THE TOP of the table clash in Birmingham & District Premier Division Two went the way of Halesowen last weekend, as Kenilworth Wardens suffered a crushing 48-run defeat at Seth Somers Park.
In a loss that could have grave consequences on the Wardens’ title hopes with just two matches remaining, a 307-8 score recorded by the hosts proved a step too far for Kenilworth’s batsmen – eventually falling short in the 48th over.
Now trailing their rivals by 17 points, the Wardens should be good value for promotion to Division One with a 37-point gap to third-placed Wem, but will now need to rely on results elsewhere in their hunt for silverware.
After a steady start saw Halesowen reach 81-3, a 105-run partnership between Luke Tulacz (93) and skipper Alexei Kervezee (59) sparked the hosts into life, while Wesley Griffiths (54) added an abundance of runs from number six to help pile on the runs – despite the best efforts of Andrew Leering (3-68) and Co.
In reply, the Wardens relied on an equally impressive fourth-wicket partnership of 144 between Henry Cullen (105) and Harry Johnson (81) to get their challenge on track and reach 199-4.
But, once both talismen were gone by the sixth wicket, Halesowen – led by Peter Scott (4-61) – found themselves able to see the job through with relative ease.
On Saturday, Kenilworth go to fourth-placed Barnards Green.
MEANWHILE, Leamington remain ten points behind Division One leaders Berkswell after seeing off Smethwick by six wickets.
In a straightforward win for Spa, the Bloomfield hosts were unable to live with visiting bowler Nick Couzens (5-41) en route to a disappointing 115 total.
Leamington, smelling blood, grasped the opportunity for a quickfire win with both hands, as Umar Siddique Khan (34) and Oliver Currill (28) provided the bulk of the runs to win the game in the 25th over.
In their penultimate fixture of the campaign, an away day at Walsall – 11th – now lies in wait on Saturday.