Picture: George Scrimshaw bowling against Oswestry (Picture by Steve Johnson)
A ferocious opening burst from debutant paceman George Scrimshaw blasted Kenilworth Wardens to a convincing 108-run Birmingham Premier League Division Two home win over Oswestry.
The towering Derbyshire seamer made light of a wet pitch and difficult run-ups to claim 3-17 from a seven-over opening salvo which was almost certainly the quickest ever delivered by a player in a Wardens shirt.
Scrimshaw received good support from the other three members of the home side’s all-seam attack who shared five wickets while some sharp fielding produced two important run outs. As a result, the Shropshire-based visitors folded for 85 in 28 overs in response to their hosts’ 193 all out.
Wardens captain Harry Johnson was quick to acknowledge that the presence of a genuinely quick bowler brought an added dimension to his team’s attack.
“It was great to finally see George playing for us this week,” he said. “He’s a high-class bowler and it’s great to have someone that threatens through pace and bounce.
“Having someone bowling like that allowed us to make early inroads that applied pressure on Oswestry through the rest of their innings.”
After being invited to take first use of a green pitch on a very soft outfield Wardens’ top order raced to 100 at five an over.
Opener Shiraz Husain contributed 27 but it was Johnson’s breezy 44 which threatened to take the game away from the visitors.
However, neither Wardens’ skipper nor middle-order colleagues Henry Cullen (29) and Ali Zaryab (30) managed to convert good starts into a big score and as a consequence Oswestry fought their way back into the contest.
With slow left-armer Warrick Fynn claiming a fine 5-53 from 17 tidy overs and off-spinner Matthew Davies grabbing 4-27 the home side lost their last seven wickets for 43 leaving four of their 55-over allocation unused.
However, the visitors hopes of claiming a second win of the season were soon in tatters after Scrimshaw’s burst reduced their chase to 29 for four.
Oswestry skipper Fynn completed a fine personal display by top scoring with a 76-ball 51, but with home seamers Tommy Rex and Amun Bal claiming two wickets apiece and none of his colleagues reaching double figures, the chase closed at 85.
“We started strongly with the bat and scored at a good rate before Oswestry tightened up their bowling forcing our middle-order to battle hard,” Johnson said.
“It was then great to see our bowlers perform so well and a couple of moments of magic in the field brought two run-outs that really helped close out the game.”
The resulting 24-point return saw Wardens climb to second position in the table where they trail next week’s opponents Wem by nine points.
“We now have Wem and Halesowen in consecutive weeks which are both massive games,” Johnson added. “It’s exciting to test ourselves against the best teams in the league and we’ll have a much clearer picture of how things stand after those games.”