SKIPPER Harry Johnson paid tribute to Kenilworth Wardens’ efficient bowling, after hitting a ton and helping his side edge to victory over Pelsall by a single run.
The Wardens continued their 100 per cent winning start to the season, one of only three clubs in Birmingham & District Premier Division Two to do so, after successfully defending their 240 total in a nail-biting finale against the Walsall hosts.
Club captain Johnson expressed his relief at seeing the Wardens get over the line.
“It was great to see Jabez [Weale] and Tom [Mordey] hold their nerve and bowl the way they did at the death to get us over the line,” said Johnson.
“Our score was probably slightly under par before a good start with the ball pegged them back.
“After a couple of partnerships it was clear it was going to be tight, and it ended up being an amazing win.”
And with a tough encounter against fellow front-runners Bromsgrove to come on Saturday, there is hope that a victory will give a real indication of Kenilworth’s title credentials this term.
“It’s been a great start to the season with different players stepping up in all three games, but there’s always room for improvement and we’re still seeking a full team performance,” added the Wardens skipper.
“Bromsgrove are also unbeaten and look a really strong side this year so it will be good to test ourselves and see where we’re at.”
Kenilworth made a steady start after being put into bat by hosts Pelsall, navigating their way to 73-3 after the fall of Nick Seager (33), Keith Bell and Ali Zaryab Asif (both 12).
But with the arrival of number four Johnson (107), the visitors kicked into another gear entirely. He combined well with Henry Cullen (25) in a 64-run stand – Kenilworth’s best in the innings – and then kicked on when his batting partner was dismissed.
Though he was unable to replicate that success with any of his subsequent teammates, Johnson’s heroics carried the away side close to their eventual total until falling for the ninth wicket and Kenilworth’s charge ended soon after in the 49th over.
Pelsall’s reply began slowly. Tommy Rex (2-40) and Mordey (2-35) found success early on to cause a stumble from the hosts at 33-3, before Todd Henderson (32) and Jake Lee (37) partnered for 71 runs. While a middle-order collapse had Pelsall on the ropes, Andrew Bentley (51) and Tom Wright (48) changed the outlook of the game to bring the hosts within touching distance of victory.
However, after a partnership of 101, both headed into the pavilion in quick succession, leaving Mordey and Weale to see out Kenilworth’s third win this term.
Meanwhile, Dorridge’s concession of their Twenty20 Challenge Cup first-round tie means Kenilworth will meet Division One Leamington in the second round on Sunday, May 23.