A PAIR of superb cameos from Josh Thomas blasted Bedworth to a thrilling 28-run home win over Warwickshire Premier League visitors Bablake, writes Paul Smith.
In a high-scoring encounter played on a Miners’ Welfare Park pitch which acting captain Ryan Parnell described as “the best we will ever see” Thomas marked his seasonal 1st XI debut by smashing 48 from only 19 balls to boost the home total to 313.
Top-order trio Max Page, Finn Haynes and Kyle Taylor all contributed fluent half-centuries to the home cause while Josh Bains took four wickets for Bablake.
Thomas followed up by claiming two vital wickets in a crucial second spell to curtail Bablake’s threatening run chase at 285.
While Thomas grabbed the limelight, the extent of the home side’s fine team effort was underlined by Indy and Juggy Nandra sharing seven wickets after Waqar Dad had previously put the visitors under severe pressure with a superbly controlled new ball spell.
“It was Josh’s first appearance of the season and he put in a real match-winning performance,” Parnell said.
“I was also delighted with how well Max, Finn and Kyle played – they have all had really good starts to the season.
“Waqar’s spell was a tremendous effort on such a good pitch with a very short boundary on one side but it was Indy who got the big wickets for us.
“Juggy also bowled very well on a day when it was very tough for bowlers. I never felt comfortable until we go the last couple of wickets as it only needed someone to come in and hit a few sixes and the whole picture would have changed.”
After being invited to bat, Page, who made 56 from 65 balls, and second-wicket partner Haynes were soon into their stride. The pair added a run-per-ball 82 to lay a good foundation from which Haynes and Taylor were then able to further accelerate.
Bedworth’s fourth-wicket pair had added 83 when Haynes – who made 83 from the same number of deliveries and struck eight fours and two sixes – became Bains’ second victim.
Taylor found the boundary rope four times and cleared it on a further four in his 64-ball 62 to pave the way for Thomas’ late onslaught which produced four sixes and three fours before he was selflessly run out in the final over.
Bains finished with the fine figures of 4-36 while opening bowler Tom Yardley grabbed a brace of wickets for a Bablake side that conceded 72 runs in the closing five overs.
Haaris Azram (69) then launched the visitors’ chase in aggressive fashion but neither he nor any of his colleagues made much headway against the impressive Dad.
Once Azram fell to Indy Nandra (4-62) all four of Bablake’s middle-order got a start, but with Juggy Nandra (3-33) also making useful headway with the ball, none were able to play a match-changing innings.
Tom Yardley upped the tempo with a rapid 40 and when he fell to Thomas ninth-wicket pair Bains and Tom Cowley kept Bablake’s flame flickering until the Nandra brothers eventually clinched the spoils for the home side.