THE 2020 cricket season finally drew to a close this weekend with another four Penarth teams in action as the late summer sun shone once again.

Restrictions coming into place around other parts of Wales meant a late rearrangement of fixtures was necessary and a hastily arranged intra-club fixture involving first and second teams – the Over 30s versus the Under 30s – took pride of place on Saturday.

And it proved to be a highly entertaining way to end the season with the dry conditions seeing some excellent cricket and 511 runs scored in a game that went down to the wire.

Batting first, Jon Ellis set the tone for the Elder Statesmen in hammering the first two balls of the day to the boundary before both he and opening partner James Erasmus fell to the teenage new ball pairing of Lewis Ingram and Aaron Noormohamed.

Richard Skone and Nick Morgan steadied the ship, Skone enjoying the better of the father and son battle with Will before Tom Pascoe picked up the wicket of Morgan for 40 and young off-spinner Rhys Mottram accounted for Skone for 45.

With the innings finely balanced at 132 for 4 Tom Sidford took centre-stage with a blistering 90 not out in just 13 overs, featuring five sixes, while Nathan Piddock offered excellent support with his own unbeaten 45 that took the senior side towards an impressive 261 for 4 from 40 overs.

Naman Taneja wasted no time in getting the youngsters’ reply off to a flying start with a series of boundaries off Andrew Graveson and Tim Miller before attempting one too many off the latter and being caught at mid-on.

Jamie Hitchen continued to force the issue as the junior side pressed on but as Piddock and Skone applied some mid-innings pressure Hitchen scooped Skone to mid-wicket and was dismissed for 49.

Amari Ebbin and Will Skone both fell to Richard Skone as the over-30s looked to press home their advantage, and Huw Hudson became Neil Stephens’ only victim, while at the other end Ben Wellington looked to be the only hope for the youngsters.

Wellington passed 50 in measured style, but as Cameron Jeffers joined him with his usual energy the youngsters looked to be back in the contest.

Some excellent running and positive stroke play saw the pair take the game towards the final overs in the balance as Wellington took himself to his first century in Penarth colours in terrific style.

Andrew Graveson returned to the attack with three excellent overs under pressure as the seniors asserted themselves again and Jeffers fell for 28, run out attempting to steal a single, leaving Wellington with a superb 115 not out but not quite able to bring home the victory - the Over 30s winning by just 10 runs in an excellent way to conclude their season.

A mixed third and fourth team were well beaten at Lisvane following a disappointing batting performance despite performing well with the ball. There were early wickets for Mark Frost and Adam Akhtar as Lisvane toiled before Ashleigh Crowter,35, and David Flynn, 46, fought back for the home side.

Isaac Foster, Nathaniel Fox and Sarvpreet Singh bagged a brace of wickets apiece and Frost returned to bag a third while the experienced Nye Brown made a quickfire 44 for Lisvane as they closed at 187 in the final over.

The Penarth reply never got off the ground as Lisvane turned the screw from the first over. Rhys Leach and Usman Ashraf added a string of maidens at the top of the innings and Penarth never recovered.

Sarvpreet Singh managed 23 for Penarth but no other batsmen made any impression at all and Penarth could only manage a disappointing 96 for 9 from their 40 overs, defeated by 91 runs.

On Sunday another Lisvane team were the club’s final opponents for 2020 in a friendly at the Athletic Field. A Penarth XI featuring representation from all four senior and two junior teams fielded first in the batting-friendly conditions and found the going tough as openers Yacoub Masken and Usman Ashraf made 35 apiece to set the platform for their side.

Kreshay Bharwani managed two wickets for Penarth and Luke Summerfield another while Josh Masih made 36 and Nye Brown 26 as Lisvane pressed on. Adam Akhtar returned to take two wickets and Richard Skone managed another two as Lisvane closed at 172 for 7.

Penarth lost Amari Ebbin and David Cleverley to the bowling of Andrews early on before Huw Hudson made an excellent retired-half-century to put Penarth in the hunt.

Lisvane took control again as Masih took 2 for 15 and Harris 4 for 38 to leave youngsters Adam Akhtar, 24 not out, and Isaac Foster, 19, too much to do in the closing overs.

When wickets did fall Skone and Hudson couldn’t get Penarth over the line and as the shadows lengthened across the Athletic Field Lisvane held on for a victory by 12 runs.

And so ended a cricket season like no other.

The club has managed to complete a remarkable 47 senior fixtures since late July despite it looking for a long time as though no cricket at all would be possible.

Dozens of children from 4 to 16 have been involved in the game, more senior players have pulled on Penarth colours than ever before and the community has rallied around the club in a remarkable way.

Making cricket happen this year has taken a tremendous amount of work and the club is hugely grateful to all who have played their part – volunteers, players, coaches, officials, opponents and sponsors.

We all hope for a very different 2021, but 2020 has certainly left its mark.