CRICKET: BERKSWELL kept the pressure up on league leaders Knowle and Dorridge at the weekend after collecting maximum points against Wolverhampton.
Dominic Ostler’s side earned a crucial 77 run victory at Danescourt Road as the Birmingham Premier League reverted to the 50 overs-per-side, win or lose format.
Berkswell were invited to bat first, though they lost opener Mohammed Ahmed (7) in the third over with the scoreboard showing ten runs.
A 58-run partnership between Mark Best and Chris Whittock easted the situation, but when Matthew Kleinveldt was introduced into the attack Best (32) was caught at slip.
Whittock and new batsman Alex Hepburn then took control of the bowling and proceeded to compile an 71-run partnership throughout the next 11 overs until Whittock (59) was bowled by Ben Twohig.
Kleinveldt was then responsible for the dismissal of Tom Lewis (8), and Twohig claimed the wicket of Hepburn (54) to leave the visitors on 187/5 in the 36th over.
Former Warwickshire skipper Darren Maddy and Derbyshire’s Tom Milnes added a brisk 34 runs in four overs until Milnes (13) was caught by Tom Fell.
Acting skipper Nick James (11) was the next to fall while Ryan Sidebottom (1) could only add a single to the cause.
Maddy, who had just reached his 50, was the next batsman to lose his wicket at 249 in the 47th over.
A last wicket partnership of 15 runs between Liam Gately (8*) and junior player Josh Aspinall (2) enabled the visitors to post a respectable final score of 264 all out in 49.2 overs.
In reply, the home side’s openers in Kleinveldt and Amritpal Singh held out against the early pace attack of Milnes and Sidebottom – adding 39 runs in the first nine overs.
But Milnes then celebrated as Hepburn, fielding at mid-off, held a spectacular one handed diving catch to dismiss Singh (28).
Darren Maddy then claimed the wicket of Aneesh Kapil (1) in his first over as he was caught at mid-on by Ahmed.
Hepburn then picked up the wicket of Kleinveldt (17) when the batsman’s attempted pull shot was hit in the air and Maddy took the catch.
The loss of three quick wickets left the hosts at 49/3 in the 15th over.
Fell and Zen Malik steadied the ship and put on another 49 runs before the potentially destructive Fell (23) was well caught low down at short mid-off by Maddy to give James his first wicket.
With the visitors exerting pressure with the ball, the home side fell behind the required scoring rate and never looked in a position to win the game.
A 57-run partnership between Malik and James Hammond came to an end in the 37th over when Malik (52) was caught by Lewis to give James a second wicket.
The loss of Malik started a middle order batting collapse as Hammond (33) was bowled by James in the 39th over, and Adam Lawley (0) was given out lbw.
A quickfire 23 from Will Nield, including taking 17 off a single over, pushed Wolverhampton to 182.
But when Nield was caught by Milnes off the bowling of Sidebottom, the end of the innings soon followed.
Youngster Aspinall, who had patiently waited for 43 overs to be given the ball, proved what a prospect he is as he wrapped up the tail claiming the wickets of Ben Twohig (4) and Aidan Hennessey (0) to finish with two wickets for no runs from only four balls.
James ended with figures of (54/4) from his allotted ten overs.
On Saturday Berkswell return to Meeting House Lane to face Kidderminster – currently second from bottom in the table.
The visiting side will be fighting hard to maintain their Premier Division status. The match starts at noon.