Dartmouth Move amongst the Pacesetters

Written by: Nick Archer
Date: 07/07/2018

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The two stand-out fixtures in the Premier Division were leaders Berkswell against third placed Smethwick and second in the table Shrewsbury against Knowle & Dorridge, who began the day in fourth position. Both games ended as draws with Berkswell and Shrewsbury earning the lion’s share of the points, but those two results allowed West Bromwich Dartmouth to move up from fifth place to second place, eight points behind Berkswell after a crushing eight wicket victory against Dorridge. This week, also, marked the half-way stage of the season which is, traditionally, a benchmark for clubs to measure themselves with five clubs chasing the title and another five clubs in a battle to avoid relegation. Visitors Smethwick invited Berkswell to bat at The Lant, but they were made to rue that decision after a fifth wicket stand of 123 between Nick James (125) and Tom Milnes (64). James struck 16 fours and a six in an innings that lasted 105 balls before a late flurry from Grant Thornton (25 not out from 10 balls) and Dominic Ostler (22 not out from 10 balls) took the home side to 320 for eight by the close, Gurinder Singh finishing with 3 for 103. In reply, Smethwick reached 186 for nine with skipper Vikram Sodhi top scoring with 67 and Amrinder Brar hitting 41. Spinners Mohammed Ahmed (3 for 25) and Ateeq Javid (3 for 48) were difficult to get away and Smethwick were left to hang on, grimly, for a losing draw which sees them drop to fourth place, 17 points behind Berkswell. At London Road, 83 from 77 balls from Will Parton and 40 from Ed Foster saw Shrewsbury to 250 for eight, in 55 overs, against Knowle & Dorridge with Jack Grundy spearheading the visiting attack with 4 for 71. K & D stumbled to 40 for five, in response, before a sixth wicket stand of 117 between Oliver Haley (70) and Martin Donald (51) revived their hopes. Michael Barnard (6 for 48) took the first five wickets in his opening spell and removed Haley when he returned to the attack but K & D resisted, stoutly, to close on 203 for nine at the end of 55 overs. Dorridge opted to bat first at Sandwell Park and they were steered to 224 for seven, off 55 overs, by 66 from Ali Ebad and an unbeaten 65 from stand-in skipper Joe Dodd. Opening bowlers Brinder Phagura (3 for 46) and Shozair Ali (3 for 51) shared six of the seven wickets but the match-winners were Kadeer Ali (107 not out) and Andrew Umeed (71 not out) who put on an unbroken 148 for the third wicket. Moseley and Kenilworth Wardens sit, comfortably, in mid-table following wins against the bottom two in the table, Wolverhampton and Barnt Green. The highlight of the Moseley innings was a fourth wicket partnership of 98 between Imandeep Kang (66) and Aadam Din (62) which helped them to 243 for five, in 55 overs, at Wolverhampton. The home side were well placed on 108 for one but the wicket of Zen Malik (42) was quickly followed by that of Tom Fell (61) without addition and triggered a collapse to 180 all out with Warwickshire all-rounder Alex Thomson their chief tormentor with 7 for 53 from 17 overs. Left-arm spinners Matt Hancock (4 for 40) and Mark Pidgeon (3 for 28) were the scourge of Barnt Green who were dismissed for 178. Skipper Andy Sutton top scored with 49 and he took 3 for 37 in the Wardens reply, which gathered momentum when Prerak Mankad (82) joined Harry Johnson (48 not out) at 45 for four. They were not parted until the score reached 174 as Wardens cruised to an easy five wicket win. Two sides who are looking over their shoulders at the sides below them rather than the title contenders are Ombersley and Walsall, who came together at Ombersley. The Worcestershire side made slow progress, at first, but Gareth Andrew (75 not out) and Joshua Dell (65) saw them to 234 for four at the close. After a promising start, where they reached 42 for one, Walsall’s remaining wickets fell at regular intervals to Andrew (4 for 21) and Josh Haynes (4 for 52) and they crumbled to 112 all out and a 122-run defeat. 

