Graham Williamson Trophy Review 19th September

Written by: Nick Archer
Date: 19/09/2020

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Having clinched a Graham Williamson Trophy Semi-Final place, last weekend, Shifnal continued their winning ways in Group 1 with a five wicket win over nearest challengers Bridgnorth, who were dismissed for 196 off the penultimate delivery of their 40 overs. The top scorer for Bridgnorth was Simon Gregory with 81 from 83 balls including six fours and three sixes. Tom Weaver added a brisk 32 before Xavi Clarke took the last four Bridgnorth wickets at a personal cost of 37 runs. After losing Steven Leach with the score on 4, Shifnal cruised to victory in the 33rd over of their reply, led by 88 from wicket-keeper James Sookias and an unbroken 49 from Worcestershire captain Joe Leach. Bridgnorth’s defeat left them level on 22 points with Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton and it was Shrewsbury who sealed second place in the table on points earned in the head to head games between the three sides after they defeated Wolverhampton by 37 runs. Shrewsbury were struggling on 56 for seven when Rob Foster came to the wicket to compile a patient 49 from 72 balls. Helped by Prithvi Bhart (13) and Tyler Ibbotson (26), he saw the score to 169 before he was run out from the last ball of the innings. Wolverhampton’s Charlie Home took 5 for 12 to boost his total of wickets for the season to 20 and he, also, top scored with 35, as Wolverhampton were shot out for 132. At 105 for three, Wolverhampton were well set but Tyler Ibbotson (3 for 9) and Bhart (3 for 22) stepped up for Shrewsbury after George Garrett had taken the first three wickets for 28. After nine defeats on the trot, Wem’s losing run came to an end with a welcome three wicket win against Oswestry who were 118 all out in 38.1 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. The most successful Wem bowlers were Matthew Cohen (3 for 13) and Alex Ollerenshaw (3 for 29) but the home side had to work hard for their first win since their promotion into the League at the start of the season. Harry Astley top scored with 25 but they were helped by the addition of 30 extras to their total including 22 wides. Alex Davidson took 3 for 35 for Oswestry but their total of 118 was too small a total to defend after they conceded so many extras. 

West Bromwich Dartmouth’s ninth victory in 10 starts leaves them eight points clear of second placed Walsall in Group 2 and ready for a strong challenge from Shifnal in the Semi-Final of the competition next Saturday. Dartmouth’s 44 run win over Smethwick leaves the visitors in third place in the table after Walsall’s emphatic 124 run success against local rivals Pelsall took them above the Broomfield outfit despite losing consecutive games to them in the middle of the season. A second wicket stand of 77 for Dartmouth between Valeed Butt (66) and Omar Ali (57) enabled the Sandwell Park side to reach 249 for six in 40 overs against a Smethwick attack that included Warwickshire’s Oliver Hannon-Dalby for the first time. Tom Brown hit an unbeaten 45 but it was a late flurry from Kabir Ali (25 not out from 12 balls) and Shahzeb Raja (24 from 11 balls) that took Dartmouth out of reach. In response, Smethwick slipped to 90 for six before a belligerent 89 from 54 balls from Naseer Ahmad brought them back into the game. Best of the bowlers for Dartmouth, as Smethwick closed on 205 for nine was Kabir Ali (4 for 36) who took his total of wickets for the season to 23, the highest figure across all four groups. This competed a notable double for Dartmouth, as Omar Ali’s innings of 57, earlier in the day, took his tally for the season to 586 runs, 88 more than the next highest across all four groups. For the second time, this season, Walsall rattled up 300 plus against Pelsall, reaching 302 for three from 40 overs at Gorway. Rafay Ahmed opened with 51 but it was an unbroken stand of 180 for the fourth wicket between Danny Cox (128 not out) and James Middleton (91 not out) that pushed the game beyond the visitors. Cox faced 97 balls and struck fifteen fours and a six, while Middleton, who came to the wicket in the 21st over, faced only 55 balls including ten fours and two sixes. Faced with such a daunting target, Pelsall needed a good start and strong contributions from their best batters Navdeep Poonia and Todd Henderson but a fine opening spell from Ravan Chahal (3 for 35) left Poonia (50) with too much to do on his own. Once he was snared by the left-arm spin of Sam Mills (3 for 21), Pelsall’s already slim chances disappeared but they fought, bravely, until the end, reaching 178 for nine from 40 overs. Harborne skipper Tom Arnold cracked 110 from 83 balls as his side was dismissed for 228 in 38 overs by Himley. Dan Vernon took 3 for 62 but it was an excellent second wicket stand of 196 between Bilaal Hussein (105 not out) and Dan Durman (82) which paved the way for a six wicket Himley victory with eight balls in hand. Hussain received 98 balls and struck thirteen fours and two sixes while Durman played a steadier innings, hitting ten boundaries from 115 balls. 

