26th Sep, 2018

Kenilworth Wardens edging closer to the top

Craig Gibbons 20th Jul, 2018

KENILWORTH Wardens moved to within touching distance of the top three teams in the Birmingham League Premier Division after coming away with a winning draw at lowly Walsall.

After being invited to bat at Gorway Road, Nick Seager again made a positive start with a run-a-ball 36 to put Walsall on the back foot.

Welcome contributions from Warwickshire Academy prospects Daniel Mousely (17) and Finn McCreath (23) helped support the recalled Robin De Regt as Wardens progressed to 153-3 with 20 overs remaining.

A quick fire 30 from Harry Johnson helped Wardens begin to take the game away from the home side before Indian superstar, Prerak Mankad, once again came to the party, crashing seven fours and three sixes in a well made 73 off just 43 balls.

A flurry of late wickets including De Regt for a patiently made 83 had little impact on the flow of runs as the visitors posted 285-8, their highest score of the season.

In reply Mankad showed great skill, clean bowling Trevor Keen for a second ball duck and Warwickshire’s back up wicket-keeper Alex Mellor (9) soon followed as Walsall found themselves in trouble at 42-2.

The introduction of Paul Rowe saw the dangerous Dannyjo Cox (42) adjudged LBW before Shoaib Akhtar became Rose’s second victim, seeing his off stump uprooted to leave the home side on 72-4 at drinks.

Skipper Mark Pidgeon then introduced himself and the in-form Matt Hancock into the attack with both finding turn.

Hancock’s patient lines were rewarded with the dismissals of Bruce Thomason and Paul Byrne before Pidgeon got one to grip on a dry surface and had Khan caught off a leading edge by Johnson to leave Walsall clinging on at 115-7 with 15 overs remaining.

Local Walsall brothers Jordan and Luke Stynes played patiently to frustrate Wardens as they searched for a third successive win before a fantastic catch by Hancock off his own bowling provided some hope of maximum points.

Robbie Byrne and Stynes (27 not out off 82 balls), however, batted out time to finish on 162-8 with Wardens taking 17 points back to Glasshouse Park.

Wardens entertain bottom-of-the-table Wolverhampton on Saturday.

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