With all games played under the new Hundred format, there was a fitting final as the Wanderers took on host club Carew, running out winners by 17 runs to claim the trophy on their first appearance in the tournament.
That had followed The Rooks edging to a thrilling two-wicket win in their first game against rivals Cresselly, whilst the South Wales Premier side themselves had already showed their intent with a nine-wicket win over Lawrenny.
But the day was about considerably more than the cricket, with a prize raffle, plus sponsorship and donations, helping raise a grand total of £3,613.17 for the Aled Davies Memorial Fund. This money will be now be used to support local causes over the next 12 months.
There was also a six-hitting competition held in-between the semi-finals and final, won by Liam Rogers of Carmarthen Wanderers, and an All Stars Cricket session for youngsters that was organised by Cresselly’s Stefan Jenkins.
And the sense of occasion was summed up afterwards by Tom Davies, the son of Aled and the main organiser of the event, and also a crucial player for the Wanderers in both their matches. He thanked everyone for their support, including Carew for staging the tournament, the umpires and scorers, Gray-Nicholls and all the kit sponsors, and PBE Fuels for funding the match balls. There were also special mentions for Clive James, who produced the programmes, Richard Scriven who entertained as usual with his work as DJ on the day and Ross Grieve, who took over photography duties.
Semi-final 1: Carew (130-8) beat Cresselly (129-5) by 2 wickets
On the main pitch at the Carew Club, spectators were treated to a tense opener as the home side held their nerve to overcome Cresselly as tail-enders James Hinchcliffe and Ceri Brace got them over the line.
Having been put into bat, The Doves were boosted by 21 from No 3 from Charlie Arthur (four fours) but it was Neilson Cole who added real impetus, cracking four fours and a six in his 35 not out. An unbeaten stand of 31 between him and Stefan Jenkins, who hit one maximum in his score of 20 not out, meant a final total of 129-5.
But it was a score which would prove to be the lowest of the day, As Iori Hicks (2-29), skipper Shaun Whitfield (1-114), Brace (1-15) and Rhys Davies (1-22) all bowled tightly in their 20-ball stints.
But the Carew reply didn’t start smoothly, falling to 18-3 before being rescued by a stand of 50 between Nick Scourfield and Brian Hall. Scourfield made 26, with two fours and a six, before being run out, whilst Hall hit four boundaries in his 23.
But it was Whitfield who really upped the ante, smashing five sixes in his 42, but when he was caught by Jenkins off the outstanding Tyler James, at 122-8 Carew still had work to do.
However, Hinchcliffe (4 not out) and Brace (3 not out) got the job done with 17 balls to spare, with youngster James finishing with 3-11 from 16 balls, whilst Charlie Arthur took 2-35 (20 balls), Nick Cope 1-19 (15 balls), and Jenkins 1-21 (20 balls).
Umpires: Jon Willington and Bob Page
Scorers: Julie Davies and Richard Jenkins
Semi-final 2: Carmarthen Wanderers (140-1) beat Lawrenny (139-4) by 9 wickets
There was no shortage of sixes on the Carew third team pitch overlooking the castle, but Lawrenny failed to notch enough of them as Carmarthen completed a tricky run chase with relative ease.
Opting to bat, the Pembrokeshire team hit 139-4, with opener Harry Thomas leading the way with a rapid 37, a knock which included just one single, with three fours and four sixes.
No 3 Kyle Marsh made 21, again with only one single alongside two fours and two maximums, and Ryan Morton helped elevate the rate with three sixes and a four in his 22.
But thanks to Liam Rogers (2-29), Owain Binding (1-27) and Tom Davies (1-29) Lawrenny couldn’t completely get away - and it was the ex-Carew man himself who then helped his side make light work of the run chase.
Davies hammered 49 not out, cracking three sixes and two fours, whilst opening parter Ifan Knott hit a quick-fire 24 before falling to Rob Williams.
But Owain Davies joined namesake Tom in continuing the assault, stroking seven fours in his unbeaten 41 to help see his side home with 15 balls in hand.
Umpires: Gareth Brace and Simon Richards
Scorers: Clive Thomas and Hugh Griffiths
Final: Carew (143-9) lost to Carmarthen Wanderers (160-5) by 17 runs
Before the start of the final, tributes were paid to another great of both Carew and Pembrokeshire sport, with a minute's applause held in memory of Gerald Hicks, who died in April.
It was Hicks who fittingly, had made the Aled Davies Memorial Trophy ahead of the 2021 tournament, with both men so well renowned in local circles for their ability as well as their character.
And it was Carmarthen captain Gareth Thomas who then played the defining knock as his side’s total of 160-5 proved too much for Carew to chase down.
Again, Whitfield won the toss and opted to field, but opener Owain Davies hit three fours in his 35 to give the Wanderers a start, before No 3 Thomas seized the initiative with 56, including seven boundaries.
Tom Davies took Whitfield for a maximum in his 26 and Owain Binding also added late impetus, making 17 off seven balls as Thomas’ team racked top the biggest total of the day.
It was Binding who then took two early wickets as The Rooks were reduced to 17-4 and then 40-5, with the contest seemingly all over before Rhys Davies gave them hope, hitting 48 (four fours and a six) before becoming Binding’s third victim, the all-rounder finishing with 3-16 in 20 balls.
Iori Hicks, who had joined Davies in a stand of 71, made 28 (20 in boundaries) and Jacob Knox cleared the rope once in his late 20 - but the the Wanderers kept control to round off an enthralling day of cricket, played in the most glorious of weather conditions.
In the post-match presentations, Ceri Davies then spoke about the best performances during the final and announced Thomas as the Man of the Match - and then in a poignant moment it was Aled’s wife, Wendy, who presented him with the Aled Davies Memorial Trophy.
Tom himself then spoke warmly about everyone involved, and any organisation, or individual, who is seeking support or would like to know more about the memorial fund, can contact the event social media pages or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owain Davies b James Hinchcliffe 35
Evan Knott ct Brian Hall b Rhys Davies 8
Gareth Thomas ct Sion Jenkins b James Hinchcliffe 56
Tom Davies ct Tim Hicks b Iori Hicks 7 ct Shaun Whitfield b Rhys Davies 26
Liam Rogers ct Tim Hicks b Iori Hicks 7
Owain Binding not out 17
Bowling: Shaun Whitfield 3-0-33-0; Rhys Davies 4-0-23-2; Iori Hicks 4-0-34-1; Ceri Brace 4-0-37-0; James Hinchcliffe 4-0-19-2.
Total: 160 for 5 in 100 balls
Tim Hicks ct Evan Knott b Tom Davies 8
Nick Scourfield ct Evan Knott b Owain Binding 0
Brian Hall run out 1
Luke Hicks b Owain Binding 4
Shaun Whitfield ct Owain Binding b Liam Rogers 13
Rhys Davies ct and b Owain Binding 48
Iori Hicks run out 28
Jacob Knox b Gareth Thomas 20
James Hinchcliffe not out 5
Ceri Brace run out 7
Sion Jenkins not out 1
Bowling: Tom Davies 4-0-31-1; Liam Rogers 4-0-18-1; Owain Binding 4-0-16-3; Ian Hughes 4-0-32-0; Gareth Thomas 4–0-41-1.
Total: 143 for 9 in 100 balls
Umpires: Simon Richards and Bob Page
Scorers: Julie Davies and Clive Thomas