A much-weakened Kidderminster team, with several players attending the wedding of Matt Pardoe, collapsed to 78 all out against Himley. The veteran seam bowler Chris Boroughs sent the Division One leaders packing with 8 for 28 as Himley began their fight to move away from the lower end of the table. A brisk unbeaten 64 from Oliver Westbury (11 fours and a six) eased Himley to a ten-wicket success but Kidderminster remain 10 points clear at the top after nearest rivals Tamworth and Bridgnorth were defeated by Shifnal, who move into second place, and Oswestry. Tamworth struggled all afternoon against Alex Riley (4 for 43) and Alex Wyatt (4 for 54) who shared all eight wickets that fell for 178 before an unbeaten 107 from Shropshire captain Steve Leach guided Shifnal to an emphatic eight wicket victory. Leach’s innings included 18 boundaries. One of the few bright spots for Tamworth was Joe McNulty’s 41, and they slip to third place, a single point behind the side that beat them. Opening batter Ian Gregory hit 40 for Bridgnorth against Oswestry but it took a rapid 77 from 50 balls from number nine batsman Adam Quiney to take them to the respectability of 211 all out after he had come to the wicket at 112 for seven. Warrick Fynn took 4 for 50 and Ritu Raj Singh took 4 for 62 for the visitors who were inspired to a five-wicket victory by a second wicket stand of 106 between Joe Carrasco (103 not out) and Josh Coleridge (44). Carrasco’s patient innings lasted 169 balls and he struck 12 boundaries and two sixes. An exciting game took place at Arlington Avenue where Leamington Spa defeated Bromsgrove by two wickets with nine balls remaining. Jayden Levitt began, purposefully, for Bromsgrove, hitting 99 before he was run out and Ryan Pedley added 57 in a Bromsgrove score of 251 for six, a total that the home side reached, thanks to 89 not out from Matthew Payne and 61 from Waqar Ahmed. Bromsgrove skipper Mark Evenson took 4 for 51 but he was unable to prevent Leamington from securing the victory that took them level with Bromsgrove on 125 points, 22 points clear of Brockhampton, who defeated Halesowen by 95 runs. Half-centuries from Ian Bullock (55) and Joe Crichard (52) and 42 from Tom Cummins took the Herefordshire side to 276 for nine, in 55 overs, despite an impressive spell from Charlie Hartley (4 for 52). After losing three early wickets, Alexei Kervezee (73) and Kester Moseley (52) threatened a recovery but Halesowen lost their last six wickets for eight runs after they had reached 173 for four. Adam Hewlett took the last three wickets at a personal cost of 51. Bottom of the table Wellington crashed to their eighth defeat in eleven games, despite dismissing Barnards Green for 115. Jack Twigger took 6 for 37 for Wellington but even this impressive spell was overshadowed by the performance of Barnards Green’s Phil Harris who took 8 for 33 as Wellington slid to 95 all out and a 20-run defeat that leaves them 61 points below the safety line. 

It’s all change, again, at the top of the Division Two table, where 20 points separate the top eight teams after morning leaders Harborne and third placed Fordhouses were beaten by Sutton Coldfield and C & R Hawks. Walmley’s five wicket victory at Wombourne takes them to the top of the table, where they lead second placed Attock by two points. Hawks lie in third place with Sutton Coldfield a further two points behind in fourth place. Harborne’s defeat sees them fall to fifth place on 145 points, eight points behind the leaders, while Penkridge and Coventry & N.W., who were involved in a tight finish at Binley Road, are in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Fordhouses drop to eighth but remain in contention, as do Pershore and Wombourne, despite defeats to Streetly and Walmley. Despite the loss of three early wickets, Wombourne reached 258 for nine, at the close of their innings, thanks to 64 from Rawlston Tappin and 62 from Ben Hudson. Sarmad Bhatti (3 for 58) and Michael Waugh (3 for 61) took the bowling honours for Walmley who had much work ahead after Alexander Roy (4 for 58) reduced them to 42 for four. Bhatti (47) fell at 89 for five but an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 182 between Jonathan Newis (112 not out) and Waugh (59 not out) lifted Walmley back to the top of the table. Attock looked to be heading for a disappointing total at Astwood Bank when Number 10 batsman Ehsan Adil joined Junaid Khan at 117 for eight. 144 runs later they were separated with the score on 261 for nine after Adil smashed 84 from 69 balls and Khan was unbeaten on 75. Joel Haslam (3 for 36) and Jake Price (3 for 48) survived the worst of the onslaught but a shell-shocked Astwood Bank slipped to the foot of the table after they were dismissed for 193. Sam Thomas hit 52 and Steve Adshead scored 41 for the home side with Attock’s Zayn Hussein finishing with 4 for 34. In a, relatively, low-scoring match at Rawnsley, Hawks were three wicket winners over Fordhouses, who were dismissed for 133. Steven Sandhu hit 50 but Fordhouses lost their last six wickets for 11 runs with spinners Shazad Malik (5 for 13) and Kabir Ali (3 for 42) causing the damage. Hawks, also, found the going tough against David Powles (3 for 46) and, only, two of their batters reached double figures. At 19 for five, Fordhouses were in control but Saqib Akbar (69) and Lee Evans (42 not out) came together to take the score to 124 before they were parted, setting up a three wicket win for Hawks. A poor batting performance from Harborne, after opting to bat first against Sutton Coldfield, saw them crash to an eight-wicket defeat at Rectory Park. Tom Arnold hit 43 in a disappointing total of 166, in 43.4 overs, with Dinushka Nawarthnage (3 for 34) the most successful bowler for Sutton. A second wicket stand of 122 between Lee Thomason (83 not out) and Tom Eustace (53) propelled Sutton to within five points of the summit. The match between Coventry & N.W. and Penkridge was as even as you could wish for without being a tie. Both sides earned 12 points after they both finished on 222 for nine. Batting first, half-centuries from Ishaq Mohammed (65 not out), Attiq Chishti (61) and Nihal Silhar (55) were Penkridge’s best efforts with the bat as Manbir Johal took 4 for 48 for Coventry. A superb century from Maduranga Zoysa was the feature of the Coventry innings but he was run out for 100 at 221 and the home side could only force another single to bring the scores level at the close. Although Pershore recovered from 123 for eight to reach 199 all out, at Streetly, the home side cantered home by eight wickets to lift themselves off the foot of the table. Chris Ridings (50) batted well at the start of the Pershore innings and Charlie Cross (45) did likewise towards the end but the middle-order fell away to Steve Hinton (4 for 59) and Sagar Mangalorkar (3 for 54) before a superb unbeaten century from Imran Qadir eased Streetly to victory. Qadir’s unbeaten 103, from 91 balls, included 11 fours and eight sixes. 

