Knowle & Dorridge’s final pair bat 23 overs to deny Wardens

Teenager Harry Johnson hit 77 for Kenilworth Wardens but they were frustrated in their quest to secure victory over Knowle & Dorridge.

Teenager Harry Johnson hit 77 for Kenilworth Wardens but they were frustrated in their quest to secure victory over Knowle & Dorridge.

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In a gritty display of obdurate batting Knowle & Dorridge’s last pair, Will Mottram and Henry Brookes, battled through a remarkable 23 overs to deny Kenilworth Wardens Birmingham Premier League victory, writes Paul Smith.

The pair came together after Brinder Phagura’s six-wicket haul had reduced their quest for 215 from a rain-reduced 48 overs to 62 for nine and proceeded to defy everything the hosts’ six-man attack could throw at them.

And, when number 11 Mottram survived a close lbw call in the final over, the losing draw was duly secured.

The last man survived 66 balls for his unbeaten ten, while his partner’s more expansive approach brought nine boundaries in a 98-ball unbeaten 59. Wardens’ seamer Phagura, who is enjoying a superb first season at the club, finished with the fine return of six for 38, while Blake Maher took two for 28.

Helped by some excellent catching from keeper Nick Sale, Phagura and Maher’s new-ball burst reduced K&D to 38 for seven on a pitch which offered only small amounts of assistance by way of variable bounce. Only skipper Sam Reddish (22) and Jack Grundy (15) made it into double figures until the last pair began their vigil.

Earlier, Wardens recovery from 29 for three was orchestrated by Harry Johnson’s superb 77. The teenage batsmen, who has worked his way through the club’s ranks from 4th XI to the senior side, barely made a mistake against a three-strong K&D seam attack which asked some searching questions.

After Mottram removed the top three, Maher (18) dug in with Johnson before the hosts’ lower order prospered against the visitors’ slow bowlers. Dan Wood (26) and former K&D keeper Sale (25) contributed vital runs, while debutant teenage off-spinner Kieran Holland chipped in with a useful unbeaten 16.

Johnson’s fine knock spanned 100 balls, and included 11 boundaries, while Mottram finished with three for17 and there were two wickets apiece for spinners Nathan Roberts and Beau Webster.

Wardens 2nds had to settle for batting out for a draw in their Birmingham & District Premier League Division One fixture at Wellington 2nds.

Having won the toss and opted to field, Wardens made good progress with Nick Whiting claiming four early wickets as Wellington stumbled to 90 for five.

However, Steve Moules then played the decisive innings of the match, scoring 73 not out, well supported in a seventh-wicket stand of 60 by Martin Weill (33), eventually helping the home team reach 200 for seven off their 50 overs.

Whiting was the only bowler to offer any threat and control, finishing with an excellent four for 33 off 15 overs.

In response, Wardens batsmen never really threatened to reach their victory target and, with only Ben Rex (34) and Dan Phillips (37) making any sort of scoring contribution, it was left to Anthony Pidgeon and Tommy Rex to see out the last eight overs for the draw.

Steve Moules (2-43) and Owais Abdul (2-15) applied the pressure with the ball as Wardens closed on 140 for six.