A five-wicket haul for Brinder Phagura and Blake Maher’s even-time 81 could not prevent Kenilworth Wardens slipping to a 46-run Birmingham Premier League defeat at home to Kidderminster, writes Paul Smith.
The duo’s efforts would have been good enough to win most games, but they were eclipsed by a stunning all-round display by the visitors’ Neil Pinner.
The former Worcestershire and Leicestershire all-rounder made 132 of his team’s colossal 322 for eight before claiming five for 47 as Wardens were bowled out for 276.
The defeat leaves Martin Donald’s team eighth in the table at the end of the first win/lose section of the season.
After Phagura’s two early strikes had reduced the visitors to 58 for two, Pinner joined forces with his former Pears colleague Matt Pardoe, who made 62 from 80 balls, to add 117 for the third wicket.
Kidderminster then took full advantage of a superb Glasshouse Park pitch to smash 98 from Wardens’ fifth bowler combination and accelerate beyond the 300-mark.
Mike Hill’s 34 and a breezy 21 from Connor Smith provided Pinner with excellent support, before he eventually fell for a brilliant 121-ball 132, including ten fours and three maximums.
Phagura finished with five for 43 from an excellent spell, while Mark Pidgeon’s recall to 1st XI action returned a tidy one for 47.
Arjun Bath (33) and Basit Zaman (46) added 74 for Wardens’ second wicket, after which Brisbane Heat prospect Maher, who made 81 from 79 balls, kept Wardens in the hunt.
Useful contributions from Nathan Edwards (29) and Phagura (34) took Wardens to 235 for five, but the loss of the Aussie all-rounder was a major blow and the chase eventually subsided in the 48th over.
Pinner, who was the seventh bowler used, claimed five for 47 from 9.2 overs, while Pardoe finished with a frugal one for 27 from nine overs.
Wardens 2nds maintained their perfect start to the season by gaining a fifth successive victory at Attock.
Wardens won the toss and elected to bat first, but found the going harder than in previous weeks.
Tight opening spells from Imran Hamid and Safraz Ali kept the run rate in check and, with wickets falling at regular intervals, it was left to Harry Johnson (82) to play the major innings that enabled Wardens to close on 145 for eight from their 45 overs.
Ali finished with four for 30, sharing the wickets with Sultan Mahmood (2-31) and Daanyaal Mirza (2-47).
Attock made a decent start to their reply and looked on track for victory at 65 for one before four quick wickets fell, reducing the hosts to 72 for five.
Wickets continued to tumble and the hosts were eventually dismissed for 128 at the close of the 32nd over.
Kieran Holland (3-15), Mainak Ray (2-21) and Simon Gough (2-21) took the bulk of the wickets.
Kenilworth Wardens 5th XI were awarded victory in their Cotswold Hills Division Seven fixture after Exhall & Wixford CC 3rds were unable to field a team.
Wardens 3rds suffered a heavy defeat in their home Cotswold Hills Division One clash with Ashton-Under-Hill.
Having elected to bat, the Wardens innings simply never got started as excellent bowling from Janitha De-Alwis (5-23) removed the top five.
Michael Challis-Brown (25) and Anthony Pidgeon (18) provided the only resistance but once Matt Wakefield (1-11) had dismissed Challis-Brown, Daniel Garland (4-21) wrapped up the innings to leave Wardens 74 all out in the 27th over.
Wickets for Tommy Rex (1-20), Challis-Brown (1-13) and Chris Porter (1-12) never really threatened to change the outcome of the game, with Jonathan Cooper (30) and William Archer (18) providing the main contributions to see Ashton to a comfortable seven-wicket victory in just 21 overs.
In Division Six, Wardens 4ths suffered a seven-wicket defeat at Alvechurch and Hopwood 3rds.
Facing a strong bowling attack on a track offering significant assistance, only Paul Smith (49) came to terms with the conditions.
Mike Sorrell (18) provided studious support, but scoring runs remained difficult throughout and the visitors eventually closed on 132 for nine from their 45 overs.
The Wardens bowling attack was never able to exert the same level of pressure, with Ryan Spink (55) and Steven Hamblin (36 not out) helping see the hosts home.