LEAMINGTON maintained their outstanding start to the Birmingham League Division Two season after holding their nerve to come away from Tamworth with a hard-fought winning draw and 14 points.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the visitors could not have got off to a better start as Shahbaz Alam and Jonathan Wigley put on a magnificent 161 for the opening partnership as they ran the home side ragged through a combination of quick singles and lusty blows.
Wigley eventually fell for 80, well caught in the deep, but the visitors maintained their momentum as David Bailey (24) and Mark Ashcroft (30) helped take Leamington to a formidable 280-6 off their 55 overs.
The star of the show, however, was Alam who, despite being short of runs so far this season, showed his class once again with a wonderful 111. For the home side, captain Mike Talbot returned figures of 4-67.
In reply, despite losing Orton early LBW to Tom Warner for 7, the home side got off to a flyer as Talbot (45) and Flower (42) set about the large run chase.
Even after Talbot and Flower were out to Grant Thornton and Faisal Khalid respectively, the home side kept coming at the visitors as the experienced Stuart Burrows was joined by former Worcestershire player Jack Manuel.
Mark Ashcroft then clean bowled Manuel for (22) and, when Bailey superbly ran out Burrows for 55, the visitors felt they were well and truly in the driving seat.
This was not the case as the game continued to ebb and flow and, with Tamworth requiring 80 off the last ten overs, they then whittled it down to needing 11 off the last over.
Grant Thornton was given the task of bowling the last over and in a very tense finish he held his nerve as the hosts fell just short on 277-6, meaning Leamington took the majority of the points with a winning draw.
The result was harsh on McNulty who contributed a brilliant 45 not out to nearly guide his side home. For Leamington, the pick of the bowlers were Faisal Khalid (1-39) and Mark Ashcroft (2-65).
The result means Leamington are still unbeaten this season and, with Stourbridge losing to Eastnor, Leamington’s lead at the top of the table has now extended to 54 points ahead of Saturday’s visit of Old Elizabethans.
KENILWORTH had much the better of Saturday’s Warwickshire League Premier Division visit of Handsworth and deservedly took most of the spoils with a winning draw and 18 points.
The side posted 252 all out thanks to a solid fifth wicket, 136-run partnership between Neil Goodman (92) and Chris Prophet (60). Goodman’s innings included eight boundaries and five sixes, whilst Prophet hit eight boundaries.
This was after the foundations has been laid by Adie Sellar who hit 28 and Dave Edmunds 29. Smith took 4-56 and Johnson 3-28 for Handsworth who could only make 226-9 in reply thanks to some tight Kenilworth bowling and fielding.
Despite Weinand making 85, Dawkins 49 and Buchannan 36, the visitors were unable to keep up with the required run rate as Phil Edmonds took 3-55, Tom Pope 2-56 and Dave Edmunds 2-28, whilst Goodman and Joe Boyle each took a wicket.
Kenilworth will look to build on this encouraging performance when they visit Bablake OB on Saturday.