Cricket
Spa pipped in thrilling finish

04/07 Updated: 04/07 14:35

STRUGGLING Leamington failed to ease their Birmingham League Premier Division relegation fears after suffering a narrow six run defeat against title-chasing Berkswell in a thrilling game at Arlington Avenue on Saturday.

Winning the toss and electing to field, the Spa opening pair of Tom Lewis and Raiza Jabarkheil bowled excellently with the new ball .

The hosts dropped three catches before Lewis, who was making his first appearance of the season, eventually had Phil Neale caught behind, while 16-year-old Raiza Jabarkheil removed Coleman and Cornick in successive deliveries to leave Berkswell 30 for 3.

James Neale (29) and ex-Warwickshire batsman Ostler (51) took the score to 69 before Neale was spectacularly caught at first slip by Alex Phillips, who took four catches in the innings, off the bowling of Faisal Khalid.

The Spa bowler then removed current Warwickshire professional, Tom Milnes, second ball, to reduce Berkswell to 67 for 5.

However, a partnership of 41 between Ostler and Akhlaq (23) took Berkswell to a competitive total of 143 despite an excellent spell from Paul Best (17-4-25-2) who was also making his first appearance of the season.

Despite the three dropped catches, Leamington bowled excellently with the wickets shared between Lewis (2-31), Jabarkheil (3-43) and Khalid (3-39).

In reply, Leamington got off to the best possible start as Mark Best (13) and Alex Phillips (46) put on 49 for the first wicket.

But ex-Leamington player Chris Cheslin (4-47) changed the game with a fine spell of swing bowling as he removed Best, David Bailey and Tom Lewis in quick succession which reduced Leamington to 58 for 3.

The introduction of the excellent Babar Khan (4-24) helped reduce the reply to 86 for 8 and put Berkswell on the brink of victory.

Sam Cheshire and Faisal Khalid batted valiantly to keep Leamington in the game with a magnificent partnership.

Cheshire (41) combined excellent defence with some lusty blows, while Khalid supported him superbly as the pair added 51 for the ninth wicket.

Milnes returned to the attack and had Khalid caught at mid-off, while Cheshire followed next ball as Spa fell just short in what proved a dramatic finish to an excellent contest.

The 2nds enjoyed much the better of a draw at Bridgnorth.

Leamington, inserted, slumped to 35 for 5 but Jack Hawkes 54no, Gareth Strangwood 25 and Dan McCarthy 21 instigaated a recovery as the visitors totalled 135.

Bridgnorth were reduced to 79 for 7 when rain forced an early finish with McCarthy 2-11 and Will Field 3-16 the most successful bowlers.

Leamington under 16s recorded a 48 run victory over Highway.

Joe Somra 38 and Darrel Williams 30 top scored as Spa were dismissed for 106 with Miller 4-13 and Seddon 3-9 doing the damage.

Highway started well and were cruising at 45 for 1, with Seddon making 26, but spinners Raj Jabarkhain 2-10 and Jay Jolil turned the match on its head. Jolil returned astonishing figures of 5-2, included a hat-trick, as Highway collapsed to 58 all out.

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