Wardens powerless as rain puts paid to Berkswell's title hopes

Berkswell knew only victory could keep them in the chase for the Birmingham League Premier Division title but it was a storm rather than Kenilworth Wardens that put paid to their hopes.

Thursday, 14th September 2017, 4:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th September 2017, 4:22 pm
Ben Rex scored an unbeaten 90 as Kenilworth Wardens 2nds recovered from 24 for four to post 177 for four against Harborne.

A much-weakened Kenilworth Wardens faced a star-studded Berkswell who included current county stars Ryan Sidebottom, Grant Thornton (both Warwickshire), Tom Milnes (Derbyshire) and Alex Hepburn (Worcestershire) as well as former Glamorgan all-rounder Nick James.

Wardens were put in to bat on an afternoon suited to bowlers and the first rain delay came after only nine balls by which time Tom Brammer was already back in the pavilion, caught by Dominic Ostler off Sidebottom for a duck.

A heavy shower and long delay meant the game was reduced to 37 overs a side on resumption and excellent pace bowling from Milnes, Sidebottom and Hepburn left Wardens in difficulty at 42 for four.

Nick Sale joined Dan Mousley (13) and together they attempted to rebuild the innings, with Sale going on to top-score with 47, including 5 fours and two lusty sixes.

With a useful contribution of 22, including two mores sixes, from Junead Zaman, the innings closed on 168 for nine.

Nick James picked up three late wickets for 32 in a seven-over spell.

Berkswell started their reply with all guns blazing, knowing that yet another storm was brewing and the only way to stay in the title race was to score the Duckworth-Lewis-adjusted total of 166 very quickly.

Mark Best got them off to a flying start with a 29-ball fifty that included 8 fours and 2 sixes.

However, Berkswell only got half-way to their target before the heavens opened and the ground was flooded in a matter of minutes.

Rain denied Wardens 2nd a likely victory after a tough battle at home to Harborne.

After a week of dismal weather, Wardens were not surprised when their visitors invited them to bat on a wicket that was indistinguishable from the square.

In a match reduced to 35 overs a side, Harborne’s seamers Zak Sinkinson (3-20) and Sean Rebbetts made the most of bowler-friendly conditions to reduce Wardens to 24 for four.

Stand-in skipper Paul Henderson played an exquisite extra cover drive for four to find some touch and form and together with opener Ben Rex, who played a knock of maturity and grit, developed an undefeated 153-run partnership to push Wardens to an above-par 177 for four.

Rex finished on an excellent undefeated 90 from 103 balls, while Henderson’s 62 came off 83 balls.

In reply, Wardens had Harborne on the ropes with the metronomic Nick Whiting (1-14 off seven) in full flight as the visitors stumbled to 30 for three off 14 overs before a torrential downpour ended proceedings.