High fives for West Midlands groundsmen
Club groundsmen around the West Midlands deserved credit for ensuring only one Premier Division match failed to start after three days of torrential rain.
The abandoned match was the Staffordshire derby between table-topping Walsall and close rivals Wolverhampton, an outcome that enabled Berkswell, champions Barnt Green and Himley to make significant ground on the leaders.
Berkswell moved to within five points of frustrated Walsall after a 38 run victory against fellow promoted side Brockhampton, who were dismissed for 75, in response to the home side’s 113.
The match was reduced to 33 overs per side and the Berkswell total owed much to Warwickshire past and present in the shape of Dominic Ostler and Ian Westwood.
Skipper Ostler hit 38 but it was former Warwickshire captain Westwood who top scored with 43 before Babar Khan produced the outstanding figures of 5-4 to demolish the Brockhampton innings.
Barnt Green picked up their third win in three games with a three wicket success at Knowle & Dorridge, who were dismissed for 164 in a match that started on time.
Sam Reddish (58) top scored while the Division’s leading wicket taker Stephen Bevan took 4-36 for Barnt Green. In reply, Craig Crowe’s 42 proved decisive despite the efforts of Ben Coley, who took 3-43 for K & D.
In another match that commenced on time, Himley worked their way to 205 for seven in 55 overs against West Bromwich Dartmouth, thanks to the efforts of Nathan Round (46), Ben Smith (46) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (44 not out).
Ateeq Javid (3-62) was the pick of the Dartmouth bowlers but he was eclipsed by all of the Himley attack, as the visitors were shot out for 70.
Nick Harrison (3-28) and Stuart Wedge (3-31) took the most wickets, Michael Jones provided good support with 2-8 but the most remarkable analysis came from Ashfak Hussein who bowled 11 overs, 10 of which were maidens and finished with two wickets for two runs!
The clash between the two lowest placed Clubs was a closely fought low scoring affair with Leamington’s first win of the season taking them above their victims Wellington, who slip to the foot of the table.
In a match reduced to 46 overs each side, Jason Young’s 5-19 routed Wellington for 59 in 27.4 overs. Faisal Khalid (3-9) and Raiza Jarbarkheil (2-20) chipped in with the other five wickets before Lee Hopkins hit an unbeaten 20 to steer Leamington to victory.
This was tough on Wellington’s former skipper Anthony O’Connor, who took 4-30 as his side slid to a four wicket defeat. The only drawn match took place at Shrewsbury, where the visitors, Kidderminster Victoria posted 211 for eight, in 55 overs, with half-centuries from Zac Turley (64) and Neil Pinner (61).
The best of the Shrewsbury bowlers was leg-spinner Elliott Green with 4-35, while 16 year-old seamer Ed Barnard took 3-49.
Shrewsbury’s response ran out of gas on 200 for seven after Steven Leach hit 63 and Rob Foster added 43. Wicket-keeper Ryan Bishop, batting in the middle order because of a damaged hand finished unbeaten on 39.