Berkswell’s win over Knowle & Dorridge, last week, clinched a home Semi-Final against the winners of Group 4 and they warmed up for that game with a 50 run success against Dorridge. Solid contributions from Tom Lewis (55 not out), Nigel Perry-Ogden (54) and Nick James (48) eased Berkswell to 233 for seven from 40 overs with the help of 42 extras. Awais Mohammed took two wickets at the start of the innings and another, later on, to finish with 3 for 30 for Dorridge who fielded a couple of younger players in their side for the first time. The experienced pair of Joe Dodd (29) and David Ball (24) put on 50 for the first wicket, Roshan Venkataranam (51) and Luke James (30), also, batted well for Dorridge but the rest of their inexperienced line-up had no answer to Grant Thornton (4 for 21) or David Brignull (3 for 31), as they finished on 183 for nine. After a sluggish start to their innings against Kenilworth Wardens, Knowle & Dorridge, eventually, reached 238 for five at the end of 40 overs, mainly due to a 64 ball innings of 93 from ex-Leicestershire all-rounder Neil Dexter and an unbeaten 36 from 37 balls from debutant Amir Khan. Wardens reply was built around an opening stand of 78 between Keith Bell (94 not out) and Nick Seager (40) but they, finally, missed out on victory by 11 runs, finishing on 228 for four after Henry Cullen hit an unbeaten 43 from 26 balls. At the start of the day, Moseley and Leamington Spa were locked together on 18 points in third place in Group 3 and it was Moseley who came out on top after passing Leamington’s total of 158 all out with five wickets and more than two overs to spare. Apart from Chris Calcott (47) and Nick Couzens (30), the Leamington batters failed to get to grips with Usman Awan who finished with 5 for 18. He was well supported by Ali Awan (3 for 37) before Moseley, also, found the early going tough, sliding to 44 for four before Ali Awan (57 not out) steered Moseley to victory and third place in the group. Although Leamington skipper Jon Wigley, only, picked up one victim with the ball, it was enough to take him into joint second place in the wicket-taking charts on 21 wickets. 

After their three wicket win against Barnards Green, last weekend, only a mathematical miracle could stop Barnt Green from winning Group 4 and that would, only, be required if Barnt Green lost heavily to Ombersley and Barnards Green were able to defeat Halesowen by a similar margin. Such calculations were not required after Barnt Green won, handsomely, against Ombersley and Barnards Green went down by one wicket to Halesowen. After winning the toss and batting first, Barnt Green reached an impressive 284 for three from 40 overs after Ed Pollock (111) and Ben Chapman-Lilley (112 not out) put together an opening stand of 170. Pollock, as usual, was the main aggressor, hitting fourteen fours and two sixes from 102 balls but Chapman-Lilley was, also, in the mood, cracking nine fours and two sixes from 116 balls. Jacques Banton clipped 40 from 24 balls after the dismissal of Pollock as Barnt Green reached a formidable total. George Panayi was the most successful bowler for Ombersley, taking two wickets during his six over spell but they came at a cost of 66 runs. Ombersley crashed, quickly, to 53 for seven, in reply, and they were, finally, dismissed for 107 in 32.2 overs with Andy Sutton (5 for 22) taking his total of wickets for the season to 21, level with his skipper Darrel Williams in joint second place in the overall table. Ombersley’s Nick Hammond was dismissed for seven, leaving him just two runs short of 500 for the season in second place in the individual run scoring charts. Pollock’s century took him to fifth place in the table on 403 runs. Halesowen’s win at Barnards Green and Kidderminster’s 48 run victory against Bromsgrove took them both to 24 points alongside Barnards Green, eight points behind Barnt Green. Based on the head to head games between the three clubs, Kidderminster finish in second place, Halesowen in third place, while Barnards Green slip to fourth place. Halesowen’s win was a personal triumph for Charlie Hartley, who took 5 for 22 after entering the attack as the seventh bowler used by skipper Alexei Kervezee. Leicestershire’s George Rhodes hit 83 from 102 balls in a Barnards Green total of 178 for six from 40 overs before Hartley dismissed him to begin a collapse and this target proved to be just within the visitors range after Jamie Harris (42) and Jamie Harrison (32) put on 80 for the first wicket. After they were both dismissed with the score at that total, Halesowen folded to 155 for eight but an unbeaten 36 from 39 balls from Hartley secured the win. There were three wickets apiece for Rhodes (3 for 33), Josh Blunt (3 for 35) and Zain ul-Hassan (3 for 44). A third wicket stand of 133 between Joe Miszkowski (75) and Ben Twohig (68) and an unbeaten 30 from Nathan Round eased Kidderminster to 219 for six against Bromsgrove with William Tuffin taking 4 for 50 for the visitors. Bromsgrove, who have, rarely, threatened to reach 200 this season, came up short again, finishing on 171 all out in 36.4 overs, their best individual efforts coming from Alex Wilkinson (37) and Greg Chinn (33). Connor Smith finished the season well, taking 5 for 23 for Kidderminster who rose to second place in the table as a result of two wins against Halesowen in the back to back games in the middle of the season.