Maher makes his mark but rain ruins Birmingham Premier League opener

Robin De Regt scored 38 as Kenilworth Wardens 2nds got off to a winning start. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Robin De Regt scored 38 as Kenilworth Wardens 2nds got off to a winning start. Pictures: Morris Troughton

A typically cold and damp Bank Holiday weekend brought Kenilworth Wardens limited on-field action and little by way of success.

Only 23 overs were possible between the showers at Walmley on Saturday, which meant the opening Birmingham Premier League match was abandoned.

Leek Wootton's Dave Allison gives the bowling of Wardens' Christian Salisbury some treatment.

Leek Wootton's Dave Allison gives the bowling of Wardens' Christian Salisbury some treatment.

After winning the toss, home opener Andrew Hendry came out with positive intent and found the boundary five times in making 35 from 32 balls.

His dismissal at the hands of Brinder Phagura slowed the scoring rate and the introduction of Blake Maher soon brought Wardens further success.

The Aussie all-rounder claimed the prize scalps of Tom Burton (15) and Freddie Coleman (3) as Walmley slipped from 46 without loss to 85 for three.

Junead Zaman produced a tidy support spell before the rain finally terminated matters with home opener Jamie Harrison unbeaten on 33 and the scoreboard showing 95 for three from 23 overs.

A weakened Wardens side slipped to a comprehensive seven-wicket Graham Williamson Trophy semi-final defeat at Walsall on Sunday.

After being inserted on a green early-season pitch, Ben Ladd-Gibson ripped through the visitors’ top-order to claim four for 19.

When slipper Martin Donald was stumped off Paul Byrne (2-12) Wardens had slumped to 32 for five, before Nathan Edwards (25) and Harry Johnson (26), plus a battling knock from Ben Rex averted a total rout.

James Middleton launched Walsall’s quest for 122 with a breezy 27-ball 44, which included three boundaries and three maximums.

He added 61 with former Old Hill opening partner Mike Hingley, before Tim Maxfield (23 not out) and Bruce Thomason (25) saw the hosts most of the way home.

Matt Hancock grabbed a couple of late wickets but these were scarcely even a consolation prize for Wardens’ acting skipper as Walsall romped home in only 18.1 overs.

After waiting all afternoon for play to be possible in Monday’s rearranged ECB National T20 Cup, Basit Zaman’s explosive knock was unable to prevent Wardens’ return trip to Walmley ending in defeat in a thrilling finish.

The hosts, who were defending 83, claimed a two-run win in an eight-eight contest when Wardens were just unable to convert Zaman’s 11-ball 32 into a successful run chase.

After Walmley skipper Kaiser Shah’s two for 16 stemmed the flow of runs, Scott Stenning (25 not out) and Mainak Ray added 12 from the last nine balls, but Shozair Ali held his nerve to produce the tight final over which saw his team home.

Earlier, Walmley openers Tom Burton (16 from eight balls) and Andrew Hendry (22) got their team off to a flyer against Wardens’ spin-dominated attack.

The introduction of veteran slow left-armer Mark Pidgeon, whose two overs produced only 14 runs, checked the scoring rate before a late flurry from Shozair Ali (27 from 15 balls) enabled the hosts to post a challenging target.

Wardens entertain derby rivals Berkswell at Glasshouse Park tomorrow (noon).

Berkswell’s opening-day match was abandoned with West Bromwich Dartmouth 88 for one in reply to their 258 for seven.

Kenilworth Wardens 2nds started their Birmingham & District Premier League Division One campaign with a 46-run win over Oswestry in a rain-affected encounter.

Wardens won the toss and their decision to bat proved to be a good one as they posted an impressive 249 for five in their 45 overs.

An opening partnership of 60 between Robin de Regt (38) and Ben Rex (29) set the platform and there were strong contributions from Tom Brammer (48), Maniak Ray (39) and James Madley (46 not out).

Simon Corbett was the pick of the Oswestry bowlers with three for 57.

Oswestry struggled in response following tight opening spells from Nick Whiting (1-21) and Joe Jordan (0-21),

Mark Pidgeon (2-15) and Kieran Holland (2-24) then chipped in with regular wickets.

When rain brought play to a close, Oswestry had reached 92 for five off 23 overs, well short of the Duckworth-Lewis mark.

Kenilworth Wardens 3rds warmed up for the Cotswold Hills League season with a comprehensive win at Cookhill.

Having won the toss, Wardens chose to bowl first and proceeded to dismiss Cookhill for 49.

Superb seam bowling from Tommy Rex (1-7), Matt Casey (3-5) and Amun Bal (1-7) helped reduce Cookhill to 39 for five and good support from Tom Ballinger (2-22) and Ant Pidgeon (2-4) made sure that Wardens would be chasing a small total.

Kenilworth’s opening pair Lewis Baker (30 not out) and Fred Rex (13 not out) then duly completed a ten-wicket victory.

The weather intervened to deny an exciting finish in the friendly between Kenilworth Wardens 4ths and Leek Wootton 2nds.

Batting first, Leek Wootton made 191 for six in 35 overs, with Mike Allison making an unbeaten 54 and Ed Hare (2-39) and Dave McCunn (2-27) taking two wickets apiece.

In reply, Wardens were 106 for one off 21 overs when rain forced the game to be abandoned, with Mike Sorrell (41) and Michael Challis-Brown (46) the not out batsmen.