06/06/06 – Cricket: Berkswell steal 2nd place

1st XI Match Report Berkswell CC v Newport CC Sat 3rd June 2006

Berkswell 191 all out (24pts) beat Newport 183 all out (6pts) by 8 runs

It was all change at the top of Birmingham League Division 3 when Berkswell came out on top in a thrilling finale against visitors and league leaders Newport at Meeting House Lane on Saturday. The victory saw Berkswell claim second spot, one point behind new leaders St Georges, whilst leapfrogging opponents Newport as they slid to third.

[David Brignull pictured above – bowled vital opening spell for Berkswell]

Bizarrely, Berkswell won their 3rd successive home game by losing the toss, being asked to bat first, then bowling out the opposition to claim maximum points.

Newport’s decision to field first appeared vindicated early on when Freddie Klokker was removed for a duck in the first over, with fellow opener Akhlaq Mohammed following later for 20. Then despite Paul Vickerstaff and skipper Dominic Ostler compiling 60 runs for the 3rd wicket a steady flow of wickets ensued. Vickerstaff departed for 17, Giles Clements (0), Richard Blundell (15), followed by the crucial wicket of Ostler (71), leaving Berkswell hanging on at 151 for 6. They managed to scrap their way to a total to 191 all out in the 53rd over thanks mainly to Keir Threlkeld’s invaluable 31 not out. Berkswell’s dismissal prior to the end of their allotted overs gave Newport 2 extra overs to overhaul their target.

Berkswell needed to continue their recent record of taking early wickets bowling second to put the batsmen under pressure and Dave Brignull duly obliged with 2 wickets in his first 8 over spell. Ably assisted by Sully Khan (1/23) at the other end the opening pair reduced Newport to 20 for 3, giving Berkswell the start they needed to exert pressure on their opponents.

Newport scrapped their way back into the contest with 2 good partnerships lifting them to 109 for 5, both scalps taken by Paul Vickerstaff, including a stunning caught and bowled to remove Blount for 25. However, the re-introduction of flamboyant Keir Threlkeld put Berkswell back in the driving seat when he took 3 wickets in 2 overs to reduce Newport to 137 for 8, including the vital wicket of Raj Bhatia (58), Newport’s overseas professional, thanks to another fine, this time by Dominic Ostler.

Yet in a game of many twists and turns Newport fought their way back into the contest, but a silly run and fine throw from Sully Khan accounted for Nock, run out for 20, and with 35 still required a Berkswell victory seemed a formality but Newport still had other ideas. A spirited attacking innings from the number 11 Myers (22 not out) saw the last pair requiring 9 to win from the last 2 overs when David Brignull ended the contest mopping up Tunks (4) with a straight clean bowled to finish with fine figures of 3 for 36.

Number 11 Myers (22 not out) picked up a single before David Brignull mopped up his partner clean bowled with a straight delivery to finish with fine figures of 3 for 36.

9 down and still 35 runs short of victory. However, number 11 Myers with 22 not out had other ideas taking the total to 183, until Dave Brignull clean bowled his partner Tunks (4) with the first ball of the 56th over, to send Berkswell to a fantastic victory and a fine personal return for Brignull of 3 for 36.

Berkswell will seek to strengthen their position on Saturday with a local derby away to Coleshill on Saturday.