Cheltenham, Gloucester and Forest of Dean League, Division One (west): Penallt & Redbrook (155/4) lost to Huntley (211/4) by 56 runs.
Summer holiday season left the cricketers of Penallt & Redbrook in a laid-back mood on Saturday as comically inept fielding handed Huntley an easy victory at Pelham Hall.
The local village dropped a staggering seven catches, and managed to hold onto the grand total of zero, during a surreal first innings that allowed the visiting batsmen to accumulate a match-winning total of 211 from their 40 overs
Setting the ragged tone, Penallt even conspired to drop Huntley’s opening batsmen Richard Bowman off the very first ball of the day, putting down a regulation chance at extra cover, from a mis-timed drive.
The culprit, who for reasons of charity shall remain nameless, was still tying his jumper around his waist when Penallt’s opening bowler Lyndon Jacques chuntered up to the crease.
Having committed that schoolboy howler, saving Bowman from the humiliation of a diamond duck, he would spill another sitter from his own bowling roughly half an hour later.
By that time, both Bowman and his batting partner Ed Edgington (who between them were dropped five times by a varied cast of inept characters, including this writer) were well on their way to lofty scores of 50 and 87 respectively.
Huntley’s number three, John Williams, later cashed in on the home team’s generosity by clocking up an unbeaten 45 after being shelled twice early on during his innings.
It was, all told, a woeful fielding performance on an afternoon that had begun with a moment of promise when Huntley lost the toss and were put into bat on a slow wicket that, like much of the outfield, had seen heavy rain during the week.
Penallt’s logic was that those conditions would make scoring tough early on, but that a drying wicket would allow their batsmen to enjoy the best of the surface in the second innings.
To a degree, it was a successful bet: some solid bowling on a damp pitch meant that a variety of mis-timed shots went airborne. But with fielders’ minds on the proverbial deckchairs, chance after chance was left untaken.
Jacques went for just 13 runs from his eight overs, but was denied a single scalp, despite several chances. Ross Williams, who deserved at least three wickets from his spell, had to make do with a single wicket, taking Bowman’s stumps away with a well-flighted Yorker. Seam bowler Cameron Pardington and spinner Geoff Eaves stuck to their guns gamely.
Only a fortunate run-out on the final ball of the innings gave Penallt, who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres, something to cheer: the fall of the fourth wicket meant they gained a second bonus point that all-but guarantees them safety from relegation, having won five of their 12 completed games so far.
Shortly after tea, Penallt’s plight worsened. Opener Tim Swanson fell early to Huntley’s John Green, who showed the players in the pavilion how it’s done by snaffling an easy caught-and-bowled.
A 20 over stand by Chris Margetts and Guy Adams took the score to 100, and for a time raised hopes of an unlikely victory. But when Adams holed out to deep midwicket on 49, there were still 100 runs required from the final dozen overs. Six of them were to be bowled by Edgington, who would take one for 15 in eight overs of classy off-break bowling and was the pick of Huntley’s attack.
Margetts then conspired to run out Cameron Lee before being caught and bowled by Edgington two runs shy of his half century, ending any chance of a successful chase.
Penallt finished on 155, with Richard Waterstone and Phil Harris undefeated on 15 and 7 respectively, before retiring to the Inn at Penallt to lick their wounds.
This Saturday, the local village travel to high-flying Aston Ingham, who have won 11 of their 16 games so far. But first comes Thursday night’s net session, at which there will be a great deal of catching practice.
19 August 2017