SCOTT Stenning’s masterful 94 steered Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable 70-run home win over Himley in the Birmingham League Premier Division on Saturday.
Wardens’ second win of the campaign saw them collect 20 points and leaves them handily placed in fourth with 53 points ahead of Satrurday’s visit to Kidderminster.
The former skipper stroked 14 boundaries in his entertaining 108-ball knock, as Wardens posted an above-par 241-8. Despite skipper Greg Wright’s accomplished 56, the visitors were then dismissed in 43.5 overs for 171.
Wardens’ openers Keith Bell (26) and Nick Seager (33) posted 74 in good time during the powerplay, as Himley’s seamers struggled for control. Stenning then shared 40-plus stands with Seager, Sitanshu Kotak (15) and skipper Martin Donald (16) to see the hosts to maximum batting points.
Ryan Brown claimed 3-31 and veteran seamer Stuart Wedge 1-23 for Himley, whose attack was hindered by the loss of Mike Jones to injury.
Left-handed opener Wright struck a six and three boundaries in his 84-ball 56, but a wicket apiece for Wardens’ three-strong seam attack soon reduced the visitors’ reply to 84-4.
Wedge (38) then joined his captain to add 41 useful fifth wicket runs, before the hosts’ spinners took the initiative away from them. Left-armers Matt Hancock (2-10) and Kotak (3-43) worked their way through the middle-order, while off-spinner Anthony Wilkinson’s tidy spell ensured Himley were never able to launch a counter-attack that threatened the hosts’ grip on the match.
MARK Pidgeon and Robin de Regt combined to outstanding effect as Wardens 2nd XI maintained their perfect start to the season with an exciting 11-run Division One win over their Shifnal hosts.
A polished 85 continued De Regt’s fine spring campaign, but it was fellow leftie Pidgeon, with the superb figures of 5-29, who played the key role in ensuring the hosts failed to reach their 188-run target.
A slightly slow Shifnal pitch inhibited strokeplay, so only the in-form de Regt and Udit Talati made any significant inroads with the bat. The pair added 65 for the fifth Wardens’ wicket, of which all-rounder Talati, who struck six fours and two sixes in his run-a-ball 42, contributed the lion’s share.
De Regt’s measured contribution spanned 126 balls and included ten immaculately timed boundaries, before he fell to the deserving Alex Riley, who claimed 2-28 from nine tidy overs. Tom Newnes led the way for Shifnal with 3-40, while there was a wicket apiece for the remaining four bowlers.
Veteran Nick Whiting (1-15) and Wardens’ newcomer Rajan Bhatti (1-29) have already developed into a fine new-ball combination and both once again delivered probing spells.
However, Shifnal opener Shaun Lorimer (48) built a useful third wicket stand with Will Clarke, whose 73-ball 53 took the response to a threatening 101-2 before Pidgeon flew to Wardens’ rescue.
His superb return catch removed Clarke, before the lower-order folded meekly, with the last seven wickets falling for the addition of only 39 runs.
Leaders Wardens host Kidderminster on Saturday.
Leamington march on
LEAMINGTON remain the only unbeaten team in Birmingham League Division Two after a stunning six-wicket victory against Whitchurch which leaves them top of the pile.
Having won the toss and electing to bowl first, Leamington made early inroads into the visitors’ top order as Tom Warner and Faisal Khalid (2-61) took two wickets each to reduce Whitchurch to 58-4.
Dimelow (30) and Yousaf then set about a recovery by adding 55 for the fifth wicket, before a couple more quick wickets left the visitors on 160-8.
However, with Yousaf still at the crease and becoming increasingly confident, he started dispatching the home side attack to all parts during a wonderful innings of 115, including some mammoth sixes. He eventually fell to a smart catch on the boundary off Warner (3-47) as the visitors finished on a very competitive 239-9 off their 50 overs.
In reply Leamington got off to a steady start as Shahbaz Alam (19), Mark Lewis (12) and David Bailey (20) all got starts as the score moved to 70-3. The home side needed the best part of eight an over off the last 20 overs after some very disciplined bowling from the visiting attack made scoring difficult but it was the partnership between Mark Ashcroft (42) and Lee Hopkins who really turned the game in Leamington’s favour.
The pair combined quick singles with lusty blows as gradually the run rate fell in Leamington’s favour. The pair had added 95 when Ashcroft fell, caught behind, but skipper Rob Williams picked up from the good work of Ashcroft.
The star of the show was Hopkins, however, who hit a magnificent 93 not out including seven fours and three sixes off only 80 balls, which must be one of the finest innings seen at Arlington Avenue for many a year.
Fittingly, Hopkins hit the winning runs with a huge six to see Leamington home to 242-4 with seven balls remaining. Williams finished on 31 not out as the pair added an unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 77.
Leamington have a nine-point lead at the top ahead of Saturday’s visit to Brewood.
LEAMINGTON 2NDS bagged their first win of the season with a surprisingly comfortable 101-run success at Shrewsbury.
Batting first on a perfect day for cricket, Leamington lost a couple of early wickets, but then prospered through Jon Wigley (39) and Max Webber (42). Once they departed the middle and late order kicked on to post an imposing total.
Jimbo Williams made a fine, undefeated 65, receiving support from Jason Butler (27) and 26 not out from Paul Lawrence as Leamington went to tea on 249-5, leaving Shrewsbury needing exactly five an over to win.
On resumption Leamington’s bowlers made immediate inroads into Shrewsbury’s line-up. Paul Lawrence went for just ten in his opening seven-over spell and the support bowling snapped up wickets on a regular basis.
The match, as a contest, petered out, as Shrewsbury limped to 148-9 in response, giving Leamington victory by 101 runs. The wickets were shared amongst six bowlers.