LEAMINGTON remain outside the Birmingham League Division One relegation places thanks to a valuable two-wicket home victory over Bromsgrove on Saturday.
The visitors won the toss and understandably batted first on another scorching afternoon. They made a confident start against a Spa side which lacked penetration on a flat wicket, but who bowled with discipline throughout.
The openers put on 87 before Lewis Cordes fell for 32, caught by Nabeel Asghar off fellow spinner Perry Derrick. The prolific Jayden Levitt was joined by Ryan Pedley and they moved through the gears, increasing the tempo until Levitt was run out for 99 in an attempt to reach his century.
Leamington began to reduce the scoring rate as Matt Davison and veteran Neil Smith each took two wickets to peg back Bromsgrove’s middle order.
Pedley reached 57 as Bromsgrove closed on on 251-6 at tea.
For once Leamington made a bright start in the run chase despite losing an early wicket, as skipper Jon Wigley and Waqar Ahmed batted with great authority.
Wigley was leg before to the experienced Mark Evenson – the first of four wickets for Bromsgrove’s star bowler – and a middle-order wobble saw Leamington stutter to 99-4.
However, Ahmed found a willing partner in Matt Payne. They added 55 before Ahmed was caught off Alec Baker for a well-constructed 61.
Payne now took centre stage and found willing accomplices in Smith and Asghar as the target was approached. Both the latter played vital cameo innings but Payne was the star.
He ended unbeaten on 89, including 13 boundaries, as Leamington made 252-8 – earning a two-wicket win with nine balls in hand.
Leamington remain third from bottom of the table, but with a growing gap to the bottom two and within a handful of points of mid-table. Spa visit Malvern outfit Barnards Green on Saturday.
LEAMINGTON 2nds’ run of wins came to a halt as they had to settle for a losing draw in a high-scoring contest at Harborne.
The small dimensions of the Birmingham side’s ground often lead to lots of runs and this was the case on Saturday as the home side mad hay. A third-wicket stand of 110 between Alex Wheatley and Tejas Wagle set up Harborne’s innings nicely and, although Wheatley fell to Couzens for 55 – the first of three wickets for the off-spinner – Wagle found support from the middle and late order.
He made an excellent 124 including seven sixes as Harborne rattled along at a run a ball. Joe Midgley returned to dismiss Wagle and then cut through the tail-enders to end with 5-56 as Harborne closed on 317-9.
A long tea break allowed those interested to watch the football and on resumption Leamington made an excellent start with an opening stand of 94 between David Hawkes and Max Lion.
Hawkes fell for 42 and Lion an excellent 72, but the scoring rate dropped as Sinkinson applied some control for Harborne.
James Silk made 31 but could not really get into top gear and, although Couzens made a rapid 64, the target appeared out of reach for Leamington.
Some lusty late hitting from Billy Hallett (30) and Jason Butler (24no) brought Leamington to 287-7.
The Spa men are joined at the top of the division by Shifnal with all to play for at the halfway stage in the season.