Cheltenham, Gloucester & Forest of Dean Division 1 (West). Penallt & Redbrook (214/3) beat Cinderford St John 2nd XI (158/3) by 56 runs
An unbeaten century from captain Graham Hyde powered Penallt and Redbrook to their eighth straight victory in the final home game of another sparkling summer at Pelham Hall.
The village skipper batted for the entire first innings, thwacking 14 fours and two sixes to record the club’s first three-figure score of a season in which they are set to record their highest league position for six years.
His cultured and at times very stubborn knock helped Penallt and Redbrook to a highly-competitive total of 214, in a game that had been trimmed to 35 overs due to Bank Holiday rain.
It was all too much for Cinderford, who needed to score at a run a ball to keep pace during their reply, but were kept firmly in check by disciplined bowling - and eventually fell fifty runs short.
By then, the visitors were showing signs of fatigue, having originally lost control of the game during the early exchanges of Penallt’s innings when sloppy fielding meant some half-chances to remove the man-of-the-match went begging.
Their mood was not improved when a couple of tight umpiring calls - one a run out, the other an LBW – also went the way of the batting side during the first ten overs.
In the grand tradition of village cricket, Cinderford responded with all the bonhomie of a dozing tiger who has been poked through the bars of his cage by a child wielding a sharp stick.
Rather than drawing strength from perceived adversity, they let it be their undoing – and at times seemed to devote as much energy to complaining about umpiring as they did to the game in hand.
Their frustration was perhaps heightened by the fact that, having won the toss, they’d decided to make Penallt bat in an effort to make the most of damp and overcast conditions that seemed likely to aid both spin and swing.
However Hyde and fellow opener Guy Adams put on 80 runs for the first wicket, seeing off all of their front-line bowlers before Adams was caught behind chasing a wide ball from Stephen Say down the leg side in the 18th over.
That brought free-swing Liam Hurcombe to the crease, who scored 57 in short order before being stumped while attempting to hit a lofted delivery from Mark Roberts in the general direction of Trellech.
By then the score had reached 170, with seven overs left to play and Hyde taking runs at will. Debutant Aubrey Stubbs added a cultured 13 not out to take the score past 200 by the close.
Cinderford’s chances of chasing that down rested firmly on the shoulders of opener Say, who showed potential to make a big score during a fifty run opening stand. But some athletic fielding, including several brave stops by 14-year-old Otto Kilner, ensured that they were always behind the required run rate.
Once Say and his partner Peter Hoare had been removed by Penallt’s fast bowler Matt Spoor, the game was up. Tight spells from Lyndon Jacques, who took one for 18 in seven overs, and Ross Williams, who went for just twenty from six, kept their foot on the jugular.
Next week’s season finale sees Penallt and Redbrook, who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres, travel to relegation-threatened Huntley, where they hope to secure a creditable third place finish in the league.