kenilworth Wardens romp to an eight wicket Birmingham Premier League Division One success over Leamington
Led by an outstanding display from their four-strong seam attack Kenilworth Wardens romped to an eight wicket Birmingham Premier League Division One success over local rivals Leamington.
With Hugo Whitlock and Reeve Evitts picking up three wickets apiece while Tommy Rex grabbed a brace and Alex Wyatt took the key scalp of Shane Dowrich the visitors ripped through Spa’s batting line-up in just 29.2 overs.
In-form opener Jamie Harrison then smashed an unbeaten 75 from just 48 balls in another brutal display of hitting which took Andrew Leering’s team to their 104-run target in only 14.5 overs.
In addition to completing a seasonal double over their nearest top-flight rivals, this result kept Wardens on track for a top four finish on a day when the three clubs ahead of them also all claimed a 20-point return.
“We were a bit surprised when Leamington batted first,” Leering said.
“The pitch provided some help for the seamers and had a little variable bounce but all four bowled superbly good lines and moved the ball around.
“It is great to have such quality in depth in our attack as it means there is no escape for the opposition.
“Hugo bowled brilliantly and deserved five wickets. He also took two fantastic catches including the big one which removed their star man.
“Jamie then continued his amazing form with the bat. I have never seen anyone hit the ball so consistently well when playing as aggressively as he does.
“We have five games remaining and are aiming for a top three finish.”
After winning the toss and electing to take first use of their Arlington Avenue pitch Leamington were soon on the back foot with openers Luke de Souza and Dinuk de Silva back in the pavillion with only 17 on the board.
And worse followed for the hosts as skipper Jonny Wigley and Oxfordshire batter Harry Smith and Nathan Hooker also fell to the visitors’ new-ball pairing Rex and Whitlock.
At 42 for five a home side missing its injured talisman Ollie Currill was looking to West Indian test star Dowrich for a match-changing contribution.
Having begun his stint in the Birmingham League with two hundreds and a 90, the 35-times-capped 30-year-old looked in ominously good touch while stroking six boundaries in a 40-ball 35.
But after doubling the score with sixth-wicket partner Josh de Souza (13), Dowrich was caught on the boundary by Whitlock off towering paceman Wyatt.
The introduction of fourth-seamer Evitts then ended any thoughts that the home tail might launch a recovery as he grabbed 3-12 from 4.2 overs.
This meant that when Whitlock rounded off a fine personal display by adding the run out of former Warwickshire skipper Neil Smith to his earlier two catches and 3-22 the home side were all out for 104.
Rex finished with 2-33 and Wyatt 1-34 for a Wardens side whose chase was then dominated by Harrison’s ferocious display of hitting.
The former Halesowen powerhouse added 62 with opening partner Nick Seagar – usually noted for his fast scoring – before the right-hander fell in the seventh over to Matt Davison for nine.
With one Wigley over being smashed for 21, the end then came quickly for a home side who had the consolation of claiming the wicket of Ali Zaryab who was caught behind off Pierce Ryan for 17.
During his unbeaten 75 Harrison found the boundary nine times and cleared it on a further five occasions while also ensuring that the very rarely seen 1,000 league runs in a season landmark remains a possibility.