KENILWORTH Wardens picked up eight valuable points towards their quest for Birmingham League Premier Division survival on Saturday after holding on for a losing draw at in-form Smethwick.
Skipper Mark Pidgeon inserted the hosts after winning the toss and Wardens immediately took advantage as two wickets apiece for Warwickshire Academy star Finn McCreath and the league’s leading wicket-taker Prerak Mankad saw Smethwick slip to 49-4.
Former Warwickshire and Derbyshire all-rounder Mo Sheikh (21) and captain Vikram Sodhi (24) provided some middle-order stability for the home side, before Warwickshire spinner Sukhjit Singh came to the crease and took the game away from the visitors with some brutal hitting.
Supported by Shahid (39), Singh smashed 12 fours and four sixes in a splendid knock of 107 not out as Smethwick closed on 268-9.
Mankad was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 63.
The early wickets of Wardens openers Maynard (7) and Seager (12) saw the visitors stumble to 24-2 before some positive hitting from Robin De Regt and McCreath took them to just shy of 100 before De Regt departed for 37.
Singh then showed his quality with the ball, dismissing Mankad and the dangerous Harry Johnson before Wardens chose to shut up shop and play for the draw.
The unfortunate run out of Brammer by the apologetic Anthony (8 not out) did not help matters, however, with the support of the veteran No.11 Matt Hancock, the Wardens reply closed on 186-9.
Wardens entertain strugglers Ombersley at Glasshouse Lane this Saturday.
The Seconds had to settle for a losing draw at home to Attock in the Premier Division Second XI, despite 50s from Ben Rex and James May as well as three wickets for Tommy Rex.
Meanwhile,13-year-old Dan Harris made it nine wickets in two games with another three.
Stand in skipper Dan Wood won the toss and chose to field first.
After a wayward start which left Attock going at near ten an over off the first six, Joe Jordan (0-32) exerted some control with some tight bowling before spin twins Rex (2-50) and Rahul Trivedi (2-43) continued the good work.
There were useful contributions from Zahoor Azam (42) and the destructive Amjad Zaman (50), the later of whom tore into the spinners towards the end of their spells.
Good work towards the end from the teenage seamers Rex (3-57) and Harris (3-57) saw the Attock tail removed relatively cheaply and finishing on a very respectable but by no means unchasable 254.
The Wardens chase looked comfortable with the 100 coming up without the loss of a wicket in just 21 overs through some nice stroke play from Rex (54) and May (52).
However, with the introduction of spinner Azam (5-51) the runs began to dry up before May was well caught on the boundary.
Wickets two, three, four and five then came in quick succession with the full wardens wobble well under way.
Eian Marillier, Harry Butler, Rex and Daniel Phillips were all caught off the bowling of Azam.
Jonathan Phillips was then quickly removed as Wardens found themselves 154-6 still needing a further 100.
This began to look possible with Wood and Rex at the crease, the latter who scored 48 off just 34 deliveries with some delightful shots.
When these two wickets both fell in quick succession to the bowling of Taimur Khan, Wardens shut up shop with Trivedi and Harris blocking out well leaving Wardens with nine points from the game.
The Thirds fell to a disappointing 67-run defeat in their Division Two Cotswold Hills League fixture at Norton Lindsey & Wolverton Seconds.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bat first, NL&W made steady progress in the face of some good Wardens bowling.
Opener Mark White top scored with 42, but with meaningful contributions from Ian Baber (37), T Dhanjal (30*), James Robins (28) and K Kite (21), the hosts managed to reach 200-6 off their 45 overs.
Matt Davies (2-37), Nick Whiting (1-31) and Amun Ball (1-28) were the pick of the Wardens bowlers.
In response Wardens made an equally solid start, with 27 from Fred Rex and 24 from Ollie Morgan-Jones taking them to 107-3 and a potentially match winning position.
However, the dismissal of Morgan-Jones was the start of a dramatic fall of wickets which resulted in Wardens being dismissed for just 133 in the 39th over.
Steve Delos (4-16) and Kite (4-37) sharing eight of the wickets to fall.
The Fourths returned to winning ways with a 62-run victory in their Division Six fixture at home to Winchcombe Seconds.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bat, Wardens got off to a brisk start, with openers John Casey and Les Reid putting on 55 for the first wicket before Casey (32) fell to the bowling of Haydn Bessant (1-38).
Wardens made further progress to 169-2 with good contributions from Joe Mills (39) and Harry Jeffreries-Readman (28).
The dismissal of Readman on 169 then brought a flurry of wickets, and when Reid was dismissed for a fine 56, Wardens had been reduced to 177-7.
Ultimately it was left to Chris Porter who hit a rapid 24 runs to take Wardens to 217 for 9 off their 45 overs.
In response, Winchcombe were soon under pressure from some fine bowling by an unlucky Christian Salisbury (1-24) and Chris Porter, but opener Harry Davies kept their victory hopes alive with a positive 47.
Only after his dismissal with the score at 70-2 did Wardens begin to take control of the match, and despite good contributions from J Allen (25) and Will Howe (27), fine bowling from Readman (3-21), Tharun Rajasekar (2-17) and Sam Johnson (1-30) eventually saw the visitors bowled out for 155 in the 37th over.
The Fifths recorded another victory with a 107-run success in their Division Seven fixture with Earlswood Fifths.
Having been asked to bat first, Wardens made a solid 175-6 thanks in the main to an excellent 75 from Charlie Johnson, supported by Neil Johnson (25) and Alfie Porter (17 not out).
Richard Jackson (3-45) and Lewis Smith (2-17) the most successful Earlswood bowlers.
In response, Earlswood struggled from the off, with an early run out, and wickets for Charlie Johnson (2-27) and Dan Barrie (2-12) helping reduce the visitors to 34-6.
Some middle order resistance from Geoff Brown (17) and Lewis Smith (14) delayed the inevitable, but the introduction of Sam O’Connell (4-4) saw Earlswood quickly fall to 68 all out after 21 overs.