By Matthew Slugg

AFTER starting the season rather slowly Penarth have certainly moved into a fine run of form recently and collected their fourth consecutive league and cup win on Saturday with a comprehensive victory over Cowbridge in the South Wales Premier League.

Once Penarth had set the visitors a target of 238 after a well-paced innings the bowlers did the rest, removing any hopes of a Cowbridge win with five wickets inside the first 15 overs before completing the win by 103 runs.

Having been invited to bat first after morning rain, and with the prospect of more to come, Penarth lost Jack Thomas in the third over off the bowling of Rhys Davies before Jon Ellis and Ben Wellington settled in for a mammoth second wicket partnership.

The pair navigated the tricky conditions well, in addition to two rain delays, and eventually increased the tempo of the innings with shots all around the ground.

Penarth Times:

Will Skone gives chase

It took until the 43rd over for the second wicket to fall, Ellis falling to Samuel Thomas for an excellent 67 with the score at 163.

The wicket brought an alteration to the Penarth order with the search for quick runs and Tom Sidford set about the task with relish in hitting four huge sixes on his way to an unbeaten 45.

Wellington fell for 82, a welcome return to form, and Nick Morgan joined Sidford to make a quick unbeaten 15 as Penarth accelerated in the closing overs to make 237 for 2.

Wellington and Sidford continued where they had left off with the new ball in hand and Wellington made Cowbridge’s task even hard with the early wickets of the dangerous pair of Tom Merilaht and Ben Wright with the total in single figures.

Sidford was soon in on the act, an excellent Will Skone catch accounting for Aman Gandhi and then Chris Willey presenting Wellington with a catch. 15 for 4 became 25 for 5 as the returning Nathan Piddock collected his first wicket of the summer and then 16 year-old league debutant Rhys Mottram bagged his first victim in the Premier league thanks to a smart catch from keeper Llyr Morris.

Piddock, Skone and Wellington collected further wickets to make it 77 for 9 before Davies and Russell made a nuisance of themselves with a tenth wicket partnership of 55 as the rain fell again.

The stand was enough of a frustration for the skipper to throw the ball to Jon Ellis and the move paid dividends as his additional flight lured Davies down the track to his fifth ball and Morris completed a routine stumping to confirm the large winning margin.

In the reverse fixture there was a major setback for the title-chasing second team who threw away what looked like a winning position as strugglers Cowbridge bagged an unlikely three-wicket win.

The day began well for Penarth, despite being asked to bat first, as Matt Moss and Gareth Jenkins added 69 for the first wicket, before useful contributions from Greg Cross and Huw Hudson helped their side to 213 all out despite something of a late order collapse.

Rhys McGowan bagged two early wickets in the reply before four wickets for veteran spinner Neil Stephens and one for Tim Miller reduced Cowbridge to 99 for 7 and what looked like a routine Penarth win.

They had reckoned without the experience of Matt Smart however, who found an impressive partner in Will Harris to first bat their team into contention and then complete the job with an over to spare, Smart making 80 not out and his young partner an unbeaten 32.

At Creigiau, the third team were also invited to bat first and in difficult conditions and made 143 for 8 from a reduced 36 overs with only Nick Viner able to master the conditions with a well-made 67 not out, while Conrad Adams retired hurt for 22.

Despite early wickets to David Harrison and Julien Humphreys Penarth couldn’t put the hosts under enough pressure and Creigiau guided themselves past the target for the loss of four wickets and with two overs to spare.

Meanwhile the fourth team suffered double disappointment as their Saturday opponents conceded their fixture before Sunday’s friendly versus Bay Dragons was washed out by early afternoon rain.

The first team will hope to follow up their excellent form in their trip to Malpas on Saturday while the seconds host the same opponents, the thirds play host to Llandaff and the fourths visit Cynon Valley.

There is a full list of junior matches in midweek while ladies’ softball cricket training continues at 5.30pm on Fridays 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 its thanks to sponsors David Baker and Co, Curo, Churngold and Quilter Financial Advisers for their continued support.