Blake Maher ripped through Walsall’s batting to clinch a 38-run Birmingham Premier League home win for Kenilworth Wardens.
The tall seamer grabbed five for 36 as the visitors were dismissed for 109 in 26.1 overs in response to the hosts’ 147 all out.
Wardens’ Aussie import topped off a week in which he scored more than 300 runs in four floodlit T20 innings with his best bowling spell of the season, and as a result kept his club’s runners-up hopes alive.
With the help of some reliable catching, Maher and regular new-ball partner Brinder Phagura (2-24) took advantage of a damp Glasshouse Park pitch and gloomy conditions to reduce Walsall to 40 for eight.
Only Ed Denham (13) made it into double figures until spinner Paul Byrne and veteran seamer Paul Wicker provided some stern ninth-wicket resistance.
The experienced pair added 66 and brought the prospect of an unlikely away win into sight until the introduction of Basit Zaman’s leg-spin brought Wardens a vital breakthrough. He induced Byrne to edge into Nick Sale’s secure gloves for a battling 43-ball 39, after which older brother Junead cleaned up last-man Jonathan Moore, leaving Wicker with an unbeaten 23 and Wardens victorious.
Earlier, Moore (3-13) and Tim Maxfield (3-22) had also wreaked havoc with the new ball, reducing the hosts to 23 for five after they had elected to bat first.
However, Wardens were able to regroup to reasonable effect around a fine knock from Nathan Edwards, who made a mature 71-ball 42.
His efforts were continued by ninth pair Sale (23) and Dan Mousley (21 not out) who added the 39 vital runs which took Wardens to a score which proved competitive enough in bowler-friendly conditions.
Wardens 2nds were on the right side of thrilling Division One match against Walsall 2nds, winning by 17 runs.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Wardens lost opener Dan Phillips early on thanks to a good piece of bowling from Daniel Bowker (2-39).
Two more wickets soon fell but opener Robin De Regt was holding the innings together before he was run out for 47.
Ben Rex played a composed innings, sharing in a 49-run stand with Mark Pidgeon before he was also run out for 48.
An impressive spell from Luke Stynes (3-15) then reaped dividends as Wardens lost their last four wickets for eight runs.
Pidgeon was left undefeated on 22 as Wardens closed on 176, with Samuel Mills having claimed two for 23.
Wardens started off very well with the new ball as openers Tom Brammer (2-41) and Tommy Rex (2-18) reduced the home side to 59 for four.
Opener Ben Ladd-Gibbon top-scored with 37 for Walsall but once he was removed thanks to the bowling of Ben Rex (1-29) a Wardens victory never looked in doubt.
Wickets then continued to fall, with all six bowlers used claiming a scalp and despite a stubborn last-wicket stand of 36 between Bowker (20 not out) and Michael Lockett (14) Walsall were eventually dismissed for 159 in the 43rd over.