Will this village cricket tail wag?

IF IAN Botham can manage four Weetabix for breakfast, how many Penalt batsmen will he account for by tea?

And will the tail of this talented village team wag if it's facing a mopping-up operation from Graham Dilley?

Put it another way – Will Graham Hick score a six every time a Penalt bowler bounces one his way?

These are not rhetorical questions. Indeed, they are exercising the minds of many a Penalt player at the moment.

When the Monmouth village side face the Worcestershire county Cricket Club on Sunday July 22 in the match to inaugurate the new village pitch, there will he some players thanking their stars the captain has dropped them for this occasion.

Competition to stay out of the team may be as fierce as that to be selected, and rumour has it that St John's Ambulencemen may well be in attendance.

But it Is to be hoped that they will not be the only spectators. While Penalt will be celebrating the years of hard work which went into findIng, funding and creating the pitch, Worcestershire will be honouring coach Basil D'Oliveira in his testimonial year, to mark his 25 years of service with the club.

The club will produce a souvenir programme, sponsored by both local and national companies, to mark the big day, which promises to be a fitting start to the Penalt club's second century.

Penalt is a small scattered village of approximately 150 houses, three miles south of Monmouth. The cricket club dates back to the 1890s and the club has scorebrooks in its possession which are pre-First World War.

The descendants of many of the players in those scorebooks still live in the village.

The club ground was dug up during the Second World War for production of vegetables and when the club was re-formed six years ago, matches were played in the grounds of Moorcroft House.

The club now has its own ground and the purchase and construction of a new cricket pitch has just been completed with aid from the Sports Council for Wales.

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David all set to meet Goliath in to-the-death tussle!

It's a case of David and Goliath when a tiny Wyedean village side that's just six years old takes on the might of County Champions Worcestershire in a few weeks' time.

When Penallt cricket club chiefs wanted to "christen" their new pitch, they reckoned a big name "draw" wouId do the trick. Some wag suggested Worcestershire—and the reigning County champions surprised everyone in the 150-home village three miles south of Monmouth when they said "sure, count us in".

Now, says club secretary Patrick Moriarty, "...competition to stay out of the team is as fierce as that to be selected, and we reckon some players will be thanking their lucky stars they've been dropped on this occasion!"

Though the village has a long tradition of cricket—with score books in its possession dating back to the turn of the century - the cricket club effectively ceased during  the second world war when its pitch was dug up for vegetable production.

It was only reformed six years ago, matches played in the grounds of Moorcroft House, and the last three years have been
devoted to raising enough cash to construct its own pitch—with cash aid from The Sports Council for Wales, The Lords Taverners, Monmouth Borough Council and Gwent County Council.

And, they say, Worcestershire's visit in coach Basil d'Oliveira's testimonial year is the highlight of the club's history.

The historic match has been datelined for July 22nd when Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales and Chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board, Ossie Wheatley will present a cheque for £12,000 to the club.

Wydean World