A fifth-wicket partnership of 100 between Scott Stenning and Tom Brammer helped Kenilworth Wardens to a creditable draw at Ombersley in the Birmingham League Premier Division.
Wardens travelled without opening batsmen Harry Johnson (ill) and Nick Seagar (broken finger) to be greeted by a full-strength opposition boasting Brett D’Oliveira and Ben Cox who had both played for Worcestershire against Leicestershire in the T20 the previous evening, free-scoring Worcestershire 2nd XI batsman Josh Dell, overseas player Udit Kaul and former Worcestershire and Hampshire paceman Gareth Andrew.
Wardens invited Ombersley to bat and D’Oliveira and Herefordshire opener Liam Gwynne got the home side off to a brisk start with the 50 coming up in only the ninth over, Gwynne making the most of being dropped in the covers on seven.
A double bowling change, brought brothers Junead and Basit Zaman into the attack and Junead had Brett D’Oliveira (22) caught in the covers in his first over.
Kaul joined Gwynne and it was to be a long time before Wardens tasted further success, the pair putting on 105 for the second wicket.
Gwynne was dropped for a second time before the introduction of Scott Stenning signalled his demise, stumped by Sale for 97 (8 x 4, 3 x 6).
Kaul became Stenning’s second victim for 75 with the score on 228 before a quickfire half-century from Ben Cox laced with four fours and three sixes enabled Ombersley to close on 316 for seven.
Stenning bagged five wickets from his 13 overs.
Wardens’ reply got off to a disastrous start, losing Mousley in the second over for a duck, caught at slip by Gwynne off Uffindall.
Worse was to follow as Andrew picked up three wickets for 30 off his opening ten-over spell to leave Wardens reeling at 51 for four.
Brammer joined Stenning in a 29-over partnership of 100 to edge Wardens toward a draw but the drama was not over.
Coming on to bowl in the 44th over, Gwynne enhanced his man-of-the-match credentials with the wicket of Stenning (53) first ball, quickly followed by Brammer (48) and Anwar (8).
Cool-headed Martin Donald (26 not out) saw out the remaining overs to secure a hard-fought draw on 200 for eight.
Wardens’ 2nd XI continued their excellent form with a convincing Premier Division victory over relegation-threatened Leamington.
After losing the toss, James Madley’s men were inserted by Jimmy Gethins after mid-morning heavy rain had moistened Glasshouse Park.
Although Wardens survived the first nine overs they were soon reeling on 47 for three after the introduction of Nick Payne saw more attacking lines bowled and Wardens unable to leave as many balls.
Payne combined well with opener Joe Midgley as the pair removed Madley (7), Paul Henderson (1) and Richard Anthony (7).
This bought the experience of James May to the crease who, with the in-form Robin De Regt, combined in a dogged 83-run rebuilding project which was only put at risk by some debatable running.
Once De Regt was removed for a 120-ball 66,Wardens had recovered to 130 for four but were in no means in control of the game.
With the early innings moisture no longer present, former skipper Mark Pidgeon joined May at the crease as Wardens pressed on for a score around 190.
After a remarkable straight six from Pidgeon (30), both left-handers accelerated the innings in excellent fashion with May finishing unbeaten on 74 as Wardens closed on a useful yet par score of 216 for seven.
In reply, Leamington simply could not handle Wardens’ strongest ever 2nd XI bowling attack.
With Warwickshire youth prospects Khayam Khan and Tommy Rex taking the new ball, Leamington’s top order were removed with relative ease, leaving the visitors facing an early finish at 25 for four.
Some order was restored as Jimbo Williams and David Hawkes batted sensibly until the latter was run-out by Pidgeon for 18 having failed to ground his bat.
Williams received little other support and when he was seventh out for 48, falling to a second fine catch from Pidgeon, the game was up for Leamington.
They were eventually bowled out for 104 in the 41st over with Khan (4-18) returning to mop up the tail, including Payne whose eight runs spanned 55 balls.
Rex earned figures of two for nine from his eight overs, while there were also two wickets for the veteran Paul Henderson.