Wolverhampton stumble at Barnt Green
After the cold and damp conditions of the first four weeks of the season, the sun shone in week five to contrast with the form of Premier Division leaders Wolverhampton who slid to a six wicket defeat at Barnt Green.
In the absence of their skipper Dougie Brown - out for, at least, a month with a damaged hamstring - the 2011 Champions were led for the first time by Adam Smith, who invited the visitors to bat first after he won the toss.
Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali (43) gave the innings a flying start but 100 for four became 134 for seven before a partnership of 41 for the last wicket between Alex Grant and Chris Russell boosted the total to 179.
Stephen Bevan took 4-26 for Barnt Green. In reply, James Ord (82) and Nathan Newport put on 117 for the first wicket before Craig Crowe (35 not out) ensured an easy victory, despite 3-54 from Ali.
Wolverhampton’s defeat enabled Walsall to climb up to pole position, following a comfortable six wicket win over another of the early season pace-setters, Berkswell, who were dismissed for 163 after they were invited to bat first.
Former Warwickshire stalwart Dominic Ostler contributed 52 while Tom Freeman (3 for 29) continued his fine start to the season for Walsall with Paul Byrne wrapping things up with 3-35.
Walsall, then, raced to 60 without loss, in the 9th over, thanks to Christiaan Jonker (31) and Jack Manuel (29), before skipper David Powles (47), Tim Maxfield (23) and Byrne (23 not out) eased their side to a 13 point lead at the top of the table.
Although it’s too early in the season to be worrying about relegation, both Leamington Spa and Wellington will be hoping for an improvement in form, very soon as both Club’s attacks took a pounding at the hands of West Bromwich Dartmouth and Brockhampton.
Unicorns’ James Campbell (76) and former Scotland international Navi Poonia (94) put on 155 for the second Dartmouth wicket before Ateeq Javid’s 78 saw his side to an impressive 315 for six at the end of 55 overs.
Udit Talati withstood the battering to finish with 4-91 and, at 156 without loss, thanks to Will Tavare (91) and Alex Phillips (70), Leamington were well set for a charge to victory before Kadeer Ali (5-83) and Naheem Sajjad (4-65) stepped in to spark a collapse to 251 all out.
Wellington skipper Wendell Wagner took 3-42, against Brockhampton, but Ben Stebbings (131 not out) and Chris Powell (44 not out) took the game away from the Shropshire outfit as the visitors piled up 254 for six.
Despite 30 from Ross Aucott, Wellington dawdled to 93 for nine at the close, with Charlie Griffiths picking up 5-28 for the Herefordshire side.
Shrewbury’s early season form must, also, give them concern, with Knowle & Dorridge racing to a comfortable seven wicket success after restricting the 2011 National Club K.O. Champions to 217 for nine.
This result completed a poor week for the Shropshire side, after bowing out of the 2012 National K.O. and the 2012 National Club Twenty20 Competition in the space of five days.
Joe Leach top scored with 43 for Shrewsbury, with leg-spinner Chris Davidson snaring 5-64 for K & D. David Smith (72) and Steffan Piolet (46) wasted little time before clinching the game for their side.
Kidderminster Victoria have endured a tough start to the season but like the weather their form showed a massive upturn with a crushing 109 victory over Himley.
Worcestershire duo Matt Pardoe (53) and Ben Cox (51) saw the Vics to 235 all out at the end of their 55 overs, with their County colleague Nick Harrison taking 5-48 for Himley, who crashed to 126 all out in response.
Nathan Round carried his bat for 42 but Mark Mansell’s 4-30, supported by two wickets apiece for Pardoe and Neil Pinner, took Kiddi to their first victory of the season.