Cruise for Wardens as Vernon destroys Coventry

Dan Vernon’s first five-wicket haul of the season tore through Coventry’s batting to lead in-form Wardens to the easiest of nine-wicket wins, writes Paul Smith (Write Angle Media).

The slow left-armer finished with five for 22 from 11 excellent overs as the visitors slumped to 88 all out in only 31 overs.

Keith Bell and Sitanshu Kotak’s unbroken 79-run second-wicket partnership then took Wardens to victory in 29 overs.

Vernon, whose fine spell extracted slow turn from a used Glasshouse Park pitch, was helped by the visiting batsmen’s lack of patience and application against the spinning ball.

This allowed Wardens to seize total control after their Warwickshire seamer Tom Allin had dismissed both Coventry openers early on.

Matt Pickering got to 26 before falling to Kotak and Sam Smart finished with an unbeaten 22 but the remainder of the Coventry batting was unable to come to terms with the hosts’ spin twins.

Kotak, who for once was forced into a supporting role, finished with three for 17, but it was Vernon’s rhythm and accuracy that claimed the deserved plaudits, plus his second Birmingham League five-wicket haul.

Home opener Tony Wilkinson fell to Vic Clements early on, after which Bell and Kotak reprised their unbeaten Coventry Knockout final partnership from the previous evening to see Wardens home with very few alarms.

The former Coventry opener finished with an unbeaten 97-ball 48, which included eight boundaries, while Kotak reached the ropes four times in his unbeaten 50-ball 33.

Despite using seven bowlers, the visitors were unable to make a breakthrough and now slip below Wardens in the table.

Tom Brammer’s maiden Birmingham League fifty was all Wardens 2nds had to celebrate after they finished with a losing draw from a poor display at Coventry.

After the hosts’ top four piled up 281 for two on a very flat pitch, Wardens failed to find any impetus in the second half of their innings, thus wasting a solid start and allowing the match to peter out into the dullest of draws.

Coventry’s opening pair Jack Horsley (62) and James Formstone (97) were virtually untroubled in taking the score to 137, although neither managed to get on top of Nick Whiting’s naggingly accurate spell.

However, the veteran trundler, who finished with one for 33 from his 15-over allocation, received little support, which allowed the home batsmen to accelerate impressively in the second half of their innings.

Formstone, who drove through the off side with great authority, was unfortunate to miss out on a deserved ton, but his dismissal only cleared the way for Greg Beaufoy (36 not out) and Matt Clements (73 not out) to further pile on the agony.

They pillaged 93 from the final ten overs, with the only surprise being that the hosts opted to bat through their full 50-over allocation.

This cautious approach continued in the field as Coventry sought to nullify any possibility of a successful run chase with defensive field-placings rather than going for the jugular.

Sunjay Sharma’s steady 37 saw off the new ball before Brammer’s fine knock kept the visitors in the hunt, despite a tidy spell from Coventry’s skipper Leron Barker (3- 32).

Karan Patra, who was promoted up the order to provide impetus to the chase, opted instead for batting practice, to finish with an unbeaten 46 as the game drifted to a draw with Wardens 192 for five.