Southam’s climb up the league is halted by high-flying Ward End Unity

Southam's Craig Lenton shows his frustration as Yasser Bashir gets a run. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Southam's Craig Lenton shows his frustration as Yasser Bashir gets a run. Pictures: Morris Troughton

In-form Southam held on to claim a losing draw at home to high-flying Ward End Unity in Warwickshire League Division Four.

Having won the toss and put Ward End into bat, Southam soon took charge of affairs with the early wickets of openers Yasser Bashir and Michael Atkinson thanks to an impressive opening spell from Michael Clewes (2-23).

Southam's Michael Clewes bowls to Ward End Unity's Gary Speake.

Southam's Michael Clewes bowls to Ward End Unity's Gary Speake.

Despite the early breakthroughs, however, Ward End’s innings gathered momentum with a third-wicket partnership of 155 between Gary Speake and Hassan Akbar, aided by some loose bowling from the Southam attack.

Tim Jordan (1-49) finally got the breakthrough by trapping Speake lbw one run short of what would have been a mature half-century and Luke Church (1-55) bowled Akbar for 88 as he attempted to ramp up the run rate.

However, the runs continued to flow for Ward End despite the best efforts of Stuart Jones (2-50) on his return from university.

Ward End amassed 291 for seven from their 50 overs and Southam looked to have a tough task ahead of them.

Again, Ryan Gidney and Clewes opened the batting for Southam and looked comfortable facing the Ward End attack during the opening exchanges.

Two balls before drinks and with 81 on the board, Gidney fell for 38, trapped lbw.

Jack Pittom (0), Tom Russell (5) and Stuart Jones (1) all followed within the first five overs after drinks thanks to an impressive spell from Mohammed Aamar (3-39).

Church and Barry Padmore stemmed the Southam collapse with a 50-run fifth-wicket partnership to steer the innings into the final ten overs.

However, while chasing the extra batting bonus points, Church and Padmore were both bowled by Babar Zaman (4-15) for 32 and 24, respectively.

Zaman then gained his third and fourth wicket, bowling both Dean Jordan (0) and Tim Jordan (0) as Southam subsided from 162 for five to 167 for nine.

Last-wicket pair Praveen Yadaz and Craig Lenton were then able to steer Southam through the final overs of the innings to claim a losing draw, with the innings closing on on 178 for nine.

Southam’s second string suffered a 75-run defeat at the hands of Dunlop Stars in Division 11 East.

Southam won the toss and elected to field and saw all of the home side’s top four make starts.

Saleem Azim went on to make 49 before becoming one of Amit Sibal’s three victims, while Yunus Sidat scored 54 before being caught by Nitin Gupta off the bowling off Ian Ward (3-39).

Dunlop’s middle order fell away but 23 from Waqas Aziz enabled them to post 214 for nine from their 45 overs.

Sibal was the pick of the bowlers with three for 38 from his ten-over spell.

Nitin Gupta stood firm at the top of the order for Southam, scoring 42.

However, Junaid Rehman caused havoc at the other end, picking up three cheap wickets.

Saqib Mehmood claimed three for 35 as Dunlop took control and Rehman returned for a second spell to end proceedings, finishing with five for 21, including the wickets of Sibal for 20 as Southam were bowled out for 139.