Cheltenham, Gloucester & Forest of Dean Division 2 (West). Penallt & Redbrook (176/2) beat Cinderford St John 2nd XI (175) by eight wickets.
Penallt and Redbrook’s topsy-turvy summer is firmly back on track following a comprehensive and much-needed dismantling of old rivals Cinderford.
The village XI out-bowled, out-batted and out-hustled their opponents on Saturday to end a run of four straight league defeats which had left them hovering precariously above the league relegation zone.
It was a fighting performance from the very first ball, when Penallt’s paceman Matt Spoor struck Cinderford’s Stephen Say on the forearm, after extracting some unexpected bounce from the drying pitch.
Both openers struggled to cope with Spoor’s zip and could have fallen several times before each was cleaned up, in almost identical fashion, by in-swinging leg stump Yorkers straight from the coaching manual.
Wickets from medium pacers Richard Waterstone and Kamaal Mitha, who both bowled short but effective spells, then put Cinderford firmly on the rocks, and by the half-way point of the innings the home side were struggling at 72 for five.
While a characteristically tidy spell of spin from Geoff Eaves, who took two for 20 from his eight overs, kept the run-rate in check, big-hitting all-rounder, Chris Jackson managed to add some respectability to proceedings in the middle spell, cutting loose to score a valuable sixty.
His pugnacious efforts, plus a series of flashy boundaries from tail ender Mark Weaver, who helped add 14 in the final over, helped Cinderford head into tea with 175 runs in the bank.
The target was almost certainly under-par, but it nonetheless presented something of a mental hurdle to Penallt, who have lost several league matches this season by failing to chase down perfectly winnable totals.
Nerves were hardly helped in the second over of the reply when trainee doctor Spoor was dropped in the slips after deciding to waft at a ball outside his off-stump.
He and Penallt skipper Graham Hyde took that as a warning to knuckle down, and added 46 in a watchful opening 13 overs, before Spoor was bowled by Cinderford’s John Whitney.
That brought Liam Hurcombe to the crease, who immediately cut loose, doubling the score in the next six overs. By the time Hyde had perished in the deep, caught on 57, the visitors needed a mere sixty more runs and were scoring freely.
Hurcombe, who finished not out on 64, and Mitha then finished off the run chase in style taking Penallt across the line in just 31 overs and restoring much needed confidence to the side’s batsmen.
On Saturday, Penallt, who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres, will attempt to repeat the trip at Pelham Hall, where they face league strugglers Huntley at 1.30pm.