Umair repays captain’s faith as Warwick extend lead at the top

Simon McLellan and Jon Davis were involved in a crucial partnership for Warwick 2nds at home to Atherstone Town 2nds. Picture: Morris Troughton
Simon McLellan and Jon Davis were involved in a crucial partnership for Warwick 2nds at home to Atherstone Town 2nds. Picture: Morris Troughton

Warwick claimed maximum points from a thrilling clash at Massey Ferguson to extend their advantage at the top of Warwickshire League Division Five to 50 points.

After Warwick lost the toss, in the absence of seamer Josh Osborne, Rajan Singh Bhatti opened the bowling with Adam Southorn who made an early breakthrough when he dismissed the dangerous Karan Sharma

Tight lines from Bhatti restricted the scoring and claimed another wicket before Richard Rudnicki and Ashu Sharma maintained the stranglehold on the innings.

However, Nabeel Safdar batted excellently in an innings which contained three sixes as Massey rallied to post 242 for nine from their 50 overs.

Warwick skipper Matt Warren bowled well at the death to pick up three wickets and stem the run rate.

He was well supported by Adam Southorn who fielded fantastically at long-off and participated in two outstanding catches.

Requiring a very stiff target of 243, Warwick lost Graeme Burke for 12 which brought in the in-form James Sood.

The Courier & Weekly News Player of the Month for June was tied down by economical bowling, however, and departed for just 14 after playing a cover drive on the up.

Warren regained some form with a classy 69 but there was still plenty of work to be done when was run out for 69 in the 33rd over.

Warden’s departure brought in highly rated youngster Umair Mushtaq who has struggled to live up to the expectation since his introduction to the first team.

Skipper Warren’s faith in him was to pay dividends, however, as Mushtaq batted superbly alongside opener Adie Passey.

A highlight was a huge six which cleared the pylon cables followed next ball by a one-bounce four from the youngster.

Massey were given a opening when Passey was stumped for a well-compiled 46 but any Warwick nerves were quickly settled as all-rounder Bhatti and Mushtaq accumulated the remaining 45 runs in seven overs.

Positive hitting and quick running between the wickets saw Mushtaq finish unbeaten on 41, while Bhatti ended on 20 not out.

A much-changed Warwick 2nds kept up the pressure on the Warwickshire Division Nine East front-runners with a solid all-round performance against improving Atherstone Town 2nds at Hampton Road.

With eight changes enforced from the previous week’s win at Nuneaton 4ths and visitors Atherstone buoyed by their thrashing of pace-setters Nether Whitacre, Warwick skipper Steve Webb won the toss and chose to bowl on a belter of a mid-season track.

Lee Skrypchuk got Warwick off to an ideal start by having Manzur Sadaq expertly caught by Paul Coleman at gulley in the first over.

Wicketkeeper Simon McLellan caught Jack Cameron off the bowling of Tom Hitchenor and Dominic Rae off Webb and when Tom Hitchenor had Simon Wordsworth caught by Callum Webb and pouched Jack Burrows off his own bowling, Atherstone were in trouble at 53 for five.

Adders’ skipper Matthew Sworowski counter-attacked in style with some big shots on the leg side, adding 44 with James Burch.

However, when Coleman trapped Burch lbw, Sworowski found himself managing the tail.

Skrypchuk returned to fortuitously run out Mark Smith, deflecting a drive from Sworowski on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end and Noor Ullah was dismissed after a superb throw from the boundary from Hitchenor left him well short of his ground.

Coleman (2-34) removed Cameron Hobbs for a duck and the returning Hitchenor (4-24) completed a fine performance to clean bowl last-man James Wallbank for six.

Sworowski was still there on 60 as Atherstone were dismissed for 158 inside 41 overs.

In reply, Warwick opener Ben Rhodes looked in fine touch as he raced to 21 but when he was trapped lbw by Dominic Rae in the seventh over, he was quickly followed by Naresh Airody and Callum Webb to leave the home side in trouble at 32 for three.

The reliable Jon Davis was then joined by wicketkeeper-batsman McLellan and this pair set about getting the innings back on course.

Both found the lightning-fast outfield to their liking as they repeatedly stroked the ball to the boundary and when McLellan fell for 35 in the 27th over, Warwick were in a much healthier state on 116 for four.

Davis went on to complete another undefeated 50 and Coleman wasted little time in finishing the game off in the 34th over with a stylish 22 not out as Warwick ran out winners by six wickets.