Warwick’s stay at top of table proves a short one

James Sood on his way to 25 against Oakfield & Rowlands on Saturday. Picture: Mike Baker
James Sood on his way to 25 against Oakfield & Rowlands on Saturday. Picture: Mike Baker

Warwick’s Warwickshire Division Four title chances look to have evaporated after they suffered a six-wicket loss at Star Alvis on Monday.

The weekend had started so brightly for Warwick who claimed 15 points from a winning draw against unbeaten Oakfield & Rowlands to take over at the top.

Several batsmen made starts without going on to match-defining scores in Warwick’s trip to Oakfield, with Adrian Passey leading the way with 35.

Ram Kumar (28), Rajan Bhatti (27) and James Sood (25) also passed 20 as the visitors were dismissed for 183 to the final ball of their 50 overs.

David Odwell (12-3-44-3) and Jamie Brightwell (12-1-48-4) were the pick of the home attack.

Bhatti then decimated the home batting, dismissing opposing captain Richard Burnett in the first over and then bowling Jack Randle in his second.

Bhatti had Stewart Burnett caught without scoring and bowled Craig Gowdy next ball to leave Oakfield in disarray at six for four.

The hosts then decided a losing draw would be their best option which led to some frugal figures for Richard Rudnicki (6-3-5-0), Paul Jackson (7-4-7-0), Anil Lohan (6-5-3-0) and Joseph Evans (7-4-12-0).

Bhatti returned to the attack to bowl Robert Harris for a 91-ball 24 but it was to prove Warwick’s final success as Oakfield ground out 57 for five from their 44 overs.

Opener James Carter batted through the innings for 23 from 133 deliveries, with Bhatti finishing with the exceptional figures of 10-9-1-5.

Warwick were unable to hang on to top spot on Monday, however, after losing a crucial toss and being asked to bat at Star Alvis.

Graeme Burke was the first to fall as he was caught behind off the bowling of Venkat Sarma (12-0-25-2) for six and he was followed by the wickets of Sood (6) and Passey (16), both off the bowling of Nishant Gandhi (12-2-19-2) to leave Warwick wobbling at 40 for three.

This became 65 for seven inside 35 overs as Adam Southorn was trapped in front for three, Michael Hope (5) and Rajan Bhatti (7) were both dismissed by Ashish Rana (10-0-28-2) and Benjamin Rhodes was caught behind for a patient six off the bowling of Raj Singadia (10-2-22-1).

The experienced Richard Rudnicki hit a determined 12 off 48 balls in a 28-run partnership with Joseph Evans who managed two of the visitors’ 4 fours on a long, wet outfield on his way to scoring 19 from 31 balls.

After Rudnicki fell, Joshua Osborne and Safiq Shaikh combined for a 20-run partnership which included 15 from Osborne who struck a four and a six in his 19-ball stay as Warwick finished on 118 all out.

Star Alvis came out with positive intent, knowing that on the tricky wicket, the best chance to win was to attack.

However, the first wicket fell as Safiq Shaikh ran out Pragnesh Tavadia for 11 and the very next ball, Rajan Bhatti trapped Ritesh Kansara in front for four to leave the hosts on 15 for two.

Sukhmanjeet Mann and Jasdeep Singh looked to continue the positive intent before Bhatti (10-1-33-2) had Singh caught behind on 37.

However, Mann punished the Warwick bowlers to take Star to within four runs of victory, scoring 66 from 82 deliveries before Adam Southorn (1-0-4-1) dismissed him lbw.

Mann was well supported by Dhruv Pathak who made 24 not out as Star Alvis reached their target with six wickets and 18 overs in hand.

Warwick picked up just a solitary point and now sit six points behind Oakfield having played a game more.

They travel to bottom of the table Pickwick 2nds in their final league fixture tomorrow needing four points to guarantee second spot.