while their last Harrison Allen final win came in 1993.
ROUTE TO THE FINAL
Haverfordwest began their route to the final with a 59-run win over Narberth. Haverfordwest scored 159-5 in their innings with Ben Field scoring 80. Will Phillips then took five wickets for Town as they bowled Narberth out for 100.
They were drawn to play Johnston in the second round but as they could not get a team they were forced to concede.
In the quarter finals Haverfordwest played Kilgetty and scored 166-8 batting first. Adam James hit 66 from 33 balls before Dai Davies finished unbeaten on 44.
Archie Thomas claimed a five wicket haul as they bowled Kilgetty out for 131.
In the semi-finals, Town played Herbrandston at St Ishmaels and again batted first, scoring 184-7.
Ben Field scored 64 before Dai Davies again finished unbeaten on 48.
Archie Thomas took three wickets while Kieran O’Connor, Ashley James and Clive Tucker all took two wickets to bowl Herbie out for 84.
Llangwm began their run to the final in the second round after receiving a bye from the first round.
In round 2, they faced St Ishmaels at Pill Parks, scoring 146-9 batting first. Noah Davies and Joe Kiff both made scores of 27.
Steve Mills also scored 16 and then took 4-28 to help Llangwm restrict Tish to 142-6 to win by four runs.
In the quarter finals, Llangwm faced Carew. Carew scored 139-9 as Steve Mills took three wickets while Joe Phillips and Chris Inward both struck twice.
Inward then scored 33, Mills scored 30 and Joe Kiff scored 29 as Llangwm reached their target with five wickets in hand.
In the semi-final, Llangwm scored 198-2 against Lawrenny with Joe Kiff scoring 63. Steve Inward then finished not out on 92 and Mills was unbeaten on 31.
Chris Inward then took three wickets for Llangwm and Steve Mills also struck twice as Lawrenny finished short on 186-7.
WHAT THE CAPTAINS SAY
Haverfordwest captain Dai Davies said: “The team is feeling good going into the final, we are looking to finish on a high from a disappointing league campaign. Really excited for the day, up for the challenge against a very strong Llangwm side. Played really well in cup cricket this year and looking to produce another solid all round good performance.
“Llangwm are a very strong side, with great depth in there batting order, plenty of bowling options, I feel if they played a consistent side they would have won the league, great achievement to finish runners up.
“They outplayed us in the league game we played, we didn’t have a strong enough side on the day but credit to them they were very professional and won the game comfortably. Only played them at there place as game was rained off at Hwest.
“We feel relaxed going into it, being underdogs we believe will suit us, most of our side have been there and won it before, we feel that for us to come up with the win that our experience of big finals could be vital, we will need to be in the game at halfway stage and play better than them under pressure in the second half. Just hoping for a great day and a competitive game of cricket.”
(We are awaiting comments from Llangwm’s captain)
There have been some excellent moments in this year’s competition including Lawrenny’s defeat of Neyland in the first round.
Toby Hayman scored a century for Burton in their first round win over Lamphey while second division Herbrandston made the semi-finals before losing to Haverfordwest.
In the semi-final Steve Inward finished unbeaten on 92 in Llangwm’s score of 198-2. Lawrenny’s Kyle Marsh scored 125 not out in their reply but it wasn’t enough for his side to go through.
Haverfordwest Ben Field scored 64 in their semi-final win and Dai Davies finished unbeaten on 48.
We asked some of the captains from around the county for their predictions for the game.
Pembroke Dock captain Nick Daley said: “I’m just swaying towards llangwm as they are in inform team with top players who have had a great season finishing second in the league. But if Adam James gets going anything can happen and it will be a brilliant final and he could win it on his own. Haverfordwest have been here before and won it but I think it will be Llangwm’s year. Good luck both teams.”
Lawrenny’s Joe Kidney added: “You can never predict a Harrison Allen final but I’ll go for Llangwm as they have a strong bowling attack and will post decent scores in both innings with that batting lineup.”
Cresselly captain Iwan Izzard said: “My money would be on Llangwm. Although Haverfordwest have a couple of big game players with Harrison Allen final experience. I think Llangwm are stronger all around as a team and will pinch a tight game.”
Saundersfoot captain Yannic Parker said: “After playing both teams twice in the season Llangwn’s strength in depth is only rivalled by Cresselly. I see only a comprehensive Llangwn win!”
Burton captain Luke Hayman: “I think Llangwm will win it this year. They have strong batting at the top of the order but I think it’s their depth in the bowling that will be too much for Harverfordwest.”