A second consecutive fine batting display from Sitanshu Kotak was unable to prevent Kenilworth Wardens slipping to a five-wicket home defeat at the hands of Walmley, writes Paul Smith.
The hosts’ veteran pro, who was captaining the side in the absence of the unavailable Martin Donald, contributed an excellent 113-ball 80 to his team’s 204.
However, another disappointing Wardens bowling performance, combined with Tom Burton’s superb 82, saw Walmley cruise home with five wickets and four overs remaining.
Kotak’s team rebuilt well after the visitors’ paceman Shozair Ali claimed both of their openers for ducks.
Ryan Parnell (22) made another favourable impression before being run out following a mix-up with Kotak, after which Nathan Edwards (34) joined the Indian left-hander to add 54 for the fifth wicket.
Tom Brammer, who continued his excellent run of form with a well-crafted 32, then added 83 with his skipper for the sixth wicket, before both fell to a tidy spell of left-arm seam bowling from Walmley skipper Kaiser Shah, who finished with three for 39.
Off-spinner Mike Waugh claimed two for 40, and Ali two for 26.
A total of 204 looked no better than a par score and Burton’s hard-hitting effort soon put the visitors on the front foot.
He smashed five sixes and eight boundaries in an entertaining 59-ball 82 as Wardens’ lack of seam-bowling options proved a major hindrance.
But as the shine came off the ball, Wardens’ spinners came to the fore and off-spinner Udit Talati (3-36) combined very effectively with Kotak (1-31) to reduce the chase to 149 for five.
Although the hosts scented victory, in sixth-wicket pair Shah (31 no tout) and Kiwi Carlos Prowse (27 not out), Walmley had a pair of cool heads who ensured there were no further mishaps thanks to an unbroken stand of 57.
Wardens’ 2nd XI fell to a 35-run defeat at Wrekin College against their Shifnal counterparts.
Although tidy spells from Mark Pidgeon (1-19) and ageless seamer Nick Whiting (2-26) had restricted the hosts to 202 for six, Wardens’ first experience of the newly introduced Duckworth Lewis rain regulations saw them fall short of a revised 30-over target of 163.
After Whiting made early inroads with the new ball, a useful third -wicket stand between Paul Gough (32) and Ben Humphreys (62) steadied the Shifnal ship.
Although Luke Salisbury grabbed a couple of mid-innings wickets, quick late runs from Howard Insall (28) and skipper Will Clarke (35 not out) saw the hosts past the 200 mark.
Thereafter, none of the five Wardens’ batsmen who reached double figures were able to go onto a meaningful score against a steady home attack.
Will Askin and Gough grabbed two wickets apiece, while four run outs also did little to improve skipper Pidgeon’s mood as Wardens were dismissed for 128 in the 27th over.