Cheltenham, Gloucester & Forest of Dean Division 2 (West). Penallt & Redbrook (93/8) lost to Redmarley 2nd XI (96/6) by four wickets.
The toss of a coin and a sticky wicket left Penallt and Redbrook facing an uphill struggle on Saturday, and despite putting up a gutsy fight, they fell just short of upsetting a strong Redmarley side who have lost just once this season.
Heavy thunderstorms had soaked the Gloucestershire ground over previous days, and with the outfield still damp and the pitch low and slow, the odds were always likely to favour the team that batted second, in drying conditions.
Having been put into bat, Penallt’s opening stand duly lasted fewer than 18 balls, with Chris Margetts clean bowled for a duck after playing down the wrong line.
Skipper Graham Hyde and number three batsman Tim Swanson then looked to consolidate, but tight bowling meant slow progress, with the opening ten overs yielding a mere 18 runs.
After deciding to nudge the scoring rate along, Swanson was bowled for 19 by Sam Phillips, the first of 5 for the off spinner.
That brought Penallt debutant Kamaal Mitha to the wicket. An elegant left-hander, he immediately looked at home after a 10 year break from the game, but chipped a delivery that stopped in the pitch straight to cover for 7.
When Hyde was well caught shortly afterwards, it signalled a middle-order collapse, leaving the visitors on 61/6.
An early finished
seemed to be on the cards, but the Penallt total was given some respectability
as another debutant, 15 year old Charlie Weldon, came to the wicket and gave an
excellent lesson to older players about playing straight and waiting for the
bad ball. When joined by Geoff Eaves, the oldest and youngest members of the
team proceeded to add 30 valuable runs as Penallt closed on 93/8.
Redmarley’s openers were watchful in their response as, once again, miserly bowling and tight work in the field kept runs at a premium. Eventually, a frustrated Daniel Phillips skied one off Hyde, producing an excellent catch that was taken on the run by Charlie Weldon
That was to be the last wicket for some time as the batsmen began to pierce the field. But thinking that it might be young Weldon’s day, the skipper threw him the ball and he immediately began to cause problems bowling an excellent line and moving the ball away.
Reward came when opener Mark Stockley caught behind, leaving Redmarley on 30/2 after 15 overs. Shortly afterwards, the dangerous Ian Gerken was caught superbly by Chris Margetts at short cover, before Penallt’s Ross Williams took a fourth.
Sensing an upset,
Redmarley’s running between the wickets became panicky, and when Margetts came
back to complete his spell and promptly got two in quick succession, Penallt
sensed that they may be able to pull off a unlikely victory, with only 4 overs
to go, 14 runs still needed, and a pair of
tail enders at the crease.
Hope was, however, extinguished by Steve Phillips, Redmarley’s number eight batsman, who decided not to die wondering and immediately hit a 6 followed by a four to win the match.
Penallt and Redbrook’s, who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres, are hoping for better luck – not to mention a winning coin toss - at home on Saturday, against Lydney 3rds. All welcome.