Cheltenham, Gloucester and Forest of Dean League, Division 2 (West) Penallt & Redbrook (193-4) beat Upton St Leonards 2nd XI (189-6) by six wickets
An old-fashioned smash and grab raid by Guy Adams helped Penallt and Redbrook steal a scintillating last-gasp victory over Upton St Leonards at Pelham Hall on Saturday. The home side's number three batsman scored 95 not out, putting on 79 runs in the final 33 deliveries to get his side over the line with just three balls to spare.
His knock included ten fours and four sixes, with several delays to play to track down balls planted into deep undergrowth, and saw the final overs dispatched for 21, 12, 17, 7, 16 and 9 runs, to conjure victory from what just half an hour earlier had seemed like inevitable defeat.
It made for a remarkable end to a bizarre encounter that had started with Bank Holiday drizzle over Pelham Hall, resulting in an hour's delay to the start, with the game reduced to thirty overs.
Having won the toss, for the first time all season, Penallt and Redbrook's captain Lyndon Jacques cast an eye to the skies and stuck mid-table Upton St Leonards into bat. Ten overs in, it looked like a canny decision, with the score at thirty for two thanks to the skipper taking a brace of top-order wickets from his allotted six overs, finding movement both in the air and off the seam.
However an increasingly wet ball, combined with occasional wayward bowling and some loose mistakes in the field, where five catches were eventually spilled, saw Upton St Leonards seize the upper hand. Their opener Simon Harkin put on a fine 63, before being bowled by Tim Swanson, and with some pugnacious hitting from Join Nixon and Jon Pitt (eventually removed by debutant Cameron Pardington for 33 and Ross Williams for 50), they set a target of 189, at more than a run a ball.
In response, openers Chris Margetts and Tim Swanson kicked off the Penallt and Redbrook innings in positive fashion, putting on 51 runs in the opening ten overs, before perishing in disastrous fashion in the final over of Alan Precce's spell.
First, Margetts top-edged a pull, and was caught by the wicket-keeper for 19. Then Swanson played on for 27, dangling his bat outside off to leave the Upton St Leonards opening bowler with a tidy two for 15 from his 6 overs.
That brought Adams to the crease. He punched his first delivery for four and continued in positive fashion. But while the score ticked over, the required run-rate kept on climbing. By the end of the 21st of their 30 overs, his batting partners Phil Harris and Myles Evill had departed cheaply and Penallt were 97 for 4, staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat.
The game turned when 16-year-old Cameron Pardington came to the crease. Deciding to adopt a "do or die" approach, with just 54 balls left, the batsmen took the attack to the side's spinners, with Pardington's speed between the wickets allowing Adams to farm the strike.
By the time the youngster departed, run out for seven, they had put on 87 runs in eight overs, the game was all but won, and it was off to the Inn at Penallt to celebrate.
Next week, Penallt and Redbrook, who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres, travel to Redmarley. To join them, on what has so far been a memorable summer of cricket, contact Chris.Margetts@hotmail.com.