Outstanding spells of swing and seam bowling from Berkswell’s Dan Worrall and Dave Brignull condemned visitors Kenilworth Wardens to a ten-wicket derby defeat, writes Paul Smith.
While it was no great surprise that the top-against-bottom Birmingham Premier League clash ended in a convincing win for the title favourites, the ease with which Martin Donald’s side were brushed aside gives the visitors major cause for concern.
Wardens now face critical games against Barnt Green, Brockhampton and Wolverhampton over the next five weeks.
Two wins seems to be the minimum return which will leave them entering the season’s final quarter with any hope of avoiding relegation.
After winning the toss, the hosts’ opening attack made excellent use of helpful conditions to immediately tear through Wardens’ top-order.
Aussie Worrall swung the ball both ways at a lively pace, while Brignull hit the seam with monotonous regularity and the waiting cordon gleefully accepted the resulting chances.
At 28 for seven, complete ignominy was at least avoided by Sitanshu Kotak’s 67-ball 33 and Rajan Bhatti’s 15.
However, the introduction of Chris Cheslin (2-13) ended their defiance to bring matters to a hasty conclusion in the 29th over with the total on 77.
Worrall finished with three for 27, while former Leicestershire paceman Brignull returned an outstanding five for 36.
Berkswell openers Mark Best and Nick James then made short work of their target by racing to a ten-wicket triumph in the 12th over.
Former Warwickshire and Glamorgan all-rounder James stroked seven boundaries in his unbeaten 37, while ex-Leamington opener Best hit six fours and a six in his 34-ball unbeaten 38.
Halesowen claimed a winning draw against Wardens 2nd XI thanks to a fine hundred from Dion Patel.
The visitors recovered from 21 for two to close with a formidable 254 for five courtesy of Patel’s excellent knock.
He struck 14 boundaries and two sixes in his 130-ball 113, during which he played the hosts’ three-pronged spin attack with great assurance.
Opener Jhujar Johal (50) joined his third-wicket partner in an excellent 145-run partnership before Joe Tromans’ breezy 31-ball 44 helped Patel add a further 66 for the fourth wicket.
Mark Pidgeon (2-53) was the pick of the home attack.
Openers Andy Whitehall (61 from 70 balls) and Ben Rex (40) got Kenilworth Wardens’ chase away to a promising 112-run start.
But after both fell in quick succession, Tom Brammer (22) soon followed and Adam Hawker (3-54) and Carl Bust (2-42) applied the brakes to good effect against the hosts’ powerful middle-order.
This meant that when Ryan Parnell was seventh out for 31 Pidgeon called the run-chase to a halt and his team eventually settled for a draw at 220 for seven.