Cheltenham, Gloucester & Forest of Dean Division 1 (West). Penallt & Redbrook (87/4) beat Huntley (82) by six wickets
The season ended with a masterclass from Penallt and Redbrook’s frontline bowlers, capping a glorious summer when they have torn through several of West Gloucestershire’s sharpest batting line-ups.
Opener Lyndon Jacques took a wicket in each of his first three overs while pace-man Matt Spoor flattened the stumps twice in three balls at the very start of his spell to immediately place the local village in total control of Saturday’s final league fixture.
With spin bowler Geoff Eaves bagging two more early wickets, the victims, Huntley, were at one point reeling on 37 for 7 after just eleven overs. Though they staged a recovery of sorts, to add another 45 runs, the game was by then largely over as a meaningful contest.
The stonking victory was Penallt and Redbrook’s eighth on the trot, meaning they finish 2018 third in the league, their highest finish for seven years, and are unbeaten since mid-June.
Plans started to come together from the second ball, when Jacques drew the home team’s opener Richard Bowman into nicking a ball close to off stump into the deep gloves of wicketkeeper Barry Jones. He then clean bowled top order batsmen Kris Abbot and Jack Layton with clever off-cutters in consecutive overs.
Fellow opener Eaves, whose command of line, length, and bounce has at times unfairly failed to gain deserved wickets, benefitted from a welcome lucky break when opener John Green played around a full toss, which then clattered into his bails. Eaves finished with two for 12, before Spoor knocked another pair of batsmen at the start of his spell.
With five of Huntely’s batsmen registering ducks, one of them golden, attention soon turned to the contest of be Penallt’s leading wicket taker of the season.
Jacques had started the day with 19, to which he soon added another three, while Spoor had 20. Their averages of 10 and 12 respectively reflect the degree to which opponents have been unable to live with their movement and pace. By the end of Spoor’s first over, the duo were neck-and-neck, with 22 apiece.
Fittingly, however, it was Spoor who clinched the title, when Jacques took a towering catch at mid-off to dismiss Huntley’s top-scorer Robert Megenis for 18. They ended the day with four scalps each.
With Huntley demolished in just 22 overs, the visitors – who are sponsored by Paul Jarrold Tyres and Minster Insulation – were left to navigate ten overs before tea.
After openers Tim Swanson and Graham Hyde did the necessary, they then cantered to victory half an hour after the break, as shadows started to lengthen.
Following a terrific few months, in which it has been their privilege to play in some of the area’s most beautiful grounds, Penallt and Rebrook will winter contentedly. Players of all ages, abilities and levels of experience are very welcome to join them next spring. Email club Chairman Guy Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be interested in joining them.