AS the curtain came down on the 2019 season the Penarth 4th XI took pride of place as they were confirmed as champions of the South East Wales League division 10 with another comfortable win.

Beaten just twice in 2019, Andy Prickett’s team have dominated the division from early May and finished in style with a 122 run victory over Machen this week. David Carter was the star with the bat again, an unbeaten century confirming a season’s average in three figures, while Geoff Thomas made 56 in an opening stand of 186 before Adam Akhtar and Robert Ashcroft finished the job as Penarth made 231 for 2.

In reply, Luke Summerfield struck early with the new ball before the twin-spin attack of Rhys Mottram and the captain grabbed three wickets apiece to leave the visitors at 109 for 8 before the celebrations began in earnest.

The first team have slipped away badly in recent weeks in the Premier League and ended their campaign in 5th place with another disappointing run-chase at Newbridge.

Bowling first in wet conditions Penarth began well with Ryan Sylvester and Morgan Humphreys picking up the wickets of openers James and Travis Morgan before Sylvester brought about the run out of Alex Horton for 4.

Richard Skone increased the problems for Newbridge with a couple of wickets, including the dangerous Ryan Watkins, to leave the innings at 61 for 5.

With Newbridge relying heavily on the impressive Will Davey they moved on to 97 for 7 as Mark Thomas struck and Skone bagged a third wicket before Chris James joined Davy in a crucial 8th wicket partnership.

Having been firmly in control Penarth allowed standards to slip in the field and the partnership was worth 63 before James finally edged Thomas behind for 10 and Will Skone wrapped up the innings with the final two wickets as Newbridge made 168 all out, Davey’s contribution a fine unbeaten 72.

Not for the first time recently Penarth found the chase beyond them. Will Skone went early, yorked by Gavin Jones, while Gareth Jenkins, Scott Matthews and Steffan Crimp followed as Penarth slumped to 30 for 4.

Nick Morgan and Jamie Hitchen steadied the ship for a time in adding 32 before the former fell to Matthew Williams for 30 and Hitchen and Sylvester both fell with the score at 77.

Soon after, Richard Skone and Humphreys fell in quick succession to leave Penarth at 90 for 9.

A brief counter attacking 28 from skipper Sidford briefly delayed the inevitable but Newbridge wrapped up a 50 run win as Sidford fell to Chris James in the 29th over.

A disappointing end to a promising season.

There was drama, and ultimately disappointment, at the Athletic Field as the seconds’ hopes of retaining their league title were scuppered despite a resounding final day win.

Entering the day just one point behind Port Talbot, James Erasmus, Nathan Piddock and Nitin Mathias all made half centuries and Jack Thomas 48 as Newbridge’s bowlers toiled in conceding a massive 306 for 3.

The Newbridge reply never got started, despite 89 for Andrew Evans, as Piddock bagged 6 for 24 and Rhys McGowan and Andrew Graveson a wicket apiece. Although Penarth toiled for the tenth wicket it eventually fell to off-spinner Daf Manley to confirm victory by 151 runs and the desired maximum 20 points. Having done all that could be asked, the news from Port Talbot couldn’t have been more disappointing, the hosts having picked up 19 points in defeating Cardiff and thus tying the league but edging out Penarth by virtue of a better head-to-head record.

A hugely disappointing end to a very fine season for Tim Miller’s men.

The thirds finished their season with a trip to Dinas Powys who picked up a victory by 45 runs.

Joe Walker helped himself to three wickets for Penarth while James Hiscocks made 73 for the Villagers with able support from Oliver Hurley and Jack Houghton in a competitive 216 for 5.

Peter Docherty, Luck Tilbrook and Nick Viner all made promising starts in the Penarth reply but none went on to make it count as Hiscocks completed a good afternoon with 3 for 13.

Good, tight bowling from Dinas Powys put the chase beyond the bears and they closed at 171 for 6, some 45 shy of victory.

A mid-table finish for Penarth represents a fair return for a good season under Dan Thacker’s leadership.

On Sunday, the first summer of ladies softball cricket in the club’s history drew to a close with a festival at Blackwood Town.

The Penarth side completed their excellent summer with another appearance in a final after defeating the hosts and Upper Rhondda earlier in the day, thanks to some excellent bowling and fielding in particular.

In the final an experienced and talented Radyr side took the title with a narrow 11 run margin, but Penarth’s players again showed their improvement with an excellent showing.

There will be much more to come from this section of the club in 2020.