By Matthew Slugg

THERE was disappointment for Penarth’s cricketers this weekend as visitors Clydach stayed in the hunt for promotion to Premier Division 1 with a comprehensive victory at the Athletic Field.

Making the most of winning a favourable toss, the Swansea Valley side dominated the game to stay neck and neck with Chepstow at the head of the table while Penarth remain in fourth position after the weekend’s games.

After the week of blazing sun had broken to Saturday morning showers Clydach unsurprisingly chose to field first and claimed the early wickets of father and son openers Richard and Will Skone to the bowling of Jack Todd, followed by the wicket of Ben Wellington to leave Penarth 20 for 3.

Penarth Times:

Nick Morgan cuts

The hosts task was then made no easier by a lengthy rain delay which not only disrupted their innings but also reduced it from 50 to 43 overs when play resumed an hour and a half later.

Penarth built slowly after the delay but lost Nick Morgan to a run-out and after a brief partnership between Nitin Mathias and Greg Cross another flurry of wickets left them at 78 for 8, with no prospect of repeating the lower order fightback seen at Ynystawe a week ago.

Nick Hartley made a brisk unbeaten 22 to take Penarth into three figures but the innings closed with Penarth having reached just 103 for 9.

Any hopes of causing an upset relied on early wickets in the Clydach reply but Jason and Sam Davies navigated the early stages well despite a miserly spell with the new ball from Richard Skone and they had reached 72 when Mark Thomas finally made the breakthrough with the wicket of Jason Davies for 23.

His opening partner fell soon after for 44, bowled by Will Skone, but there was to be no drama as Clydach got home in 30 overs for the loss of just the openers.

A superb unbeaten 64 from opener James Erasmus paved the way for a crucial second team victory at league leaders Cardiff which puts Penarth right in the hunt for the second XI title.

Fielding first, Penarth made a perfect start when Rhys McGowan found the edge of Daniel Herbert’s bat with his very first ball, before trapping Sheikh LBW, while Tom Pascoe accounted for Daniel Quick to leave Cardiff at 27 for 3.

Cardiff rebuilt steadily to 95 for 3 before Neil Stephens bagged 3 wickets to put Penarth in charge again.

Further wickets for Rhys Mottram and Tom Pascoe made Penarth’s position stronger and despite a few lusty blows at the end of the innings Cardiff’s 179 for 9 always looked under par.

Erasmus set the platform for the reply, well supported by Gareth Jenkins with 18 and Jamie Hitchen with 40 as Penarth looked to be cruising to victory at 130 for 1.

Hitchen’s wicket precipitated a middle order wobble, but Stephens completed an excellent day’s work with 14 not-out as Penarth eased to victory by 5 wickets with 8 overs to spare.

The third team faced league leaders Bay Dragons at the Athletic Field and were comprehensively beaten after Michael Primus’s century and 68 not out from Vishal Purohit helped the Dragons to a huge 281 for 4 with only Navan Kathir and Mark Frost able to exert any control for Penarth.

The Penarth reply never threatened the target and although Matt Moss, Nick Viner and Adam Akhtar all made starts four consecutive ducks at the end of the innings meant that the Dragons eventual victory margin was a massive 157 runs.

For the second week in a row the fourth team managed to win a final over chase with nine wickets down in a dramatic match at Porth.

Alex Lean bagged three wickets and Avinash Mehrotra and Luke Dennett two each as Penarth restricted Porth to 151 for 9, Jonny Hill top scoring with 60 for the Rhondda club.

Ian Summerfield and Nathaniel Fox began the reply with 20 and 21 and Mehrotra made 30 as Penarth edged towards their target. In the middle order Ryan Way made a quick 29 but a flurry of late wickets meant that Martin Dennett was left to guide his team home with an unbeaten 24 with just two balls of the match remaining.

League fixtures move to Sunday this week to avoid a clash with The Hundred fixture in Cardiff on Saturday with the first team facing another tough game at league leaders Chepstow. The seconds host St Fagans, the thirds visit Ton Pentre and the fourths welcome Monmouth.

The final matches of the regular junior season take place 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.