FOLLOWING an enforced two-week break for bad weather summer returned for Penarth Cricket Club this weekend but unfortunately the weather was the only good thing seen as all four teams suffered disappointing defeats.

At the Athletic Field, the first team were happy to bat first against visiting Malpas but couldn’t make the most of some favourable conditions as the Malpas attack made the most of the swinging ball to bundle Penarth out for a far from sufficient 123.

Openers Scott Matthews and Ryan Sylvester added 22 for the first wicket before both fell in quick succession to the left arm seam of James Francis.

Nick Morgan and Gareth Jenkins steadied things briefly but the fall of the former precipitated the loss of five wickets for just 19 runs as Daniel Jones, Ryan Ward and David Griffiths ripped the heart out of the Penarth innings.

Resistance came in the shape of Jamie Hitchen and Morgan Humphreys who sensibly added 41 for the 8th wicket before Humphreys was bowled by Griffiths for 19, while Hitchen continued to impress in counter-attacking mode to finish 43 not out as his side limped to 123 all out.

Hopes of a home fightback were raised as Sylvester trapped Ward LBW before a run had been scored in reply but the second wicket partnership moved the game decisively in Malpas’ direction as Jones and Ellis James added 52 before the latter edged Sylvester to Jack Thomas behind the stumps.

Malpas progress towards the target was slow and considered while Mark Thomas and Sylvester were in the attack, and Humphreys extra pace accounted for Jones, bowled for 39, before Malpas were guided home by Francis and Michael Martin for a comfortable win.

Penarth will hope for a serious improvement as they bring the curtain down on the 2019 season with a trip to Newbridge on Saturday.

The 2nd XI will enter the final round of matches one point behind leaders Port Talbot after suffering a potentially costly last over defeat at Bridgend.

Batting first, James Erasmus and Luke Tilbrook steadily went about their business to reach 60 without loss off 20 overs.

With the platform for a big score set and Erasmus making a superb 61, the loss of Tilbrook lead to a regular fall of wickets and although Dafydd Manley scored fluently for his 32 Penarth found themselves at 150 for 6 having been in a dominant position. Neil Stephens and Andrew Graveson put the innings back on track before a run out saw the end of Stephens. After some big hitting and careful shot selection from Graveson, who finished 38 not out, Penarth mustered 224-8 at the close.

Bridgend started brightly thanks to Max Brown’s quickfire 28 and the visitors struggled to keep the run rate down as Iwan Bunston and Gwilym Davies batted well. Neil Stephens finally made the breakthrough, bowling Bunston for 41 and picking up Davies for 49 in another exceptional spell.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to stem the flow of runs and as the Penarth fielding went off the boil, despite 3 wickets for Tim Miller, Rhodri Owen guided his team home with 30 not out and two balls to spare.

An almost unrecognisable 3rd XI were comfortably beaten by Christchurch by 9 wickets.

The returning Sam Docherty wasted no time in finding his form for a fine 86 and with support from Ishtiyaq Akhtar with 24 and Chris Mortimer with 15 helped Penarth to what looked like a competitive 180 for 7 off their 40 overs.

Unfortunately, Penarth’s inexperienced attack couldn’t stem the flow of runs as the visiting openers made the target look inadequate with the only wicket falling that of Joe Thomas for 105 with the match almost over as Christchurch got the job done with some 7 overs to spare.

The fourths will undoubtedly be crowned league champions despite suffering a four-run defeat at Chepstow.

Martin Dennett and Dave Carter picked up two wickets apiece as Chepstow made 156 for 8 from their 40 overs with Sam Calway top scoring with 85.

Carter and Dennett again starred with the bat, making 57 and 30, before Julien Humphreys made 19 to get Penarth close.

Unfortunately the final over of the innings yielded just 3 runs and Chepstow held on to win an excellent encounter by 4 runs.

In the final weekend of the season the seconds will host Newbridge in a title chase that will likely be decided by bonus points, the thirds visit Dinas Powys and the fourths will celebrate their title at home to Machen.