By Matthew Slugg

NITIN Mathias took his sparkling second team form into first team action this weekend and laid the foundation for an excellent win over Carmarthen as Penarth enjoyed their best batting day for some time.

A centurion in the seconds a week ago, Mathias made a superb 81 on his first team recall as Penarth posted an excellent 245 for 8, before the bowling unit did the rest as Penarth wrapped a comprehensive 60 run win.

After the early wickets of Jon Ellis and Ben Wellington to Tom Davies, Mathias found himself in the middle at 19 for 2 with his team under real pressure.

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The club's first ever girls' team 

Penarth nerves were eased somewhat as he and Jack Thomas added 51 for the third wicket before the wicket of Thomas for 35 brought Tom Sidford to the middle.

Mathias and Sidford gradually picked up the tempo in a stand of 118 with both batsmen passing 50 as Penarth moved into a great position.

Sidford eventually became Davies’ third victim for 63, but the wicket brought little respite for Carmarthen as Nick Morgan moved quickly though the gears.

Having taken the score past 200 Mathias eventually fell for 81, but Morgan’s excellent recent form continued with 35 off just 16 balls, the Penarth captain falling just before the end of the innings as his team posted an impressive 245 for 8.

The Carmarthen reply began poorly as Lewis Byng edged Wellington to Sidford without scoring before Davies and Robbie Crawford fell within a run of each other to leave the visitors at 45 for 3. Although Gareth Thomas and Owain Davies added 86 for the fourth wicket progress was slow against the Penarth spin attack and an away win looked unlikely even before three wickets fell for just two runs, the introduction of paceman Morgan Humphreys paying dividends with two wickets in his opening over.

There were also three wickets for the off-spin of Will Skone but despite their control Penarth couldn’t quite secure the final bonus point as Carmarthen finished at 185 for 8, a comfortable and welcome victory for Penarth.

Despite seeing Mathias elevated to the first team and Lewis Ingram on international hockey duty there was no let-up in the second team’s batting form as Jamie Hitchen dominated their trip to face Neath at The Gnoll.

Having been invited to bat, Hitchen made the most of the excellent pitch to blast a brutal 154 not out as Penarth posted a mammoth 311 for 2 from their 45 overs to set up the most routine of victories.

A slightly rearranged batting line-up lost Tashaffi Shams early on but never looked back once Hitchen joined skipper Gareth Jenkins in an enormous partnership.

Jenkins eventually retired hurt for 61 and Greg Cross made a lively 31 but it was all about Hitchen who went on to pass the 150-mark for the first time and send his own reminder to the first team skipper of the depth available to him.

Neath never threatened to make a game of it as Andrew Graveson grabbed three early wickets and Nathan Piddock another before Rhys Mottram, Tom Pascoe, Kreshay Bharwarni and Cross mopped up to secure victory by 127 runs.

There was less to shout about further down the club as both third and fourth teams were well beaten.

Nick Hartley made a superb 84 not out for a depleted third team but only Conrad Adams with 17 could join him in double figures as they were restricted to a disappointing 151 for 8 versus Llantwit Fardre.

A Penarth revival looked on the cards as the visitors were reduced to 88 for 6 as Tony Evans, Nick Viner and Neil Stephens bagged a brace of wickets apiece but they couldn’t press their advantage home as an unbeaten stand between Navneet Saraiya and Alex Langford guided Llantwit home with seven overs in hand, although Penarth do stay at the top of division 7.

In division 9, Newport Fugitives posted a useful 255 for 4 as Penarth fourths toiled in the field, despite two wickets for Avinash Mehrotra.

Dan Grosfils made 49 in the Penarth reply, and Ian Summerfield 30, but the target was never really threatened as Penarth closed at 181 for 6.

The highlight of the junior week was a nail-biting U13 Welsh Cup tie where visitors Maesteg Celtic secured victory by just a single run in a classic contest where Penarth couldn’t quite secure the three runs they needed from the final ball to secure a thrilling win and place in the regional final.

There was also a significant first for the club who fielded a girls’ U12 soft-ball team for the very first time, as Lisvane visited the Athletic Field on Wednesday.

This is a significant milestone for the club, further cementing their position as a significant and thriving part of the local sports community.

Such was the success that two teams will take the field this week.

Both first and second teams face Newbridge this week, with the firsts at home. The third team will visit Monkswood while the fourths host Rogerstone.

On Sunday, the first team will face Sully Spartans at Llandaff Fields in the Welsh Cup round 2.

There is a full list of junior matches in midweek while ladies’ softball cricket training continues at 5.30pm on Friday with all welcome, regardless of experience.

You can keep up with the action by following the club on Twitter and Instagram (@penarthcricket) and Facebook.

The club would like to extend their thanks to sponsors David Baker and Co, Curo, Churngold and Quilter Financial Advisers for their continued support.