A JAMES Middleton masterclass condemned Kenilworth Wardens to their sixth defeat of the season, as Walsall stormed to a nine-wicket victory at Glasshouse Park.
The Wardens’ total of 219-8 was beaten in the 49th over, much in part to Middleton’s unbeaten 136 – which included 20 hits into the boundary in the Birmingham & District Premier Division One clash.
Walsall won the toss and put the hosts into bat first – who lost openers Nick Seager (2) and Keith Bell (7) in the early stages of the game.
Ben Rex (15) and Harry Johnson (21) put on 27 to boost Kenilworth’s total, but their dismissals preceded a collapse to the batting order.
Nathan Edwards (3), Tom Brammer (4), Mohammed Haroon (8) and James Sykes (16) all had short batting stints, leaving the Wardens on 92-8.
But a stunning display by Richard Linfield, who came narrowly close to a century with an unbeaten 98 that included nine fours and seven sixes from 58 balls faced – formed a unbeaten partnership of 127 with Mark Pidgeon (26) to take Wardens to their final score.
Walsall made a bad start in reply when Dannyjo Cox (0) was caught by Harry Johnson from the second ball delivered by Tommy Rex, but from there the duo of Shoaib Akhtar (78) and Middleton steered the visitors to victory.
Their unbeaten partnership of 220 was too hot to handle, lifting Walsall into third and keeping the Wardens rock bottom.
Kenilworth face another tough task this Saturday (noon), when visiting fourth-placed Knowle & Dorridge.