A SENSATIONAL batting display from Harry Johnson earned crucial points for Kenilworth Wardens in a winning draw at Shifnal.
Johnson’s 92 runs from 98 balls faced helped the Wardens finish on a 297 total with two balls remaining, while James Sykes took five wickets to limit Shifnal to a 264-8 score in the Birmingham & District Premier Division One clash.
The 15 points gained from Saturday’s fixture take Kenilworth over the 100 points mark, meaning the Wardens are now 44 points from Walsall outside the relegation zone.
Opener Ben Rex (14) and number three Nathan Edwards (6) were the first to go, before a stand of 54 between Jacob Bethell (30) and Johnson got the Wardens up and running.
Nick Seager (34) was the next batsman to benefit from the presence of talisman Johnson, as the pair put together a partnership worth 56.
Johnson was eventually gone by the fifth wicket at 203-5, after being caught by Chad Brandrick off a Steven Leach delivery, ending his highest-scoring partnership of 61 with Harry Butler (47).
The steady run rate continued despite Sykes’ (23) premature dismissal, as Butler and Richard Linfield (45) hit 50 for the seventh wicket.
Butler’s dismissal prompted a tailend collapse as Mark Pidgeon (0), Tommy Rex (0) and Joe Jordan (0) were all run out in the space of four balls, with the Wardens finishing just shy of the 300-run mark.
In reply, Shifnal’s Steven Leach (21) and Jack Edwards (51) put on 41 for the opening wicket, before the dismissals of Ismail Anwar (18) and James Sookias (2) in quick succession by Sykes (5-63) and Jacob Bethell respectively.
Shifnal recovered through the fourth-wicket partnership of 39 between Edwards and Ross Aucott (69), with the latter departing hitting 94 with Chris Murrall (51) in the fifth wicket.
Murrall was the fourth victim to fall to Sykes after being caught by Linfield, while Mitchell Stanley (1) also departed soon after when being run out by Nathan Edwards.
Jack Twigger (7) was the final wicket to fall going into the final over, with Chad Brandrick (33no) unable to claim any further runs as the hosts finished on 264-8.
The Wardens now look to build some momentum when hosting second-placed Shrewsbury at Glasshouse Park on Saturday (noon).