MARTIN DONALD’S brilliant 93 lit up another damp afternoon at Glasshouse Park on Saturday and earned Kenilworth Wardens the better of a Birmingham League Division One draw against fellow-strugglers Old Hill.
The talented stroke-maker hit five sixes plus five boundaries in a sublime 91-ball knock, which was doubly impressive given the extent to which every other batsman struggled on a well-grassed surface.
Donald came to the wicket at 63 for 3, following the dismissals of Tony Wilkinson, Scott Stenning and Sitanshu Kotak, and dominated the remainder of the innings with some superbly timed shots.
He shared a 37-run fifth wicket partnership with Keith Bell, who battled hard for his 30, before adding 48 for the eighth wicket with James Jordan, whose useful unbeaten 20 included a huge straight six.
Matthius Treuberg was pick of Old Hill’s six-man attack, grabbing 3-29, while there were two wickets apiece for seamers Humais Butt and Dmitri Ratnayake.
There was no doubt that the visitors faced an uphill task after a rain-lengthened tea interval, and their position soon worsened, as Ali Wilkinson and Dan Wood produced their best opening burst of the season.
The Old Warwickians duo reduced the visitors to 19 for 3, with some accurate new-ball bowling, to boost hopes of a home win.
However, Ratnayake (34) combined to good effect with Ian Walker to add 64 for Old Hill’s fourth wicket, after which the visitors’ keeper battled his way to 58 from 113 balls, with four boundaries and a six.
Despite useful contributions from the lower order, Jordan 2-31 kept the run rate under control, meaning the contest ended in deadlock, with Old Hill at 169 for 8.
The 2nds clash was abandoned due to rain but 3rds skipper Simon Gough led from the front as his ring-rusty side clawed a nervy 27-run win over Blockley.
The all-rounder contributed a crucial 43 to his team’s below-par 170 for 9, before dismissing top scorer Steve Vick (35) as he threatened to steer the visitors’ run chase to victory.
With most of the home side having undergone a weather-enforced four week layoff, it was no great surprise when a series of poor strokes reduced their innings to 112 for 6.
Keith Berry (21) and Dan Phillips (32) both got themselves out when set, after the top four had all struggled to re-discover their touch in this dampest of summers.
Gough’s fluent knock, plus useful support from Brad Sanders and Nick Lewis, did at least ensure the hosts posted a working total on a damp pitch, but Blockley remained favourites after John Vick (31) got their response off to a flyer.
However, none of the visitors delivered the long innings that would have won the game, as Berry 2-20 and Jack Sorrell 3-21 worked their way through the middle order.
Steve Vick survived two bad dropped catches to keep Blockley’s hopes alive, but when Gough removed his off stump, the tail soon folded to give Wardens a scrappy win.
Ashton under Hill 2nds skipper Guy Garland grabbed four wickets to lead his side to a 42 run victory over Wardens 4ths.
Garland finished with 4-r 25 from his full ten over allocation, as Wardens closed on 157 for 8 in response to the hosts’ 199 for 6.
Scott Jones (32) and James Madley (25) built a useful second wicket partnership for the visitors, but after their dismissal only Jamie Brown (25) threatened Ashton’s hold on the match.
Earlier, Jones and teenage leg-spinner Ben Rex kept the home batsmen in check with tidy ten over spells, after Tom Miles (32) and Dominic Capaldi (47) had added 68 for the first Ashorne wicket.
Miles also figured in a useful 56-run third wicket alliance with Mike Banks, who struck nine boundaries in his unbeaten half century.
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