Stourbridge appear to be cruising towards the Division Three title after they hammered Old Elizabethans by 172 runs and their closest rivals, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon, were beaten by Redditch and Lichfield. Stourbridge lead the way by 37 points after they piled up 329 for five at Amblecote, with opening batter Jujhar Johal scoring 91. Nathan Crudeli came to the crease at 144 for three and proceeded to smash an undefeated 121 from 74 balls, including 16 boundaries and three maximums. Alex Bastable took 3 for 62 for OE’s who were dismissed for 157 with Crudeli picking up four cheap wickets for 21. Michael Cooper (54) registered a half-century for OE’s. Rugby restricted Redditch to 167 for nine, a total that would have been much less without an unbeaten 44 from Haleem Basharatt, who came to the wicket at 100 for eight. Vishaal Rathod took 5 for 30 and Henry Wilkins took 3 for 34 for Rugby who were bowled out for 132 by Waqas Ali (5 for 49) and Haris Ali Mohammed (4 for 40). 66 from Callum Heanan and 54 from Joe Seager were the cornerstones in Lichfield’s total of 191 all out at Swan’s Nest lane with the prolific James Urquhart taking 5 for 37 for Stratford. He was well supported by Archie Walker with 3 for 46 but the best bowling of the day came from Lichfield’s Graham Wilson, who took 8 for 17 as Stratford crashed to 58 all out in 16 overs. Old Hill have moved up into fourth place after a four wicket win over Handsworth, revenge for a defeat, earlier in the season, in the (Twenty20) Challenge Cup Competition. Handsworth were all out for 122 as opening bowlers Jehangir Baig (5 for 69) and Naqaash Tahir (4 for 52) bowled unchanged throughout the innings that lasted 26.1 overs. The home side took two balls more to reach their target with 30 apiece from Ravi Nagra and Tom Rock. An unbeaten 57 from Tom Eley saw Milford Hall to 213 all out against Newport with home side bowlers Sam Davies and Mark Downes returning identical figures of 3 for 41. The result was never in doubt after Maisam Hasnain (109) and Mark Downes (58) added 114 for the third wicket, despite 3 for 67 from Chris Dean. A terrific all-round display from Todd Henderson inspired Pelsall to a convincing 168 run win at Whitchurch after they won the toss and elected to bat first at Heath Road. Henderson cracked 50 in a total of 246 all out with Simon Dimelow taking 4 for 47 for the home side. Henderson (5 for 33) and his opening partner Jonathan Moore (3 for 34) rapidly made their way through a flimsy Whitchurch line-up and the Shropshire side were 78 all out in 17 overs.