Wardens once again thankful for Kotak

Relief was the over-riding emotion at Glasshouse Park on Saturday evening as Kenilworth Wardens retained their Birmingham League Division One status with a comprehensive 90-run win over Smethwick, writes Paul Smith.

Unsurprisingly, it was their long-serving all-rounder Sitanshu Kotak whose icy temperament stood up strongest. The Indian ace ended his 17th Wardens season with a fine half-century, followed by a typically frugal bowling display, which strangled the life out of mid-table Smethwick’s run chase.

This result, plus Old Hill’s maximum-point return at Whitchurch, meant it was Wardens’ local rivals Coventry who slipped into Division Two following their defeat at newly-promoted Walmley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nonetheless, after a very disappointing campaign, in which a talented group of players massively under-delivered, the Glasshouse Park club were left with much to ponder as they move into 2013 under the stewardship of new captain Martin Donald and deputy Keith Bell.

Fittingly, after four tough years at the helm, it was outgoing skipper Scott Stenning who joined Kotak in the day’s defining partnership.

The pair came together after Bell (20) and Robin de Regt (27) had given the hosts a solid start, and proceeded to add 131 for the third wicket.

The former India A star crafted a typically workmanlike 70 from 83 balls, while his captain’s 58 occupied 93 deliveries and included six boundaries.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This left the stage clear for a late flurry from Donald, who struck four fours and a six in his 19-ball 37 as the hosts defied a tidy spell from left-arm paceman Zafran Ali (one for 46 from 17 overs) to post a formidable 239 for six.

The visitors’ response was soon struggling at 29 for three as veteran trundler Paul Henderson struck twice with the new ball.

Former Coventry batsman Vik Sodhi delayed the inevitable with a battling 89-ball 59, but Kotak (3-38) and fellow slow left-armer Dan Vernon (3-37) combined to good effect on a helpful surface to polish Smethwick off in the 49th over for 149.

Related topics: