ANOTHER fluent innings from Scott Stenning guided Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable eight-wicket Birmingham League Premier Division at home to Kidderminster Victoria on Saturday.
Having won the toss and inserted the visitors on a worn wicket, it was not long before Wardens turned to spin in search of an early breakthrough.
Despite another impressive opening spell from Rajan Bhatti (7-2-14-0), it was hard work for the seamers and the breakthrough only came when Anthony Wilkinson had Richard Kimberlin caught behind by Keith Bell with the score on 38.
A tight spell by Udit Talati, in which some prodigious turn was extracted from the pitch, was rewarded with the wickets of Michael Hill (9) and Neil Pinner (6), and at 77-3 Kidderminster looked in some trouble.
Craig Wood counter-attacked for the visitors but was removed for 24 by the veteran Sitanshu Kotak, leaving only Worcestershire’s Matthew Pardoe to provide resistance to Wardens’ spin attack.
Wickets fell at regular intervals and Kidderminster limped from 117-4 to 177 all out, with Pardoe’s fine 85 the only innings of any substance. Kotak returned 4-45, Wilkinson 4-55 and Talati 2-35.
The home side’s reply started in typically bullish fashion, with Nick Seager smashing 35 from just 33 balls as Wardens chalked up a 50-run opening partnership.
Seager’s dismissal did little to alter the course of the innings, as Stenning joined Bell at the crease and the pair took Wardens to within striking distance before Bell’s stylish 42 was brought to an end by Kimberlin with the score 137-2.
Kotak looked in little trouble as he stroked 19 off the Kidderminster spinners, but it was Stenning’s resolute 68 that eased the home side to victory with ten overs to spare.
Mid-table Wardens go into Saturday’s 50-over fixture against visitors Shrewsbury with confidence, but knowing they must keep winning to secure another season of Premier Division cricket in 2015.
A WINNING draw and 17 points from Saturday’s game against visitors Brewood continued Leamington’s excellent Birmingham League Division Two season and left them 40 points above second placed Penkridge.
The gap to third placed Stourbridge is 57 points and with just six matches remaining – the first of which is Saturday’s visit of local rivals Coventry & North Warwickshire to Arlington Avenue – Spa look certainties to win promotion.
Brewood won the toss and elected to bowl and, despite losing Jonathan Wigley early for 5, Shahbaz Alam and Max Webber put on a fine 96-run partnership for the second wicket.
Webber (54) compiled his second successive score of 50 or more and Brewood were up against it from the start when opening bowler Dave Wedge pulled up after three deliveries before Alam and captain David Bailey took full advantage as the pair added an excellent partnership of 139 for the third wicket.
When Bailey departed for a well made 70, the pair had accelerated nicely to take the score to 254. Lee Hopkins then added a quickfire 32 to help Leamington reach a formidable 309-6 from their 55 overs.
Alam, who fell with three balls of the innings remaining, compiled a masterful 132 and must be the in-form batsman in the league with scores of 43no, 58, 85 and 132 in his last four innings. For Brewood, Day was the pick of the bowlers with 4-107 from his 17 overs.
In reply, Brewood lost a series of early wickets to accurate bowling from Grant Thornton (14-4-44-2) and Tom Warner (12-1-34-1) as they slid to 48-3.
The introduction of spin then pegged the visitors back even further as spin-twins Mark Ashcroft (2-38) and Nabeel Ashgar (1-27) ripped through the heart of the middle order to reduce Brewood to 133-7.
However, with the best part of 20 overs to go, Leamington failed to take any more wickets as Bird (28no) and the injured Wedge (29no) batted admirably to put on 70 for the eighth wicket and deny Leamington a full 24 points as the visitors closed on 203-7.
FOUR Oaks Saints proved too strong for hosts Kenilworth who suffered a 38-run defeat in the Warwickshire League Premier Division on Saturday as they were bowled out for 204 with more than eight overs remaining.
Saints had posted 242-6 with Ridgeway top scored with an unbeaten 74, whilst four other players posted scored in the 20s and 30s.
Spinner Phil Edmonds was the most successful Kenilworth bowler, taking 3-49, whilst Jorjeet Singh and Dave Edmunds took the other wickets.
The home side were then struggling when on 64-5 despite Chris Prophet scoring 21 but it was Gregg Peebles and Guy Pearson who gave Kenilworth hope as they shared in an excellent sixth-wicket 114-run partnership.
Peebles made 73 from 92 balls including five boundaries and a six and Pearson a hard-hitting 62 from 39 which saw him hit 11 boundaries.
However, once they were out, the tail fell away quickly as the last five wickets fell for only 26 runs, with Holley picking up 5-53, Brome 2-69, Minas 2-25 and Westlake 1-22 for Saints.
Kenilworth are tenth in the table heading into Saturday’s trip to Nuneaton, who are one place and six points better off.