DESPITE losing sight of their eight-game unbeaten run to the Birmingham & District Premier Division Two season, Kenilworth Wardens skipper Harry Johnson insists spirits are still high in the aftermath of an eight-wicket defeat to Halesowen last weekend.
The Wardens simply had no answer to the visitors at Glasshouse Park, after being limited to a score of 177 and being bowled out in the 51st over, prior to Halesowen’s emphatic response to win the game comfortably inside 36 overs.
In a loss which sees Kenilworth displaced by their opponents at the top of the division and slide down to third, Johnson could only applaud the quality of the away side in causing an upset on the Wardens’ own patch – despite a standout performance from opener Nick Seager (65).
“We can’t have too many complaints as we were beaten by a much better side on the day,” he said.
“Halesowen were definitely the best team we have faced so far this season – they looked strong in all departments.
“Nick batted well and after losing two early wickets, we were well placed at 120 for three after seeing off the new ball.
“But we then batted really badly against their spinners and gifted them wickets through some poor shots.
“Tommy Rex bowled well again but it was a good pitch and without George Scrimshaw, Ali Zaryab or Josh Baker we were a bit short of bowling options.
“It’s a shame that our unbeaten run has ended but there is still plenty of confidence in the camp and loads of cricket to play.”
Heading to the crease first after winning the toss, it took no time at all for the opening wicket to arrive after Keith Bell (0) was seen off by Eddie Rhodes (2-23) from the fifth ball, followed by number three Richard Swann (1, lbw) moments later.
Needing a talisman to pick the hosts back up, Seager struck up a promising partnership of 71 with Johnson (39), only for the Kenilworth captain to become the first victim of Harry Kitchen’s (5-49) deadly bowling.
The Halesowen man tore through the Wardens’ middle order in the wake of a 48-run stand from Seager and Henry Cullen (19), and crucially removed the former at 131-6.
With their top-scorer gone, Kenilworth soldiered on through tailenders Tom Mordey (25) and Jabez Weale (15, no) until running out of steam four overs before their innings was out.
Tommy Rex’s (1-37) early dismissal of Matthew Payne (1) proved a false dawn for the hosts, as Halesowen’s fortunes picked up through Jamie Harrison (46) and Harry Baddams’ (71, no) partnership of 70.
With a solid foundation to build on, Baddams and number four Luke Tulacz (50, no) struck gold in partnering with each other, hitting nine balls into the boundary apiece and reaching a partnership of 100 to win the day.
Kenilworth now welcome fifth-placed Barnards Green to Warwickshire on Saturday.