KENILWORTH Wardens remain in a Birmingham League Premier Division relegation dog fight following their defeat to title-chasing Berkswell.
The defeat means Wardens need one win from their remaining two games to stay up.
Skipper Mark Pidgeon lost the toss but welcomed the opportunity to bowl first on a wicket which offered some pace and bounce.
Wardens seamers Paul Rowe and Tommy Rex tested the opening batsmen, restricting runs within the first power play but couldn’t find the first wicket to set them on their way.
The introduction of spinner Matt Hancock brought immediate success.
inding turn and bounce from the off, he dismissed Marco Higgins who struggled all the way through his innings, with Max Silvester taking a smart catch behind the stumps.
Fellow opener Mohammed Ahmed soon followed after he holed out in the deep to give Hancock his second wicket.
While Wardens managed to stem the flow of runs, the visitors kept wickets in hand with Chris Whittock and Nick James taking the score to 126-2 off 34 overs before part time seamer Gary Maynard removed the former, with Paul Rowe diving one-handed on the boundary to take arguably the catch of the season.
Wardens sensed the opportunity to run through the Berkswell line-up, however, James and the free flowing hitting of Tom Lewis had other ideas.
Lewis hit five sixes and eight fours as he cantered to 83 not out off just 52 balls.
Dan Mousley picked up the wicket of James (57) late on but dropped catches and some poor ground fielding allowed the away side to take the game away from Wardens as they finished their 50 overs on 266-4.
In reply the home side got off to a poor start, with Harry Johnson and Robin De Regt falling victims to tight bowling from one time Derbyshire bowler Tom Milnes.
Finn McCreath and Silvester soon followed from excellent seam bowling at the other end and Wardens hopes of maximum points had disappeared at 44-4.
Middle order contributions from Dan Mousely (33) and Rex (16) helped push Wardens towards three figures.
However, Rex was then caught in the deep off Ahmed to leave Wardens on 97-8.
With Seager unable to bat, Rowe joined Hancock at the crease with the pair needing three runs for a vital batting point.
The tailenders wasted no time reaching their mini target with Rowe launching James for consecutive boundaries.
The score reached 150 and a second batting point soon looked on the cards as the reintroduction of paceman Grant Thornton saw Rowe play some destructive strokes, taking 14 off the over.
Once Rowe’s stumps were castled off the final ball of the over, the Wardens reply terminated on 140 leaving them 13 points off the drop zone.
Wardens must now win either against either Smethwick on Saturday or fellow strugglers Ombersley the following weekend to guarantee survival and ensure Premier Division cricket stays at Glasshouse Park in 2019.