Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable seven-wicket Birmingham Premier League Division One win at Ombersley

Reeve Evitts’ four-wicket haul plus half-centuries from Jamie Harrison and Ali Zaryab steered Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable seven-wicket Birmingham Premier League Division One win at Ombersley

Ali Zaryab guides Kenilworth home.
Ali Zaryab guides Kenilworth home.

Chasing a Duckworth Lewis adjusted target of 171 following the loss of 16 overs to rain, the visitors strolled home with 29 balls of their 34 over allocation unused.

The in-form Harrison (50) and his opening partner Henry Cullen (43) raced to 72 in just 10.5 overs before the visitors’ recently re-signed Pakistani pro Zaryab finished the job with an accomplished even-time unbeaten 52.

Teenage Worcestershire prospect Evitts had earlier grabbed 4-48 as Ombersley struggled to escape the grip imposed by Wardens’ five-man seam attack in which Hugo Whitlock (3-28) also caught the eye.

As a result, the hosts were unable to develop opener Jack Haynes’ 82 into a really substantial total and with wickets falling at regular intervals they closed on 213 for nine.

This tenth win of the season means Andrew Leering’s team are guaranteed to finish no lower than fourth while they retain remote hopes of claiming the runners-up spot depending on the outcome of next week’s closing round of action.

“It was a very good all-round display,” Leering said.

“All five seamers bowled extremely well on a pitch offering them some help.

“In particular Reeve’s first spell was as good as anything from him this season.

“Ombersley were probably 30 short and after an hour of rain we ended up chasing 171.

“Henry hit the bad balls for four and like all the rest of the top four he batted extremely well.

“Ali flies back to Pakistan on Monday so it was nice for him to sign off with a 50. He has been exceptional at times this year with the bat and also has bowled some useful spells in the white-ball games.”

After being asked to bat first, Haynes and opening partner Josh Dell took Ombersley to 57 before Evitts claimed his first scalp.

His subsequent dismissals of Nick Hammond and home skipper Liam Gwynne soon reduced the hosts to 71 for three before George Panayi (29) helped Haynes add 72 for the fourth wicket.

But once the former Warwickshire paceman fell to the returning Tommy Rex (2-49) it was tall seamer Whitlock who claimed the crucial wicket of Haynes for a 116-ball 82 containing a six and 11 fours.

Enough time remained for former Worcestershire seamer Gareth Andrew to strike some meaty blows while contributing an 18-ball 27, but with Evitts and Whitlock keeping things very tight Ombersley closed on 213 for nine.

After an hour-long break for rain this left Wardens chasing 171 from 34 overs and they were soon very much on the front foot thanks as Cullen found the boundary seven times while making an aggressive 43.

Harrison for once was happy to take a back seat and once fellow left-hander Zaryab arrived at the crease the pair took Wardens’ chase smoothly to 129 in just 20 overs.

Although Fahad Sabir (2-37) then added Harrison’s wicket to his earlier dismissal of Cullen, by this stage the former Halesowen opener had reached 50 from just 61 balls.

In the company of Harry Johnson (21) then briefly Evitts, Zaryab’s controlled unbeaten even-time 52 steered Wardens home in the 30th over with seven wickets remaining.