A BRILLIANT captain’s innings from Andy Leering and some ferocious hitting from Tommy Rex saw Kenilworth Wardens to a convincing 102-run derby day success over Leamington, writes Paul Smith.
In the process Leering’s team claimed a maximum 24-point return from their opening red-ball Birmingham Premier League Division One contest of the season and moved to fourth place in the table after six rounds of action.
Leering made a superb unbeaten 80 from only 91 balls before Rex smashed nine sixes in the closing seven overs of the home innings while making a brutal 30-ball 66.
Their 99-run seventh-wicket partnership, plus an earlier half-century from the consistent Henry Cullen saw Wardens recover from 113 for five to close their 50 overs with a useful 306 for seven.
And after the visitors’ chase then progressed promisingly to 126 for three, tall seamer Alex Wyatt grabbed four wickets in an excellent spell which eventually saw Spa bowled out in the 51st over for 204.
“It was a fantastic win,” Leering said. “To come back from 113 for five and get 300 really showed our depth and quality with the bat.
“Tommy’s knock was incredible – and he kept saying he wasn’t timing it!
“It was about time that I got a few runs and it was nice to contribute when it was really needed.
“Alex then showed what a fantastic bowler he is. He really knows his own game and in particular with the red ball will be a real threat.”
Left-handed opener Jamie Harrison’s 47 dominated the early stages of Wardens’ innings as he added 69 with second wicket partner Ali Zaryab (19).
However, with Ollie Currill and visiting skipper Jon Wigley picking up two wickets apiece, the hosts were struggling at 113 for five when Leering joined Cullen at the crease.
Their sixth-wicket alliance was worth 94 before the teenage Worcestershire prospect fell to Dinuk de Silva for a well-constructed 75-ball 51.
This fine rebuild paved the way for Rex to launch an astonishing late onslaught which included four consecutive sixes off the 53rd over of the home innings bowled by returning paceman Tom Warner.
When the 19-year-old Bears prospect fell to the final ball of the innings, Wardens had blasted 99 in their closing nine overs and Leamington were left to chase 306 – the day’s highest Division One total.
Former Warden Luke de Souza (32) and Jamie Treasure (28) then added 54 for the visitors’ second wicket before Wigley (34) combined with the always-dangerous Currill in an even-time 52-run fourth wicket alliance.
But when Currill fell to Reeve Evitts for a breezy 42 including three sixes, the home side scented victory.
Wardens’ race to the finishing tape was then delayed by a fine knock from Josh de Souza whose unbeaten 58-ball 43 briefly seemed likely to secure a draw for his team.
But Wyatt (4-57) and Rex (2-54) had other ideas and when Zaryab swooped to run out last man Pierce Ryan the home side secured their fourth win of the campaign with 26 balls remaining.