DESPITE a battling effort in the field, Kenilworth Wardens slipped to a six wicket final-ball home defeat at the hands of Barnt Green on the final day of the Birmingham Premier League season.
Martin Donald’s team batted poorly against an accurate visiting attack, well led by skipper Andy Sutton who claimed 4 for 23.
Only Nathan Edwards (51) was able to convert a start into a meaningful score, and Wardens were dismissed in only 36.4 overs for 182.
Brinder Phagura’s two early wickets then gave Donald hope that his final match as skipper after a four-year stint would finish successfully.
However, Sutton steadied the ship with a dogged half-century, which enabled Sam Cheshire to up the tempo and see the visitors home from the final delivery of their 50 overs.
Harry Johnson (19) and Donald (20) both threatened with the bat, but only Edwards, who struck seven boundaries and a six in his 48-ball knock made much impression.
Tail-ender Matt Hancock then finished with an unbeaten 22 which did at least enable the hosts to stay in the contest.
Barnt Green then slipped to 39 for three against Phagura (2 for 13) before Sutton and Cheshire built a match-defining 112 run fourth wicket stand. The visitors’ skipper ground his way through 130 balls for an unbeaten 54, while Cheshire’s 61, which came from only 85, included two fours and four maximums.
Former Leamington spinner Darryl Williams then joined his captain to contribute the breezy unbeaten 20 that saw Green home.
There was joy for Wardens’ second team who won the Birmingham League First Division title thanks to a dominant all-round performance at Barnt Green.
The hosts inserted Wardens on a fantastic Cherry Hill Road wicket and they got off to a strong start with 59-run opening partnership between Ben Rex and Dan Phillips.
When Phillips (26) was bowled it brought de Regt to the crease who with Rex forged a perfect platform for Wardens to accelerate in the final overs of the innings.
Rex missed out on a maiden Birmingham League hundred when he hit a short ball to square leg for a well played 89 and de Regt fell soon after also looking well placed to reach three-figures on 76.
In the final 10 overs, Paul Henderson (49) and Maniak Ray (43) finished off the innings in style elevating Wardens to their highest score of the season of 312 for 5 in their 45 overs.
After tea, both of Wardens opening bowlers made inroads to Barnt Green batting line up with Whiting and Tommy Rex looking to kill any chance of the hosts chasing down the target set.
It was fitting that Mark Pidgeon took the final wicket in his last game in charge as Barnt Green could only reach 155 as Wardens returned to the Premier Division for the first time in 2009.