LEAMINGTON defeated Saturday’s visitors Tamworth by three wickets to be crowned Birmingham League Division Two champions.
Spa went into the game needing one bonus point to be crowned champions and they soon got their wish. Tamworth won the toss and surprisingly elected to bat and Leamington soon reduced the visitors to 30-3.
Tom Warner (7-0-36-2) took two early wickets including that of the dangerous Mike Talbot, second ball of the game, before Grant Thornton (7-3-7-1) took the vital third wicket and, more importantly, guaranteeing the one point Leamington needed to win the league.
A partnership of 41 between Burrows (29) and Maddox looked to rebuild the innings before McNulty (38) helped add some real impetus to the Tamworth innings during an 80-run partnership for the fifth wicket, alongside Maddox who went on to compile a fine uneaten 68.
Max Webber (3-35) bowled brilliantly at the death to ensure Tamworth never got away from the home side as they finished on 179-7 off their 50 overs.
In reply, Leamington got off to a shaky start as they limped to 33-2 with Shahbaz Alam (2) and Ollie Currill (11) both falling early. Max Webber (32) and David Bailey then took the score to 53 before Rob Nield (2-34) had Webber caught behind before bowling Jonathan Wigley first ball.
Lee Hopkins and Mark Ashcroft both fell cheaply as Leamington suddenly slumped to 79-6. Grant Thornton then joined Bailey at the crease as the pair looked to swing the momentum back in Leamington’s favour.
When Thornton fell for an aggressive 24 to an excellent catch in the deep, the score had progressed to 142 thanks to an excellent 63-run partnership. With 38 still required, Tamworth would have really fancied their chances to take the final three wickets, but will be really disappointed with how they bowled towards the end of the innings as 32 wides were gifted to the Leamington score to take a lot of pressure off the home side.
Despite seeing five wickets fall at the other end, Bailey (56no) held his nerve during a real captain’s knock alongside Nabeel Ashgar (11no) as the pair ensured there were no further alarms.
This win is testament to the character shown by Leamington all season as they remain unbeaten after 20 matches and are now 65 points clear at the top of the table heading into Saturday’s penultimate game of the season at Old Elizabethans.
ALL-ROUNDERS Jason Young and Udit Talati were the heroes as Kenilworth Wardens guaranteed Birmingham League Premier Division cricket for 2015 with a thrilling 14-run win in a see-saw match at home to Walmley.
After Young’s superb 84 rescued Wardens from the depths of 18-4 to a competitive 211, the visitors looked to be coasting to a comfortable win at 140-2.
However, off-spinner Talati had other ideas, and he ripped through their batting to claim the fine figures of 5-42, as Walmley slumped to 197 all out in the 49th over.
Wins in their final two matches, against county rivals Berkswell and Knowle & Dorridge, will now deliver a very creditable top half finish in Wardens’ first season back in Midlands’ cricket’s top flight.
Walmley seamers Lewis Harrison (3-13) and Shozair Ali (3-38) did the early damage to the hosts’ top-order, finding lateral movement from a testing length. Fifth-wicket pair Young and Sitanshu Kotak then dug in to see the hardness off the ball, before expanding their ambitions against the change bowlers.
The Indian ace grafted 98 balls for his 45 and following his dismissal Dan Wood provided further solid support to the Zimbabwean right-hander, whose more aggressive approach yielded ten boundaries and two maximums in an excellent even-time 84.
The Walmley response got away to a flying start courtesy of openers Danial Chaudhry (56 from 74 balls) and Harrison (22), who added 65.
Former Scotland batsman Navdeep Poonia (38) then joined Chaudhry to take the chase to 121 for one, before both fell in quick succession. After the dangerous Chris Booth was run out for 23, Talati took centre stage.
He claimed 5-42 from ten excellent overs, to sweep away the visitors’ middle-order. Kotak (2-16) and Matt Hancock (1-28) provided accurate support, as Walmley lost their last six wickets for 21 to slip to a 14-run defeat with ten balls remaining.
IN A TENSE and nail-biting finish, Kenilworth put the weeks of previous disappointments behind them as their last pair successfully held their nerve to seal a crucial one-wicket victory at Handsworth in the Warwickshire League Premier Division on Saturday.
The 20-point win was clinched with seven balls remaining and leaves Kenilworth 31 points above second bottom Fillongley with two matches remaining, the first of which is the visit of Bablake Old Boys on Saturday.
Handsworth had posted 163-8 thanks to a solid century from Crossgill who hit eight boundaries and two sixes in his knock, whilst Folkes added 21 to help the side recover from 73-7 as all the others failed to reach double figures.
Kenilworth’s Gregg Peebles took a superb 4-39, with all his wickets coming in consecutive overs, whilst Joe Boyle chipped in with 2-61 and young Tom Pope a fine 2-20.
In reply, Kenilworth started solidly as Phil Edmonds and skipper Dave Edmunds both made 30 each. James Nason made 27 and Jorjeet Singh 27 as they shared in a gallant and crucial 41-run seventh wicket partnership, but a late tumble of wickets put Kenilworth on edge when so close to the winning line at 160-8, then at 163-9.
However, Pope held firm with an unbeaten 11 whilst number 11 Tom Anscombe strode out to take the accolades as he hit the winning run to give Kenilworth a long-awaited victory on 164-9.