Donald bows out of the Wardens captaincy role with last-ball loss

Matt Hancock's unbeaten 22 lifted Kenilworth Wardens to 182 all out at home to Barnt Green. Picture: Morris Troughton
Matt Hancock's unbeaten 22 lifted Kenilworth Wardens to 182 all out at home to Barnt Green. Picture: Morris Troughton

Kenilworth Wardens slipped to a six-wicket final-ball home defeat at the hands of Barnt Green despite a battling effort in the field and with the ball.

Martin Donald’s team batted poorly against an accurate visiting attack, well led by skipper Andy Sutton who claimed four for 23.

Only Nathan Edwards (51) was able to convert a start into a meaningful score as Wardens were dismissed in only 36.4 overs for 182.

Brinder Phagura’s two early wickets then gave Donald hope his final match as skipper after a four-year stint would finish successfully.

However, Sutton steadied the ship with a dogged half-century, which enabled Sam Cheshire to up the tempo and see the visitors home from the final delivery of their 50 overs.

Harry Johnson (19) and Donald (20) both threatened with the bat for Kenilworth, but only Edwards, who struck seven boundaries and a six in his 48-ball knock, made much impression.

Tail-ender Matt Hancock then finished with an unbeaten 22 which did at least enable the hosts to stay in the contest.

Barnt Green slipped to 39 for three against Phagura (2-13) before Sutton and Cheshire built a match-defining 112-run fourth-wicket stand.

The visitors’ skipper ground his way through 130 balls for an unbeaten 54, while Cheshire’s 61, which came from only 85, included two fours and four maximums.

Former Leamington spinner Darryl Williams then joined his captain to contribute the breezy unbeaten 20 that saw Green home.

Wardens’ 2nds sealed the Birmingham League First Division title with a typically dominate all-round performance at Barnt Green.

The hosts, who were responsible for one of the champions’ two defeats earlier in the season, inserted Wardens on a fantastic Cherry Hill Road wicket.

Wardens got off to a strong start with 59-run opening partnership between Ben Rex and Dan Phillips.

When Phillips (26) was bowled it brought Robin de Regt to the crease and along with Rex he forged the perfect platform for Wardens to accelerate.

Rex missed out on a maiden Birmingham League hundred when he hit a short ball to square leg for 89 and de Regt fell soon after on 76 after also looking well placed to reach three-figures.

In the final ten overs, Paul Henderson (49) and Maniak Ray (43) finished off the innings in style, elevating Wardens to 312 for five in their 45 overs – their highest score of the season.

After tea, both of Wardens’ opening bowlers made inroads into the Barnt Green line-up.

Tommy Rex removed dangerous-looking opener Moberley, while Whiting picked up three for 43.

The hosts’ middle order provided some resistance with family pairing Darren (52) and Stuart Cullen (35) playing Wardens’ spinners well.

However, once Ray (3-46) broke the partnership, wickets tumbled regularly at both ends.

It was left to skipper Mark Pidgeon, in his last game in charge, to take the final wicket on 155 as Wardens returned to Premier Division 2nd XI cricket for the first time since 2009.