Himley fail to seize moment

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Walsall continue to lead the way at the top of the Premier Division table in Birmingham even though their winless run was extended to three games by bottom of the table Wellington.

Batting first, after losing the toss, Walsall again failed to make use of the 55 overs available to them, finishing on 188 all out in 45 overs, leaving their visitors with 65 overs to achieve a win that would just about maintain their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Staffordshire’s Tim Maxfield smacked 47 from 47 balls with Anthony O’Connor taking 3-45 for Wellington. After an interruption in the second innings, which caused the loss of five overs, Wellington limped to 121 for seven with Ross Aucott top scoring with 30.

For the second week running, Himley failed to take advantage of Walsall’s inability to win and, now, lie 22 points behind their Black Country rivals following a winning draw against Shrewsbury.

After losing Chris Tranter with the score on 2 and opening partner Greg Wright (19) at 56, Himley were indebted to a watchful stand of 129 for the third wicket between Nathan Round and IPL player Rajat Bhatia who was just beginning to pick up the pace when he was dismissed for 62, an innings that included a six and four fours.

Round went on to complete a patient unbeaten 100 in 150 balls, including nine boundaries, as Himley totalled 218 for five at the close of the innings. This looked to be a good score on a slow wicket and even slower outfield.

The pick of the Shrewsbury bowlers was Elliott Green, with 2-34, and there was one wicket each for Alex Blofield, Ed Barnard and Michael Barnard.

Shrewsbury made a careful start to their innings with skipper Ed Foster hitting 30 in an opening stand of 54 with Ryan Bishop but both players struggled to time the ball on a pitch that appeared to become even slower as the match progressed.

Bishop eventually fell for 53 at 117 for four as the Himley attack began to chip away at the Shrewsbury middle order.

Rob Foster hit a breezy 35 but Shrewsbury continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, finishing on 183 for eight at the end of their 55 overs.

The most successful Himley bowler was Ashfak Hussain (3-53) with Bhatia taking 2-33 and Danny Smith picking up 2-38.

Berkswell, who began the day in joint second place, were involved in a thrilling match with Wolverhampton, who came out winners by one wicket in a low scoring match at The Lant.

Johannes Bothma took 5-41 as Berkswell finished on 128 for eight, in an innings reduced to 45 overs, before Unicorns’ Vishal Tripathi hit an unbeaten 77 to steer Wolverhampton to victory, with two balls to spare, a result that keeps them in fifth place but still in the race for the title with Walsall and Himley to play over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Leg-spinner Babar Khan took 5-27 for Berkswell who also, remain in the title hunt as do Brockhampton, who crushed Leamington Spa by 123 runs, a result that does nothing to improve the Warwickshire side’s slim chance of avoiding relegation alongside Wellington.

David Exall (66 not out), Ben Stebbings (48) and Adam Hewlett (43) eased Brockhampton to 238 for six with Udit Talati taking 3-49 for Leamington who crashed to 115 all out in response with debutant Will Barrett (4-20) and Chris Boroughs (4-41) doing the damage.

2011 Champions Barnt Green continue to slide down the table but their match with West Bromwich Dartmouth was a cliff-hanger. Batting first, Dartmouth slumped to 102 for eight before an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 79 between Mark Fisher (49 not out) and Imran Khan (41 not out) took them to a respectable 181 for eight.

In reply, Richard Wilkinson hit 77 not out for Barnt Green but he was left high and dry by four run outs the fourth being the one that clinched the game for Dartmouth by three runs.

Naheem Sajjad took 3-54 but it was the run outs that proved crucial! Kidderminster Victoria earned a hard-fought victory at Knowle & Dorridge to cement their place in the top half of the table after they were dismissed for 143 at Station Road.

Andrew Kimberlin (31) and Zak Turley (26) batted sensibly for Kidderminster while Sam Reddish took 3-12 for K & D with his occasional off-spinners.

Despite 31 from Jamie Spires and 21 from David Smith, K & D found the going tough against Richard Kimberlin (5-47) and Gareth Williams (3-39) and fell nine runs short to leave themselves in 10th place in the table with a comfort blanket of 57 points between them and Leamington Spa.