26th Oct, 2021

Bowling struggles left Wardens shorthanded - Johnson

Ben Tyler 21st Jun, 2021

Henry Cullen was the leading man for the Wardens with a near-century. Picture by Steve Johnson.

THE LACK of a foundation from Kenilworth Wardens’ bowlers was the biggest contribution to an 87-run defeat to Barnards Green, says skipper Harry Johnson.

It was an afternoon to forget for the hosts at Glasshouse Park last weekend, as Kenilworth fell to successive losses for the first time in Birmingham & District Premier Division Two this term, much in part to the 363-5 score from Barnards Green.

Left with a tough task at the crease, the Wardens failed to secure a losing draw after being skittled out for 276 with one over remaining.

Accepting his side’s shortcomings, Johnson did have some positive words on the reaction of his side at the crease – most notably a partnership of 136 between Ben Rex (53) and Henry Cullen (98) – in spite of the end result.

“We didn’t quite get it right in the field and with the ball,” he said.

“We weren’t able to build any sort of pressure, and as a result, Barnards Green built a platform to project themselves to a commanding total.

“By contrast, our batting performance was extremely encouraging and it was great to see the lads playing such a positive brand of cricket and always trying to win.

“The partnership between Ben and Henry was fantastic, and in particular It was a pleasure to watch Henry’s knock.

“He’s been timing the ball well all year and it was great to see him build the sort of innings we know he is capable of.”

The decision from Kenilworth to field first after winning the toss ultimately proved a grave one, despite the visitors losing Ryan Tongue (9) at 22-1, as opener George Rhodes (110) struck gold with number three O G Rogoff (38).

Laying on 112 for the second wicket, Rhodes continued to lead the way for Barnards Green with an astonishing 16 shots fired into the boundary – in addition to a solitary maximum – to pile the pressure on the hosts.

While the away side lost their leading man at 209-3, Zain Ul-Hassan (105) and Phil Harris (71) had more than enough in the tank to pick up the mantle for their side, something emphasised in their partnership of 138 runs.

It meant that the Wardens were massively under the cosh in spite of Tommy Rex’s four-wicket haul, with Kenilworth initially showing plenty of shortcomings with the bat in hand after slipping to 61-3.

But with the aforementioned duo of Ben Rex and Cullen laying on 136 runs for the fourth wicket, the hosts were given a glimmer of hope heading into the game’s finale.

The pair combined for 20 fours and, thanks to Cullen, four sixes in all to spark the home crowd into life, though Ul-Hassan (4-67) and Rhodes (3-56) were evidently out to spoil the party.

With Kenilworth’s challenge fading, Tommy Rex (11, no) and Amun Bal (2) looked set to earn a draw, until Phil Harris (2-33) struck the fatal final blow.

Sitting in fifth, Kenilworth head to Harborne, eighth, next on Saturday.

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