Maher’s unbeaten 88 steers Wardens to an impressive scalp

Shrewsbury 2nds' Toby Jones has a lucky escape as both wicketkeeper Jonathan Phillips and slip James Madley miss the ball off Paul Henderson's bowling. Picture: Morris Troughton
Shrewsbury 2nds' Toby Jones has a lucky escape as both wicketkeeper Jonathan Phillips and slip James Madley miss the ball off Paul Henderson's bowling. Picture: Morris Troughton

Scott Stenning’s four wickets plus half-centuries from Basit Zaman and Blake Maher lifted Kenilworth Wardens to an 88-run Birmingham Premier League win over defending champions Shrewsbury, writes Paul Smith.

The Shropshire side, who have also won the ECB National 45-over competition twice in recent years, as well as being six-time winners of the Birmingham League’s Graham Williamson Trophy can reasonably claim to be the top club side in the country in the win-lose format, which made Wardens’ first victory at Shrewsbury all the sweeter.

Stand-in opener Zaman (63) added 95 for the visitors’ second wicket with Brinder Phagura (26). Three wickets then fell in quick succession before Wardens’ Australian import Maher shared in a useful partnership with Stenning (24).

This set the stage for skipper Martin Donald to blast a quickfire unbeaten 20, but he was totally upstaged by Maher who dominated their 81-run sixth-wicket alliance.

The Queenslander struck seven fours and three sixes in an outstanding 65-ball unbeaten 88 as Wardens closed on 255 for five.

Mike Barnard and Tyler Ibbotson claimed two wickets apiece for Shrewsbury.

The hosts’ Ed Foster (20) and Will Parton (56) posted a 74-run opening partnership but never managed to escape tight opening spells from Maher and Phagura.

The introduction of Stenning brought about the downfall of both openers plus Ben Stebbings, which meant Ed Barnard (21) and Ollie Westbury (25) had to undertake something of a mid-innings rebuild.

When both fell in quick succession, Shrewsbury’s chase soon ground to a halt against Matt Hancock (2-30) before Junead Zaman’s tidy three for 17 left Stenning to seal the victory and complete a fine return of four for 25 by trapping last man Mike Barnard lbw.

Kenilworth Wardens 2nds moved to the top of the Birmingham & District Premier League Division One after a comfortable eight-wicket win in their home match against Shrewsbury 2nds.

After winning the toss, the visitors chose to bat first and started well, reaching 97 for two with contributions from Michael Gerrard (40) and Toby Jones (30).

However, a good all-round bowling display by the home side made run-scoring difficult and, with wickets falling regularly, Shrewsbury closed out their 45 overs on 185 for nine.

Mark Pidgeon (2-26), Kieran Holland (2-35), Paul Henderson (2-42) and Nick Whiting (2-43) shared the wickets.

In response, Jack Gamson (1-29) provided an early breakthrough for Shrewsbury but an unbeaten third-wicket stand of 147 between Tom Brammer (83 not out) and Harry Johnson (65 not out) saw Kenilworth Wardens past their victory target in just 34.4 overs.