By Matthew Slugg

THE first half of the South Wales Premier Cricket League season drew to a close this week with Penarth’s bowlers enjoying an excellent weekend to wrap up crucial league and cup wins.

On Saturday the first team made a trip up the Gwent Valleys to face old rivals Newbridge and thanks to a devastating bowling display returned with a comfortable victory after blowing their hosts away with the ball.

After electing to field first new ball pairing Ben Wellington and Tom Sidford wasted no time in putting their mark on proceedings.

They reduced Newbridge to 39 for 7 in the opening 20 overs as skipper Nick Morgan invited the in-form pair to bowl their full allocation at the top of the innings.

Penarth Times:

There were U-11s and U-9s debuts for Ethan and Alexander

Sidford began the carnage in the sixth over, removing Travis Morgan caught behind before Wellington accounted for David Fortune two overs later.

Three wickets in nine balls further cemented Penarth’s excellent start before another two Sidford wickets in his last two overs ensured Newbridge wouldn’t be fighting back, Sidford claiming four victims and Wellington three.

There was a brief respite for the hosts as the Penarth spinners entered the attack.

But it wouldn’t last long as Mark Thomas claimed the wicket of Elliott Jenkins for a battling 21, before the same man executed the run out of Scott Greaves and then brought the innings to a close with the wicket of James Horton, Newbridge having amassed just 69 runs from 30 overs.

Penarth Times:

Ben Wellington in action

Penarth lost George Hatfield early in their reply with Ben Wellington and Jack Thomas following, as James Morgan collected two wickets, but any hopes of a Newbridge fightback would be short-lived.

Although Nitin Mathias also lost his wicket Sidford, 26 not out, and Jamie Hitchen, 12 not-out, steered Penarth to their target with the small matter of 25 overs and six wickets in hand.

There was disappointment for both seconds and thirds whose opposition were unable to raise teams, no doubt influenced by the prospect of football action from Amsterdam.

The great irony of this was that both Penarth teams who did have opposition managed to be in the bar in time for kick off having wrapped up early victories.

The second of these was claimed by Andy Prickett’s fourth team who comfortably swept aside Rogerstone seconds at The Athletic Field.

Batting first, Penarth were indebted to under 15 pair Adam Akhtar and Luke Summerfield who added 98 for the fourth wicket after Penarth had initially been reduced to 47 for 3.

Akhtar fell just short of his half century for 47, but his partner managed to reach the milestone, eventually being dismissed for 53 as they helped their team to 182 for 7, Neil Stephens making 15 not out at the end.

Despite 47 for opener Jiffin Kalliyath the Rogerstone reply never got going as Avinash Mehrotra bagged 5 for 45 with the new ball, aided by the third of the youngsters, Isaac Foster, with two wickets of his own.

Stephens and Prickett soon brought things to a conclusion, Rogerstone managing just 99, a win for the Bears by 83 runs.

On Sunday Penarth took a much-changed line-up to the unfamiliar surroundings of Llandaff Fields for a Welsh Cup tie against Sully Spartans. And despite the changes the outcome was much like Saturday’s as the bowling unit set up a routine victory with another ruthless display.

Mark Thomas was the pick of the bowlers, collecting 5 for 41, while debutant Rhys Mottram claimed two wickets and Will Skone and Wellington one apiece as the final six Spartans wickets added just 19 runs, their team collapsing to 97 all out.

Hatfield and Hitchen broke the back of the reply with an opening stand of 75 and although both men were dismissed with the finishing-line in sight Wellington and Greg Cross saw their team home and through to a fourth-round tie in July.

Both first and second teams face Cowbridge this week, with the firsts on home soil. The third team will visit Creigiau while the fourths host Crumlin.

On Sunday there is friendly action at The Athletic Field with Great Western the visitors.

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.