Walsall beef up lead with win

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Unbridled sunshine and drier pitches yielded a spread of higher scores across the Birmingham Premier Cricket League with more than 600 runs crafted at Meeting House Lane where Himley and Berkswell settled for a draw.

Both teams began the day in joint second place in the table, 25 points behind leaders Walsall and batting first, after losing the toss, Himley amassed an imposing 312 for seven from their 55 overs with Greg Wright and Nathan Round scoring 88 apiece and Rajat Bhatia adding 61.

Dominic Ostler

Berkswell's Dominic Ostler made 114 in 5th wicket stand of 216

Wright (12 fours and 2 sixes) and Round (10 fours and 3 sixes) put on 148 for the second Himley wicket but this was eclipsed by a stand of 216 for the fifth Berkswell wicket between Tom Milnes (122) and Dominic Ostler (114) after the home side had slipped to 77 for four in the 19th over of their reply.

Milnes struck 12 fours and 5 sixes and skipper Ostler hit 10 fours and 6 sixes. Earlier Milnes had taken 3-54 while Bhatia picked up 3-97 (including two wickets in the last over of the game) as Berkswell finished on 299 for eight.

Leaders Walsall extended their lead to 30 points after they successfully chased struggling Leamington’s impressive total of 282. Sam Cheshire (79 from 57 balls), Tom Lewis (50), Lee Hopkins (42) and David Bailey (30) scored the bulk of the Leamington runs while promising seamer Josh Bowker took 4-35 for Walsall.

In reply, Christiaan Jonker made a brisk 57 but it was a career best 87 off 78 balls from all-rounder Paul Byrne which saw Walsall score more than 200 for the first time this season, then take them on to a six wicket victory with more than 10 overs in hand.

Alex McChristie (38), Tim Maxfield (37) and James Middleton (30 not out) also scored valuable runs for the leaders, who face second placed Himley next week, in what promises to be the most significant game of the season to date!

Leamington’s brave effort leaves them 41 points short of safety and Wellington’s plight, at the foot of the table, worsened with a six wicket defeat at Knowle & Dorridge.

Aussie Michael Johnson hit 113 in Wellington’s total of 223 for nine with Chris Davidson (4-63) and Will Mottram (3-66) the most successful bowlers for K & D. In reply, Sam Reddish made 99 before he was adjudged leg before wicket and Attiq Chishti continued his recent superlative form with 81 not out as K & D cantered to victory.

Kidderminster Victoria head into their quarter-final Kingfisher Cup tie with Bamford Fieldhouse in good heart following a 60 run success over Wolverhampton.

Both sides were missing players who were in the Worcestershire side against South Africa at New Road, but it was the remaining Kidderminster players who stepped up a gear as youngsters Connor Smith (109 not out) and Zac Turley (42) eased them to 240 for five with a stand of 91 for the third wicket.

Wolverhampton cruised to 87 without loss, thanks to Aaron Jeavons (69) and Mike Smith (41) before evergreen skipper Jonathan Wright nipped in to take 6-33 as Wolverhampton slumped to 180 all out.

The 2011 Champions Barnt Green picked off a 32 run win at Brockhampton after winning the toss and batting first.

They included 13 year-old wicket keeper Tom Banton in their side and were helped to 233 for nine by Richard Wilkinson (75) and Tom Burton (66). Chris Boroughs took 3-57 but Brockhampton were dismissed for 201 in reply, with Ben Stebbings top scoring with 90.

Andy Sutton (3-23) and Nick Powell (3-27) did the damage with the help of two catches from the precocious Banton.
Shrewsbury moved up to a more comfortable mid-table place after a six wicket win against West Bromwich Dartmouth who remain the most likely side to be vulnerable to a late revival by the bottom two.

Kadeer Ali scored 47 and Ateeq Javid made 31 in Dartmouth’s below par 173 for nine with spin twins Elliott Green (4-41) and Rob Foster (3-33) taking advantage of the conditions. Ryan Bishop's 66 and 43 from Ed Foster laid the foundation for Shrewsbury’s victory which was confirmed by 26 from Rob Foster and 22 from Tom Cox.