A DEVASTATING spell of bowling from Prerak Mankad helped Kenilworth Wardens to a maximum 24-point victory over Ombersley in the Birmingham League Premier Division on Saturday.
Skipper Mark Pidgeon won the toss and chose to bat on a dry, worn surface.
Wardens raced to 30 without loss off four overs, thanks to opener Nick Seager (25 off 16 balls), before former Worcestershire and Hampshire all-rounder Gareth Andrew tore through the top order to leave Kenilworth struggling at 37-4.
A period of rebuilding from the patient Finn McCreath (29) and the return to form of Harry Johnson (40) allowed Wardens to creep over the 100 mark, before the economical Oliver Uffindhall had him caught behind to a ball which turned and bounced and showed just how hard runs were to come by.
Andrew then returned to the attack to take the last four wickets to finish with 7-34 off 16.4 overs as the Wardens innings terminated on 144.
In reply Ombersley got off to the worst possible start as Mankad picked up three wickets in an over to remove dangerous Worcestershire prospects Josh Haynes, Joshua Dell and Nicholas Hammond.
At the other end, Liam Gwynne (40) played positively, dispatching Paul Rowe for a maximum to offer the away side some hope.
However, Mankad had other ideas, having Andrew (0) caught behind to a fantastic catch by Max Silvester and Ollie Steele (3) LBW to leave Ombersley in disarray at 38-5.
Once Gwynne departed, Wardens sensed victory and club stalwart Matt Hancock picked up two wickets to leave the away side requiring 69 with just two wickets remaining.
Mankad then stepped up to remove the off stumps of both skipper Arti Fiaz and Neil Slade for ducks, leaving Wardens winners by 66 runs.
Mankad finished the innings with an incredible return of 8-28 from his 11.2 overs.
Pidgeon’s side entertain strugglers Barnt Green on Saturday, hoping to make it two wins on the bounce.
The Seconds consolidated top spot in the Premier Division Second Xi table with victory over Tamworth.
Captain Paul Henderson won the toss and the away team started brightly moving to 70-1 before Sam Neale (26) fell to the impressive young Aron Thomson (3-47).
Ben Rex (3), who started brightly, then followed and a small collapse enforced by good bowling from he home side saw Wardens slip to 119-6.
Some lower order runs from Tommy Rex (20), Johnathan Phillips (17 not out) and Rahul Trividi (20no) guided Wardens to a competitive 171 from their 50 overs.
On a deteriorating pitch, young opening blower Tommy Rex worked his way through the top order with four wickets in his opening six overs.
Backed up by reliable opening partner Joe Jordan (0-27), Wardens battled through to the first drinks break.
Suffering the loss of Ben Rex to a fielding injury, Tamworth chipped away at Wardens total.
Henderson continued his fine form with the ball in dry conditions to rip through the middle order and claim an experienced 5-33.
Tommy Rex’s re-introduction brought the final wicket, when the No.11 was bowled by the young seamer to finish on 5-38 from 10.5 overs.
The Thirds recorded their sixth Cotswold Hills League Division Two victory of the season with a 23-run win over The Lenches.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Wardens were soon reduced to 10-2 to the opening bowling partnership of Al White (2-25) and Toby Turner (2-28).
Paul Jacobs (24) and Simon Gough (15) set about re-building the innings, but the fall of regular wickets in the middle order left Wardens struggling at 79-5.
However, good contributions from Tom Mordey (37) and Tom Ballinger (24) initially took the score up to 140-8, before a fine unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 69 between Amun Bal (55no) and Matt Davies (13no) boosted Wardens score to a competitive 209-8 off their 45 overs.
Ian Unwin (2-32) and Charlie Brooks (2-79) were the other wicket takers for The Lenches.
In response, The Lenches lost a couple of early wickets, with Matt Davies (2-48) and Nick Whiting (1-32) reducing the Visitors to 19-2, before Toby Turner and Al White continued their impressive contribution to the fixture with a third-wicket stand of 113.
Turner was then dismissed by Ollie Morgan-Jones (1-39).
White continued to plough a lone furrow in the victory chase, but tight bowling from the impressive Amun Bal (0-27 off ten overs), ensured the required run rate proved too great.
The Lenches eventually closed on 186-4 off their 45 overs with White posting an unbeaten 121 in the process.
The Fourths managed to record a remarkable tie in their Division Six fixture away to Lapworth Seconds.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Lapworth made a solid start with openers Paul Lewis (13) and Ben Wright (27) putting on 50 for the first wicket.
However, good bowling from Wardens finally achieved the breakthrough, and when Wright fell to Keith Berry with the score on exactly 50, it instigated a mini collapse with four wickets falling in quick succession to leave Lapworth on 60-4.
Berry (2-19) and Harry Jefferies-Readman (2-25) doing the damage.
The hosts set about re-building their innings, and James Buckle and Tanveer Choudhry (35) came together to put on 96 for the fifth wicket and lay the foundations for the home side to reach 201-7 off their 45 overs, with Buckle making an undefeated 82.
Luke Colling taking a promising 2-58 on his return to the Wardens senior sides after injury.
Wardens made a shaky start to the pursuit of the victory target, with three wickets falling early to Adam Carter (3-28) and Steve Seeley (2-37) to leave the visitors at 31-3.
Jack Vickery and Stuart Johnson then steadied the ship with a 50-run partnership for the fourth wicket, before Johnson was run out for 12.
Vickery then took charge of the innings, and despite losing regular wickets, gradually edged Wardens closer to their target.
However, in a nail-biting finish, with Wardens needing between five and six runs per over, the visitors were reduced to 188-8 and then 198-9 as the game came to a head.
As the game entered it’s final over, Wardens needed four runs for victory, and Lapworth one wicket.
Wardens had taken three runs off the first two balls to bring the scores level, when remarkably Tanveer Choudhry managed to bowl Vickery for 123 to leave the game tied with Wardens on 201 all out from 44.3 overs.
In contrast, the Fifths secured a comfortable nine-wicket victory in their Division Seven clash at The Lenches Seconds.
With the home side winning the toss and electing to bat first, only Pete Williams, with a fine 54, and Jordan Laird (33) made double figures as The Lenches fell away to just 124 all out in the 34th over.
Steve Axcell (2-32), Sanjiv Ramabhadran (3-19) and Nitin Khatavkhar (3-2) were the main wicket takers.
In response, Wardens’ openers Nick Lewis and Tharun Rajasekar put on 87 for the first wicket before Lewis fell for a well played 44.
His partner Rajasekar continued on to see his side home, scoring an unbeaten 45 as Wardens reached 125-1 in the 23rd over to secure the win.