CRICKET: BABLAKE Old Boys dropped to eighth in the Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division after losing out to high-flying Solihull Municipal on the road.
Despite skittling the home side out for just 137, Bablake suffered their own batting woes and were bowled out 128 – falling nine runs short of what would have been a crucial victory.
Bablake won the toss and elected to bowl first on a hot and humid day.
Their decision appeared to be the correct one when Mike Rowley fell for five runs when he was caught off the bowling of Rakibul Hassan for five runs, leaving the home side at 6/1.
Wicketkeeper Nathan Boyce and opener Tyler Walsh attempted to steady the Solihull ship, but when Walsh (11) fell with the score on 24 Bablake sensed an opportunity.
Skipper Alex Roslyn then fell for one to reduce Solihull Municipal to 27/3, but that brought George Gray to the crease.
Gray hit a standout 55 from 107 balls to guide the hosts past 100 – though at the other end he saw the wickets of Boyce (25), Stanley (1), and Lewis (0) fall as Solihull limped to 100/6.
Craig Bissett was the next to fall when he bowled by Adil Hussain for seven runs.
Tailender James Roslyn added 12 to Municipal’s cause – but tight and accurate bowling from Sam Eames, who returned with three wickets for 28 runs, ensured the hosts were bowled out cheaply.
In reply, Bablake Old Boys made a steady start – though Luke De Souza was run out by Mike Rowley with the score on ten.
Middle order batsmen Rakibul Hassan, Adil Hussain, and Azhar Ali then all fell for five runs or less as a middle order batting collapse cost Bablake a chance of building a solid foundation.
Thomas Cowley was then trapped lbw for three runs to leave Bablake struggling at 39/6.
A remarkable revival saw Mark Eames and Sam Eames take the score to 84 – but when they were both out Bablake appeared to stand little chance of victory with another 50 runs needed with two wickets remaining.
Tailender Matthew Kettley hit a surprising knock of 33 though to take Bablake to within ten runs of victory.
But when he was trapped lbw with the score on 128, the game was over – and Solihull Municipal ran out narrow winners by nine runs to move level with Bedworth at the top of the Premier Division table.