Stenning and Johnson combine to overhaul West Brom target
A superb unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 131 between Scott Stenning and Harry Johnson carried Kenilworth Wardens to a six-wicket win over visitors West Bromwich Dartmouth.
The pair came together when the hosts’ quest for 152 had been reduced to 22 for four by a devastating new-ball burst from Mohammad Fahim Jam, who claimed four for 35.
They proceeded to stabilise the innings before becoming more expansive against Dartmouth’s change bowlers and eventually steering Wardens to victory.
Earlier, seamers Junead Zaman (4-36) and Brinder Phagura (3-34) had used a sluggish Glasshouse Park pitch to such good effect that the visitors were bowled out with seven of their 55-over allocation unused.
This result keeps Martin Donald’s side in third place in the Birmingham Premier League table, 24 points behind leaders Berkwell as the season approaches its midpoint.
Dartmouth progressed with few difficulties to 53 for one before a sequence of batsmen were dismissed trying to force the pace.
Ateeq Javid (18) edged a flamboyant drive to second slip, Kadeer Ali (31) dragged on and the threatening Ruki de Silva (22) chipped to mid-wicket as the visitors subsided to 116 for eight.
Phagura’s usual immaculate line and length reaped rich rewards against his former club, while Zaman bowled an intelligent spell during which he wore down the patience of the visiting batsmen.
The arrival of former Worcestershire and England all-rounder Kabir Ali, who made a 51-ball 37, eventually gave Dartmouth something to bowl at, and when Jam struck four times with the new ball the 2014 champions were in control of the match.
However, Wardens’ batting has good depth, and with plenty of time remaining the fifth-wicket pair settled in against Dartmouth’s slow bowlers who got little assistance from the unresponsive surface.
This enabled former skipper Stenning to build an excellent 102-ball 67, while 17-year-old Johnson again batted with huge maturity against an attack containing three former county cricketers.
His second top-flight half-century included six boundaries and he eventually finished with a fine 104-ball unbeaten 55 when the hosts crossed the line in the 48th over.
Wardens 5ths fell to a 21-run defeat in their Cotswold-Hills Division Seven fixture at Earlswood 4ths.
Having won the toss, Earlswood made 160 for nine off their 45 overs, built around strong contributions from Dave Simms (59) and Shaun Jenkins (31).
There were encouraging bowling performances from a young Wardens attack, with Luke Cooling grabbing a four-wicket haul and two victims each for Finton Hanley and Christian Salisbury.
Wardens lost early wickets in response and although there was some middle-order resistance from Finton Hanley (15) and Richard Bennett (37 not out), Wardens failed to threaten the home side’s total, closing on 139 for eight off their 45 overs.