October 24th, 2016

Leamington survive the rain but lose out to title-chasers Berkswell

Updated: 1:49 pm, Jun 30, 2016

ONCE again the local cricket programme was hit by the heavy downpour over the weekend but LEAMINGTON’s game at early pace-setters Berkswell was one of few fixtures that survived the rain.

Leamington are rooted to the bottom of the Birmingham Premier League table but they have produced a couple of notable performances that led to pre-match predictions of a possivle upset.

Having been inserted to bat first, Leamington made a reasonable start with Jon Wigley notching 37 before becoming the second victim of former Warwickshire man Tom Milnes.

The middle order pair of Alex Mellor and Nick Couzens batted calmly, with both making 42 before succumbing to spinner Nick James, who went on to take four wickets in total.

At 140 for 3 the wheels fell off Leamington’s wagon as they lost seven wickets for 16 runs, with slow bowler Mohammed Ahmed helping himself to four late-order wickets as the visitors were dismissed for 156 from 45.5 overs.

Berkswell were never in trouble in their reply and chased down the modest target with ease.

Oliver Haley fell for 49 and Mark Best, formerly of Leamington, continued his excellent form with 66 as Berkswell opened with a century partnership.

The end came quickly for Leamington with another Spa old boy at the crease, Tom Lewis, scoring 15 not out as Berkswell finished on 158 for 2 from 27 overs.

KENILWORTH WARDENS’ match also survived the rain and Basit Zaman’s brilliant unbeaten 122 single-handedly took his side to a two-wicket Birmingham Premier League win at Ombersley.

The hard-hitting right-hander smashed six sixes and ten fours on his way to a quite outstanding innings which enabled the visitors to pass their 189-run target in the 41st over.

A sluggish surface offered considerable help to the spinners and was perfect for the hosts’ accurate attack, but Zaman never allowed them to settle.

At times it appeared he was playing on a different planet to both his own teammates, who collectively were 65 for eight, and the hosts, none of whom had earlier batted with any fluency.

Zaman arrived at the crease when Arjun Bath fell to a good ball from Ted Bayliss, after which he watched a combination of poor batting, scrambled thinking and bad luck reduce Wardens’ chase to 55 for six.

However, skipper Donald (17) then joined him in a pivotal seventh wicket stand that added 62, before he fell to a good delivery from home skipper Arti Fiaz.

This cleared the way for Tom Brammer to join Zaman in a 48-run eighth wicket alliance, which forced Ombersley to turn back to slow left-armer Matt Rawnsley (2 for 49) and off-spinner Ollie Uffindall (3 for 58).

Although this brought about the downfall of Brammer, Junead Zaman then kept his younger brother company until the hosts passed the finishing post.

Junead had earlier bowled 17 unchanged overs of tidy medium pace during which he claimed the wicket of dangerous opener Liam Gwynne (31) on his way to the fine return of 2-55.

Wardens spinners Scott Stenning (2 for 54) and Basit (1 for 46) then kept Indian star Uday Kaul (55 from 106 balls) in check, although he added a useful 75 with fifth wicket partner Uffindall (36), as Ombersley closed on a slightly above-par 188 for eight.

The result keeps fourth-placed Wardens in touch with surprise leaders Wolverhampton and the second-placed Berkswell, and extends Martin Donald’s team’s unbeaten run to four matches.

KENILWORTH hosted Pak Shaheen for their Warwickshire Division One match on Saturday but due to heavy and persistent rain, only three overs were possible.

The visitors chose to bat first and ended on 5 for 1 with Steve Rhodes picking up the wicket as both sides took four points.