02/05/06 – Cricket: Berkswell beaten by Stratford-upon-Avon

Berkswell Cricket Club’s Matt Nightingale writes,

Pre-season friendly
Venue: Stratford-Upon-Avon on Saturday 29 April 2006

Stratford-Upon-Avon CC – 169 All Out
Berkswell CC – 143 All Out

A match of fluctuating fortunes ended with a 26 run victory for the home side, but it could have been a very different story.
Having been promoted to the Birmingham and District League 3rd Division as Warwickshire League Champions Berkswell sought out the toughest possible pre-season opponents by securing this fixture against Premier Division outfit Stratford-upon-Avon.

After winning the toss Berkswell invited Stratford to bat and debutant Dave Brignull knocked over Ndima’s off stump in emphatic style with the fourth ball of the day. Brignull continued to beat the bat regularly, bowling a good line and length throughout an efficient spell. Threlkeld supported Brugnull ably from the other end winning an early lbw decision.

Premier Division Stratford were finding runs a real struggle as they reached 11 for 2 by the end of the first 10 overs.

A double bowling change saw Milnes and Khan replace Brignull and Threlkeld and continue the stranglehold.

Then, when Dominic Ostler replaced Khan he induced a shot Troughton would prefer to forget, lobbing a full toss tamely to Khan at mid-off, then Ostler increased Stratford’s embarrassment by grabbing 2 more quick wickets.

Vickerstaff soon got in the act and with good bowling started his spell with 5 successive maidens, also grabbing 2 wickets for good measure after replacing Milnes. Stratford’s plight looked very precarious at 79-9 but an enterprising partnership between Ricketts and Perkins offered proof that attack can sometimes be the best form of defence. In the space of 10 overs the pair scored more than the rest of the team had scored in the previous 35 and their ‘shot-a-ball’ strategy bagged a massive 90 runs for the last wicket, turning the match on its head. The final total of 169 offered the Statford bowlers something to bowl at and better than expected from 79-9.

The Berkswell openers were tested early in their reply. From Akhlaq’s first delivery received, he was caught off a no ball, and then in the 7th over he was dropped at slip. He however dug in after this, while the more fluent Freddie Klokker found gaps in the field, and pushed the total passed 50 and while

While Akhlaq grew in assuredness Klokker managed to hole out with the score on 73, and a major collapse ensued as all showed the signs of struggluing with their first outing on grass. In the space of 15 overs Berkswell found themselves reduced to 103-8.

Akhlaq then received brief support from Sultan Khan to push the total towards repectability but when Milnes was bowled by a high full toss from Ricketts Berkswell had succumbed for a total of 143. Only Akhlaq with an undefeated 72 could hold his head high as he carried his bat for the first time in his Berkswell career.”