Dowall holds his nerve to see Staff over the line against Leek Wootton

Warwickshire County Council Staff's Duncan Gardner bowls to Leek Wootton's Sandeep Murthy. Picture: Morris Troughton
Warwickshire County Council Staff's Duncan Gardner bowls to Leek Wootton's Sandeep Murthy. Picture: Morris Troughton

Warwickshire County Council Staff CC had the cool head of Graham Dowall to thank as they survived a late scare to secure a four-wicket victory over Leek Wootton.

After losing the toss, the Council were invited to bowl first on a good Myton Road wicket. Nick Robbins reeled off four maidens on the bounce but Leek Wootton were able to keep the scoreboard moving with some regularity thanks to a rapid outfield.

Robbins made the initial breakthrough when S Jones slashed at a wide ball and cue-ended it through to keeper Craig Rose who took a smart catch.

Number three Sandeep Murthy went on the attack immediately before aiming an almighty heave at a ball from Duncan Gardner and losing his middle stump.

Opener M Allison punished anything short but found scoring more difficult later in the innings as Council ratcheted up the pressure.

Stand-in skipper Keith Edwards brought himself into the attack and picked up the wicket of Cox (22) and then removed Allison, who had just brought up his 50.

Ansari finished unbeaten on 22 as Leek Wootton closed on 174 for five.

Council openers A Garratt and Edwards Sr fell in quick succession, Garratt undone by a swinging ball from Cox for nine and Edwards missing one from the left-armer Ansari for 11.

Matt Edwards and Jimmy White then changed the complexion of the game with a fast-paced partnership, with White tucking into the off-spin of Murthy and helping himself to two huge sixes over the leg side.

The pair took drinks with less than 100 needed for victory. Yet, as is often the case, the break brought a wicket, with Matt cutting an innocuous delivery from Clifford into the hands of backwards point for a well-paced 36.

Dowall, who looked to be struggling with a hand injury, soon settled down with a flat six over extra-cover and White continued to score freely.

It was a surprise then when he failed to latch on to a full toss from Clifford and deposited the ball into the hands of square leg for 40.

When Gardner was bowled by Allison without scoring the spectre of a Council collapse loomed large.

However, Colin Reynolds steadied the ship and, with Dowall, moved the target to within 40 runs when he played an uncharacteristic booming drive at a tossed-up delivery and was bowled.

But there was no need for alarm as Dowall (35 not out) and Brown played sensibly to bring up victory with 11 balls to spare.

Leek Wootton 2nds secured a nailbiting two-wicket victory over Lapworth 2nds.

Lapworth openers Griffin (38) and Pratt (31) moved along nicely before Ben Bramley (3-32) removed them both in quick succession.

At the other end, Simon Charlton (3-28) continued to show his happy knack of picking up wickets and it took useful contributions from Morris (19) and Anwar (25) to lift Lapworth to 159 for eight from their 45 overs.

Wootton slipped to 48 for four in reply before a 57-run partnership between skipper Bayliss (34) and Charlton (20).

Anwar removed both and the game looked up when Wootton slumped to 129 for seven.

However, a mixture of watchful batting and lusty blows from Chris Charles (18 not out), supported by Matt Ellis and Harkarn Sumal, saw Wootton squeeze home with five balls to spare.