DAN Wood’s devastating spell of swing bowling steered Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable six-wicket victory over visitors Walsall to seal 24 points which lifted them into fifth place in the Birmingham League Premier Division.
Wood took full advantage of humid, overcast conditions to claim 5-56 from an unchanged 17-over spell, as the former champions slumped to 118 all out. Wardens then cruised home in 38.1 overs, on the back of former captain Scott Stenning’s compact 46.
Walsall’s decision to bat first on a worn Glasshouse Park pitch looked a good one as their openers progressed to 31 without undue difficulty. However, once Ali Wilkinson removed former Old Hill opener Mike Hingley, Wood tore through the rest of the visitors’ top order.
Pakistani Test batsman Umar Amin clipped the paceman to square leg, after which some reliable catching behind the wicket reduced Walsall to 97-6.
Alex McChristie battled hard, but his colleagues had no answer to Wood’s lively away swing.
Sitanshu Kotak’s slow left-arm then proved beyond the compass of the tail-enders, as Wardens swiftly polished off the last five wickets for the addition of 21.
McChriste, who had arrived at the fall of the first wicket, finished with an unbeaten 38, from 92 balls with four boundaries, while Kotak logged an impressive 4-9 from 7.4 immaculate overs.
The early dismissal of both home openers gave Walsall a glimmer of hope, before Stenning and Kotak (30) combined in a match-clinching alliance.
Their third wicket partnership added 59, with Stenning, who struck six boundaries in his 92-ball knock, displaying sound technique and some elegant strokeplay, before Martin Donald’s unbeaten 20 steered Wardens home.
Wardens head to seventh placed Walmley on Saturday.