Clatter of early wickets costly as the light goes out on Wardens' challenge
Birmingham Premier League favourites Berkswell claimed a 29-run Duckworth-Lewis win over Kenilworth Wardens on Saturday, writes Paul Smith.
However, despite Mark Best’s half-century seeing Dominic Ostler’s team to a useful 264 for seven from 50 overs, a win was far from guaranteed when rain finally ended the contest as Wardens’ Nathan Edwards and Martin Donald were rapidly closing in on their reduced victory target.
Best (59) and Chris Whittock (31) added 73 for Berkswell’s second wicket before former Glamorgan all-rounder Nick James (32) and Ollie Haley (43) combined in a 67-run fourth-wicket alliance.
This set the stage for veteran former Warwickshire batsman Ostler (45) and Liam Gately (24) to add 72 for the seventh wicket, which pushed Wardens’ target beyond the 250-mark.
Seamer Brinder Phagura continued his excellent start to the season by returning three for 33 in a tidy spell, while slow left-armer Matt Hancock finished with two for 51.
Wardens’ chase got off to the worst possible start as two wickets apiece for former Leicestershire seamer Dave Brignull and overseas star Gert Cloete reduced them to 29 for four.
Edwards and Phagura (23) then combined in a 74-run fifth-wicket partnership which steadied the ship before a rain interruption removed nine overs from Wardens’ allocation.
Skipper Donald, who contributed a breezy unbeaten 20, had then joined forces with Edwards, whose excellent unbeaten 45-ball 63 contained seven fours and two sixes, in taking the hosts to 139 for five when bad light intervened.
This left Wardens 24 runs short of their Duckworth-Lewis target of 163 and rueing the clatter of early wickets.
Cloete finished with two for 27 and Brignull two for 25.
Four wickets from Lee Tyrrell and a sparkling unbeaten 78 from Matt Lamb sent Wardens tumbling to a seven-wicket defeat in their ECB National Knock Out second-round tie at Barnt Green.
The visitors slipped to 35 for four then 85 for six against an excellent home attack led by Tyrell (4-26) plus pacy opener Luke Radford (2-28) and skipper Andrew Sutton (2-19).
Dan Wood made a useful 31 before teenage duo Kieran Holland (18) and Dan Mousley (22) battled bravely from the lower middle-order.
This allowed Matt Hancock to top-score with a 33-ball unbeaten 39, which took Wardens to 160 all out with five of their 45-over allowance unused.
Wardens’ slow left-armer then enjoyed a rare outing with the new ball to produce a tidy nine-over spell.
The visitors’ all-spin approach brought early wickets for Scott Stenning (2-38) and first-round hero Holland, who dismissed Sam Cheshire, to reduce the chase to 44 for three.
However, this brought Sutton, who finished with an unbeaten 36, into partnership with the excellent Lamb, who struck ten fours and two sixes, to see the hosts home with 14.3 overs remaining.
Wardens travel to Premier League champions Shrewsbury on Saturday, while Berkswell entertain Barnt Green.