FOR the second time in three weeks Penarth found themselves on the road against unbeaten opponents on Saturday and yet again returned with a crucial win.

Carmarthen Wanderers were this week’s opposition for the in-form Bears, who now have four consecutive victories and find themselves within touching distance of league leaders Swansea.

Fielding first, Penarth were indebted to some excellent bowling in what proved to be helpful conditions after Friday’s heavy rain.

Ryan Sylvester got Penarth on their way with the early wicket of Robbie Crawford before Ali Bukkhari and Richard Skone both struck with Wanderers’ score at 35 to remove Walters and the dangerous Stephan Inward.

Gareth Thomas and Owain Binding rebuilt, albeit slowly, with a stand of 102 before Mark Thomas picked up the former for a well-made 67 which included three sixes.

Following this wicket Carmarthen subsided dramatically from a position of relative strength against the bowling of Bukkhari and Sylvester.

Bukkhari picked up another 3 wickets, all bowled, in a ferocious spell while Sylvester wasn’t to be upstaged to finish with 3 for 16 as the hosts closed at 148 all out.

The last 6 wickets had fallen for just 11 runs in 5 overs as Penarth made the pressure count.

Any thoughts that the relatively modest total would present an easy chase were quickly put to bed. Amid some tight bowling from Binding and Scourfield Penarth found the going tough and runs hard to come by.

Jamie Hitchen succumbed, LBW to Binding for 13, before Sylvester went to the bowling of Ian Hughes for 8. From 38 for 2 in the 16th over things soon got worse for Penarth as Nick Morgan and Bukkhari went in quick succession to leave Penarth reeling at 52 for 4 and with Scott Matthews retiring hurt the result was truly in the balance.

It was a battling partnership between Richard Skone and Jack Thomas that eased Penarth towards victory.

Coming together in the 26th over the pair steadily moved their team towards their target and managed to increase the run rate as Carmarthen searched for further wickets. Having gone a long way to easing Penarth’s nerves Skone eventually fell to Owen Bailey for 37 with the score at 129 but this was to be Thomas’ day.

Batting with great maturity, he took the responsibility to accelerate his team over the line with an over and a half to spare to record a vital win in what is proving to be a fascinating and tight division.

In the Second XI competition the game of the day brought together two unbeaten teams in Penarth and Port Talbot at the Athletic Field.

Fielding first, Penarth made a solid start and after some tight bowling from opening bowlers Rhys McGowan and Nathan Piddock Port Talbot found themselves in trouble at 46 for 4.

The visitors fought back strongly with Sam Tobin scoring a classy 65, ably supported by Shaun Edwards with 55.

Tim Miller made the breakthrough to remove Tobin while Neil Stephens bowled his 10 overs superbly, conceding only 15 runs.

After some quick scoring towards the end of the innings, the away team finished at 207 for 8.

Penarth started well in their pursuit of the target with openers Dafydd Manley and Gareth Jenkins getting off to quick starts before both fell to the bowling of Underwood.

Although several Penarth batsmen made starts wickets fell regularly with only Greg Cross showing the necessary resolve for a well-made 33.

Cooksley and Edwards entered the attack to great effect for the visitors and it was Port Talbot who claimed victory by 24 runs.

The 3rds made the short journey to face local rivals Sully Centurions. Sully batted first and quickly lost a couple of wickets to Matt Birch.

However they steadied the innings with some strong batting as Nicky Jones scored 41, Rhett Jones 57 and Dave Goodway 62 as Sully threatened a formidable total.

Jones fell to a run-out before Penarth’s bowlers fought back and Sully were bowled out for 217 with Navan Kathir taking 3 for 20.

Of Penarth’s top order only Luke Tillbrook made any headway with an impressive 32 and as they slumped to 120-7 it looked as though the game was slipping away.

However a partnership of 98 from Captain Dan Thacker (47 not out) and Rob Crimp (52) took Penarth to the brink of victory before Crimp fell with 2 overs to go. Sully sensed another chance of victory but Thacker and Birch saw Penarth home, with just 3 balls to spare, for a hard fought victory in a game played in fantastic spirit.

The Penarth fourth team juggernaut continues to roll after they hosted Newport fourths at the Athletic Field. Having won the toss Penarth asked Newport to bat and soon had them in trouble as Julien Humphreys took 4-12 and Raj Nambir 3-30.

Despite some lusty lower order hitting Newport only made 102 with the ever-improving Rhys Mottram finishing off the tail with 3-18.

In reply Penarth got off to another very solid start through Dai Carter and Geoff Thomas. Thomas had to retire with a neck strain on 23, but Carter once again saw Penarth home with 56 not out.

The 9 wicket win gave the fourths their fifth consecutive victory and they sit proudly at the top of the league.

The first team look forward to hosting Panteg this week in a match sponsored by Capstone Recruitment. The seconds visit Malpas, the thirds entertain Vale CC and the fourths are on the road at Hopkinstown.