Premier Division Two Review 17th July

Written by: Nick Archer
Date: 17/07/2021

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In-form Harborne travelled just a few miles down the road to face Premier Division Two leaders Halesowen and it was the visitors who came out on top in an attritional game that was dominated by the bowlers. After winning the toss and opting to bat first in sweltering conditions, Harborne made a poor start, slumping to 40 for four with all four wickets falling to Eddie Rhodes, who went on to finish with 5 for 26. Rhodes, then, took a well-earned rest and Halesowen concentrated on containment with off-spinners Alexei Kervezee and Peter Scott bowling 28 overs of unthreatening off-spin to a defensive field. This enabled Tom Payne (50) to lead a recovery with help from Jack Holloway (31 not out), Jimmy Clifford (29) and Tejas Wagle (28) and the score reached 167 before Payne was out and James Rudge (2 for 19) and Rhodes returned to the attack. They quickly polished off the tail and Harborne were all out for 190 in the 52nd over, leaving Halesowen 58 overs to reach their target. Missing three key players, Halesowen made a slow start to their reply, scoring at two runs per over for the first 25 overs. The run rate picked up when Kervezee (37) came to the wicket and after surviving a confident appeal for caught and bowled, he appeared to have reignited Halesowen’s challenge for victory. Off-spinner Swapnil Gugale (4 for 44) posed the main threat for Harborne, but it was the return of the seamers Payne (3 for 12) and skipper Tom Arnold (3 for 44) that proved decisive as Halesowen were dismissed for 146 in 55 overs. 

Kenilworth Wardens inched above Himley in the table, thanks to a 24 point win over Pelsall while Himley were earning 20 points at Oswestry. Wardens closed on 199 for nine after 55 overs against bottom of the table Pelsall, who were, yet again, on the wrong side of a close finish as they fell 13 runs short on 186. Wardens lost wickets at regular intervals before Andrew Leering hit 40 and Tommy Rex scored 31 to improve their position from 128 for six. In reply, Pelsall reached 67 for two before Jake Lee was out for 46 but Alex Jones continued the fight until he ran out of partners. Jones finished unbeaten on 67 but his efforts were in vain as Jabez Weale (4 for 36) and Rex (4 for 55) found a way through the tail. Himley’s win over Oswestry was much more straightforward after they dismissed the home side for 159. Warrick Fynn scored 65 for Oswestry with Matt Jeavons taking 3 for 36 for the visitors who were guided to a five wicket victory by a composed 73 from Callum Lea. Bridgnorth were the only side in this Division to reach 200 on the day and they went well past that benchmark with 246 for five against Wem, thanks mainly to an undefeated 136 from Tom Weston. The former Cuckfield player faced 157 balls and struck 17 fours. Three of Wem’s top four were out for a single but Mohit Kale (48) and Matthew Cohen (37) steadied the ship to see the score to 92 before Kale was dismissed by Matty Simmonds (3 for 33). Cohen fell two runs later at 94 for five which soon became 96 for six, then 107 for seven. At that point Wem put up the shutters and finished on 142 for seven. The match between Wolverhampton and Barnards Green was declared void due to Covid issues at Barnards Green and the same fate befell the match between Dorridge and Bromsgrove because of Covid in the visitor’s camp.