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27th Oct, 2021

Wardens hold their nerve to edge another thriller

Correspondent 21st Jul, 2021

FOUR wickets apiece for Tommy Rex and Jabez Weale edged Kenilworth Wardens to a thrilling 13-run Birmingham Premier League Division Two home win over Pelsall.

The visitors’ quest for a much-needed success progressed comfortably to 106 for three in response to Wardens’ below-par 199 for nine

But after Warwickshire prospect Rex and former Warwick University skipper Weale shared six quick wickets, Alex Jones was left stranded with an unbeaten 67 as his team were dismissed for 186.

Having lost seven wickets for 80, relegation-threatened Pelsall were left to reflect on what might have been – and that the Rex-Weale combo had previously rescued an unlikely final-ball away win for their team when the clubs met in Walsall in May.

Meanwhile, close finish specialists Wardens have returned to the second promotion position where they sit just ahead of Himley and Barnards Green.

Captain Harry Johnson was quick to praise the duo’s efforts and to acknowledge that winning tight games is a useful habit to develop.

“That takes us above Himley into second place,” he said. “We’ve got ourselves in a good position and now need to remain consistent to make a push for promotion

“It’s a good sign that although we are individually not performing as well as we can, we’re still finding ways to win games and keep ourselves in the mix.

“All season someone has stepped up to get us over the line in these tight games; this is something that could well be important at the end of the year.

“Tommy was excellent again, stacking up the vast majority of his deliveries in a great area which forced the batters to play. He gets movement off the pitch throughout the innings and is always a threat.

“Jabez really came into his own with the old ball and bowled with some good pace.

“The pitch was quite slow and low so it was difficult to score, while the newer ball offered some assistance to the bowlers.

“As the ball got older it got slightly easier; Andy Leering and Tommy batted brilliant punishing the bad balls to propel us to a very competitive total.”

After being asked to bat first, seven of the home side’s top eight made it to double-figures, but none went on to a meaningful score.

Instead, the hosts were grateful to seventh-wicket pairing Leering and Rex for getting them to a working total.

The Welsh all-rounder made a well-judged 48-ball 40 including four boundaries before his dismissal provided the cue for Rex (31) to shepherd the tail while 33 further runs were added.

The home wickets were shared between Pelsall’s five-man attack.

Visiting opener Jake Lee then shook off the loss of two early wickets to strike ten boundaries in a quickfire 46.

But it was Jones who steered Pelsall towards the finish line with a patient knock spanning nearly 50 overs.

His unbeaten 67 finally came from 145 balls with a six and seven fours – and while he was adding 23 in the company of no.10 Kiran Patel the visitors remained on course to claim the spoils.

However, Weale who finished with 4-36 and Rex (4-55) had other ideas, and when Johnson ran out last man Ben Nightingale, Wardens had secured a maximum 24-point return.

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