By Matthew Slugg

PENARTH Cricket Club's excellent form of recent weeks continued once again as they turned in a dominant performance to comfortably defeat Malpas at Bettws Lane on Saturday.

The win made it five straight victories for Penarth who have now moved into third place in the table after overcoming an inconsistent start to the summer.

After a short delay for rain Penarth were asked to bat first and the new opening partnership of Will Skone and Jon Ellis set a solid platform with a stand of 69 in almost 20 overs before Skone was adjudged LBW to Ryan Ward for 17.

Ellis has been in excellent form and made it back-to-back half centuries here, eventually falling to the same bowler for 52 as Penarth reached 108 for 2 at the 30 over stage.

Ben Wellington’s return to batting form continued with a superbly paced 70 off 84 balls and with wickets in hand the Penarth middle order had some license to press on.

Although Tom Sidford went cheaply Jamie Hitchen, Nick Morgan and 18-year-old Greg Cross all made run-a-ball contributions to accelerate their team through the closing overs to an imposing 242 for 6 from their 50 overs with Cross finishing 28 not-out.

The Malpas reply began brightly enough before Wellington chipped in with the ball to remove both openers in the space of three overs to leave the hosts at 28 for 2.

Malpas slipped further behind as Mark Thomas and Richard Skone picked up a wicket apiece and then Will Skone bagged two victims to make it 97 for 6.

A brief recovery for Malpas took their score to 142 before Richard Skone claimed his second wicket and the Malpas tail fell to the extra pace of Morgan Humphreys who wrapped the innings up with 3 for 18 as the Bears secured their victory as they head into the business end of the season.

Back at The Athletic Field the second XI made it a double over Malpas with an even more dominant victory than the first team had managed in a game kindly sponsored by Richard Anderton.

Three wickets apiece for first-change pair Nathan Piddock and Tim Miller put Penarth well on top with the ball and there was no let up as Andrew Graveson, Rhys Mottram and Lewis Ingram also got in on the act as Malpas were swept aside for just 98, Lyndon Bragg offering most resistance with 19.

Penarth began their reply with youngsters Ingram and Kreshay Bharwani and although Ingram fell early his partner made an impressive 31 and Nick Hartley an unbeaten 25 as Penarth took just 17 overs to ease to a seven wicket win and bounce back from the previous week’s disappointment.

There was a return to winning ways for the thirds as well who claimed a hard-earned four wicket win over Llandaff at The Athletic Field in a game sponsored by Stuart Clarke Sports Centre.

Evergreen Mark Frost lead the way with three wickets at the top of the Llandaff innings before 14-year-old left arm spinner Issac Foster bowled an immaculate 8 over spell to claim 2 for 11 and veteran Neil Stephens took 3 for 38 to restrict Llandaff to 144 all out.

James Erasmus and Matt Moss built a solid opening partnership of 62 but Llandaff retained a degree of control and once they had removed the openers picked up another couple of wickets to give Penarth a few nervous moments.

The injection of momentum came from skipper Dan Thacker who made a brisk 39 not out to guide his team past their target with eight balls to spare.

The fourths couldn’t have got closer to making it a clean sweep of wins as they played out a classic game at Cynon Valley which ended in a tie.

Thomas Addiscott and Ieuan Hames both made half centuries for Cynon Valley as the hosts set what looked an imposing 211 for 6 from their 40 overs, with Andrew Prickett taking 2 for 30 and Martin Dennett 1 for 26.

Veterans Ian Summerfield and Keith James gave Penarth a solid start to their reply but the highlight was a first senior half century for 14-year-old Adam Akhtar whose 51, along with 47 for Avinash Mehrotra, put Penarth in solid shape.

Wickets fell as Penarth neared their target and although Martin Dennett made 26 not out he couldn’t quite get his team over the line as they also finished on 211 for 6, an excellent encounter finishing tied.

The highlight of the junior week was a first victory for the club’s fledgling under 12 girls’ team who beat a more experienced Radyr team at Station Road.

The Penarth girls have almost all come to the sport new this summer, inspired by the club’s dynamos programme which has seen more than 80 children of 8-11 years playing the game, many for the first time.

The girls have developed at an incredible rate and followed up with a successful festival appearance at Newport Fugitives on Sunday.

The first team will hope to follow up their excellent form in their trip to Ynystawe on Saturday before heading back west on Sunday for Welsh Cup action against Swansea Civil Service.

The seconds host Newport on Saturday, the thirds visit Miskin and the fourths host Abergavenny.

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.