By Matthew Slugg

AFTER the longest of close seasons, a 2020 cricket season that long looked as though it would never happen finally got under way on Saturday.

For Penarth it marked the first opportunity to mark the passing of two club stalwarts who sadly died during the spring, club President Graham Crimp and former club captain Peter Goodfellow. A minute’s silence preceded all games this weekend and the club sends its condolences to the families of both men who are missed tremendously by everyone at the club and across Welsh cricket.

The previous week’s announcement that cricket could resume paved the way for some hastily arranged friendlies, with St Fagans offering perfect opposition for both first and second teams. Some entertaining cricket was possible before the Welsh weather remembered its lines and brought rain shortly after tea in both games.

The first team travelled to the reigning Premier League champions and found themselves in the field in a 40 over encounter. A youthful Penarth made a good fist of things against some high quality batsmen and aided by two useful run-outs restricted the hosts to 190 for 8. Youngsters Rhys Mcgowan and Tom Pascoe did a fine job on new ball duty, Mcgowan taking 1 for 32 while fellow teenagers Steffan Crimp and Will Skone managed a wicket apiece before veteran Mark Thomas weighted in with 3 for 35 to complete a solid performance for the bears.

Things were somewhat tougher with the bat as former Bear Oliver Pike took three early wickets including debutant Amari Ebbin as the rain closed in. When the inevitable abandonment came Penarth were 48 for 5, with Richard Skone unbeaten on 6, as the rain continued into the evening.

At Penarth, the visitors batted first and looked well set for a testing target with the home attack finding wickets hard to come by. Another former Penarthian, Benji Mulcahy made a half century for the Stags while Ethan Mulcahy, Lewis Ingram, Rhys Mottram and Morgan Crimp bowled tightly for Penarth. Neil Stephens was his usual miserly self towards the death as some good work in the field restricted St Fagans to 173 for 6.

As the skies darkened Alex Langrish and James Erasmus got the Penarth reply off to an excellent start with some judicious stroke play. Langrish eventually lost his wicket but the Bears had moved to a healthy 75 for 1 before the rains came.

A very youthful third and fourth eleven, featuring just two ‘senior’ faces, faced a more experienced Newport team and were always up against it as the visitors ran out comfortable winners.

There were no such weather problems the following day at Barry as the two clubs celebrated the life of Peter Goodfellow in the company of Peter’s family and many former players as two of his former teams met at the Island.

Following a moment’s reflection and speeches, Penarth began inauspiciously as a clatter of wickets left them in trouble and It took useful contributions from the experienced trio of Peter Docherty, Nick Morgan and Robert Crimp to steer them to a handy 197 for 8.

The Barry reply was always competitive with Nawan Jay and Wesley Baker in starring roles, while Rob and Morgan Crimp, Neil Stephens and Tom Parkinson shared the wickets. The match ebbed and flowed and came down to 23 required from the final two overs at which point the Penarth catching let them down and the winning runs came with one ball and one wicket to spare to complete a fittingly entertaining match. No Penarth trip to the island is complete without a dip in the Whitmore Bay waters and the Penarth team duly obliged.

This weekend sees a return to four Saturday fixtures, highlight of which is the firsts hosting Blackwood. The seconds head to Crumlin while thirds and fourths face Dinas Powys.

The club would like to extend its gratitude to David Baker and Co. and all our sponsors whose support is invaluable in these times.