4th Jul, 2022

Berkswell start Birmingham Premier League title defence with win against Dorridge

CRICKET: AN UNBEATEN maiden century by youngster Mohammed Ahmed ensured Berkswell opened their 2017 defence of the Birmingham Premier League title with a convincing six wicket win against Dorridge.

Having won the toss, Berkswell skipper Dominic Ostler invited the visitors to Meeting House Lane to have first use of a hard and dry wicket that looked full of runs, and openers Andy Umeed and Ali Ebad put together a partnership of 88.

Berkswell’s opening pace attack of Grant Thornton and Aussie import Ryan Sidebottom had little luck in the early overs, but the introduction of slow left armer Nick James had an immediate effect when Ebad (59) was stumped by Liam Gately in the 21st over.

Umeed (88 not out) and Barrie Forester-Smith then compiled a 94 run partnership in 19 overs until the reintroduction of Thornton into the attack saw Forester-Smith (38) bowled.

With ten overs left in the innings Mohammed Akeel (42) timed some lusty blows to perfection and the scoreboard rapidly advanced until he was bowled by James at 260.

An additional four runs were added to the total and the innings closed at a challenging 264 for 3 off 50 overs.

The loss of Mark Best (5) in the first over of the Berkswell reply was not the start the home side had expected, but Chris Whittock and Ahmed then added another 35 runs in 9 overs before Whittock (28) was adjudged lbw off the bowling of James Ayers.

Worcestershire’s Alex Hepburn, a new recruit to Berkswell’s ranks, has given even more depth to the top order and an impressive home debut saw him total 32 runs before losing his wicket in the 22nd over with the score on 113.

Ahmed was now joined at the crease by Tom Lewis – and for the next 25 overs the partnership kept Berkswell on track to record their first league win of the season.

With just 10 overs remaining and 61 runs needed, Lewis launched an assault on the Dorridge bowlers.

Some powerful hitting from Lewis, and accomplished strokes by Ahmed, had the scoreboard moving quickly.

However, having made 80 off 81 balls, Lewis was then bowled by Ebad in the 47th over with the score on 261 to bring to an end an entertaining 4th wicket partnership of 148 with Ahmed.

Victory was finally achieved in the 49th over when Ahmed (100 not out) hit the winning run and ended the innings to celebrations marking his first Premier league century for Berkswell.

On Sunday Berkswell advanced to the final of the Graham Williamson Trophy after defeating Walmley by 24 runs.

After defeating Wolverhampton and Walsall by 144 and 77 runs respectively in the two earlier rounds, Berkswell progressed through to the final following a high scoring match at Meeting House Lane.

Batting first, the home side posted an imposing 300 in 40 overs thanks to an incredible display of batting by Chris Whittock.

In an innings lasting 117 balls he made 200 runs that included 23 fours and 9 sixes.

In reply Walmley came close to achieving the win, but once James Brocklebank (99) was out the task became too great and at the end of their allotted overs they were 24 runs short.

The experience of Dominic Ostler (3 for 34) and Nick James (3 for 37) made sure Berkswell reached their first ever Williamson Trophy final.

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