THIS Saturday (April 28) sees Port Talbot Town Cricket Club open their 2012 South Wales Premier League campaign against old foes Pontarddulais at The New Mansel.
The league comprises the 10 top teams from across the region, which encompasses an area from Carmarthenshire in the west to Monmouthshire in the east. It promises to be another exciting season as the Pirates look to build on last year’s efforts which saw them finish in a club record third position and also reach the final of the SWCA League Cup.
Port Talbot have made continuing strides over recent years, with three consecutive top five finishes, and will again look to their captain, former Glamorgan opening batsman Dan Cherry, to be in top run-scoring form.
Cherry leads the side for the fourth successive season, and is able to call upon the services of fellow ex-county professionals Ian Thomas and Stuart Phelps.
Each Premier League club is allocated two current county players affiliated to Glamorgan, and Port Talbot have secured the services of their captain Mark Wallace and opening bowler Alex Jones. Wallace has been with the club since 2008 and was last season’s player of the year, while Jones has joined from 2011 league runners-up Bridgend Town.
Changes to last season’s squad have seen batsman Sam Davies return to Ynysygerwn, while left arm spinner Josh Tobin has moved to Fi1st Division Swansea after six years with his home town club. Cardiff UCCE bowler Phil Harris is a new recruit who has already featured in two matches against first class opposition this season.
Port Talbot have a well renowned youth policy and former captain Mark Cox, his brother Dean, who keeps wicket, and the hard-hitting Anthony Thomas are long-standing components of the side who have come through the club ranks.
Younger members of the side include Glamorgan academy player Sean Griffiths, aged 16, who is a highly rated prospect. Griffiths, a top order batsman and useful medium pace bowler, will look to continue his progress in 2012 after encouraging performances last year. Two other younger members of the side to look out for are pace bowlers Lewis Jones (19) and Richard Edwards (17), who have also progressed through the club youth set-up.
With a well balanced side blending an exciting mixture of youth and experience, the Pirates hope to be once again among the forerunners during 2012, and tp continue their encouraging showings over recent seasons.
Matches are 50 overs per side and start at 12.30pm on Saturdays, with the season running from the end of April through to the last weekend in August.