A SUPERB unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 131 between Scott Stenning and Harry Johnson carried Kenilworth Wardens to a six-wicket win over visitors West Bromwich Dartmouth and keeps them third in the Birmingham Premier League.
The pair came together when the hosts’ quest for 152 had been reduced to 22 for four by a devastating new-ball burst from Mohammad Fahim Jam, who claimed 4 for 35.
They proceeded to stabilise the innings before becoming more expansive against Dartmouth’s change bowlers and eventually steering Wardens to victory.
Earlier seamers Junead Zaman (4 for 36) and Brinder Phagura (3 for 34) had used a sluggish Glasshouse Park pitch to such good effect that the visitors were bowled out with seven of their 55-over allocation unused.
Dartmouth progressed with few difficulties to 53 for one before a sequence of batsmen were dismissed trying to force the pace.
Ateeq Javid (18) edged a flamboyant drive to second slip, Kadeer Ali (31) dragged on and the threatening Ruki de Silva (22) chipped to mid-wicket as the visitors subsided to 116 for eight.
Phagura’s usual immaculate line and length reaped rich rewards against his former club, while Zaman bowled an intelligent spell during which he wore down the patience of the visiting batsmen.
The arrival of former Worcestershire and England all-rounder Kabir Ali, who made a 51-ball 37, eventually gave Dartmouth something to bowl at, and when Jam struck four times with the new ball the 2014 champions were in control of the match.
However, Wardens’ batting has good depth and with plenty of time remaining the fifth wicket pair settled in against Dartmouth’s slow bowlers who got little assistance from the unresponsive surface.
This enabled former skipper Stenning to build an excellent 102-ball 67, while 17-year-old Johnson again batted with huge maturity against an attack containing three former county cricketers.
His second top-flight half-century included six boundaries, and he eventually finished with a fine 104-ball unbeaten 55 when the hosts crossed the line in the 48th over.
The result keeps Martin Donald’s side in third place and they now sit 24 points behind leaders Berkwell.