Anwar and Sale prove winning combination again for Wardens

Kenilworth Wardens 2nds' Tommy Rex celebrates the wicket of Knowle & Dorridge's Chris Kenny. Picture: Morris Troughton
Kenilworth Wardens 2nds' Tommy Rex celebrates the wicket of Knowle & Dorridge's Chris Kenny. Picture: Morris Troughton

Kenilworth Wardens celebrated their third consecutive win with a superb 54-run victory over table-toppers Knowle & Dorridge.

Wardens were asked to bat first on a difficult wicket in bowler-friendly conditions and lost Harry Johnson in the first over, caught behind off the bowling of Henry Brooks (2-32).

The early loss saw Basit Zaman arrive at the wicket, who then proceeded to play his best innings of the season, amassing a classy 61 from 74 balls (8 x 4, 2 x 6).

Zaman was ably supported by Nick Seagar (14) and overseas player Prerak Mankad (30) who was removed after a brilliant catch in the gully by Alex Phillips.

Wardens then experienced a mid-innings wobble, with both Brooks and Will Mottram picking up two wickets apiece.

The fall of the seventh wicket at 151 brought together the previous week’s batting heroes Kamran Anwar and Nick Sale and with the game again in the balance, the duo batted with controlled aggression to put together another match-winning stand of 92.

Both batsman was removed on 46 by Oliver Haley but not before Wardens had put together the basis of a very good total of 256.

Knowle lost both openers lbw early on to new-ball duo Anwar (2-24) and debutant Finn McCreath.

Warwickshire batting star Ateeq Javid was joined by Jack Grundy (11) and later by Sam Reddish (21) who slowly repaired the initial damage, taking the score to 94 before the pick of the Wardens bowlers Khayam Khan (3-24 off 8) dismissed Reddish and Harding in consecutive balls.

Javid and Tom Smith (31) rebuilt, this time with a 72-run partnership but it was ended by a brilliant direct hit from mid-wicket by McCreath to run out Javid.

His 101-ball innings of 60 spanned more than two hours, but his dismissal was the end of the hosts’ resistance and they finally folded on 202 despite a couple of lusty hits from Brooks (16).

Wardens 2nds suffered their first defeat of the 2017 campaign at the hands of Knowle & Dorridge.

Having elected to bat first, Knowle &Dorridge set about their business in aggressive fashion, looking to capitalise on the early-over fielding restrictions.

William Rigg cleared the rope twice in an even-time 33 but Wardens’ bowlers stuck to their task, striking regularly to leave the hosts 74 for five in the 17th over.

The visitors’ sixth-wicket pair of Ethan Brookes (35) and Chris Williamson (51) then combined effectively, first by steadying the innings, before building an invaluable 87-run stand.

When both fell in quick succession, looking to strike out against Nick Whiting (2-47) and Paul Henderson (1-52) respectively, it was the lower order, marshalled by Daniel Clark (20 not out), who saw their side to a total of 208 all out.

Tommy Rex did his growing reputation no harm, following up an effective opening salvo with two further wickets to finish with figures of three for 32.

Wardens set about their chase in measured fashion, developing partnerships throughout - the first, second and third wickets putting on 28, 43 and 66 respectively - but the visiting attack proved difficult to get away with both openers and the first and second change bowlers conceding fewer than four runs per over.

This, combined with an impressive fielding display, left a daunting run rate of near ten runs from each of the final four overs once Robin de Regt was dismissed for a well-made 54.

Although such run rates seem to be becoming increasingly attainable in the modern game, the requirement for incoming batsmen to strike boundaries over an expansive outfield, particularly once pace has been taken off the ball, is by no means trivial, and it proved too much as the hosts finished on 191 for eight; Chris Kenny and Gareth Davies sharing four wickets.