Cricket: Berkswell seal win over Aston Manor

Saturday 12 June 2010
Birmingham Premier League Division 2
Berkswell 274-5 v Aston Manor 186ao

Berkswell moved up to joint fourth place in Division 2 of the Birmingham Premier League, but only one point off 2nd place, after a convincing 88 run victory at home against Aston Manor.

[Pictured – Berkswell CC Back row from left to right: Khizar Zaman; Wes Hartslieff; Steve Parker; Dominic Ostler; David Brignull; James Neale.
Front row: Tom Milnes; Mohammed Akhlaq; Phil Neale; Babar Khan; Sultan Khan.]

Invited to bat first on a track that looked as though it would initially favour the bowlers, the Berkswell openers – brothers James and Phil Neale – came to terms with the wicket and gradually started to pick up runs. The first 10 overs only produced 20 runs with Aston Manor’s Ryan Van Niekerk bowling three maidens in succession before the Neale duo quickened the pace and added another 30 runs in only 6 overs. The partnership was eventually borken in the 22nd over with the score on 84 when James Neale (26) was bowled by Fawad Ahmad.

Phil Neale, now accompanied by Mo Akhlaq, kept the scoreboard ticking over with a fine array of shots and the young Warwickshire player reached his 50 off only 58 balls. The score had progressed to 128 in the 35th over when the second wicket fell Neale (81) being bowled by Nabeel Asghar. The departure of Neale brought Thomas Milnes to the crease and with Akhlaq he kept up the run scoring momentum before an unfortunate calling error in the 40th over saw Akhlaq (27) run out with the score on 151. Wes Hartslief replaced Akhlaq and he was quickly into his stride pulling Ahmad for 6 off the third ball he faced. Milnes also took a liking to the visitors bowling and rapidly advanced his own tally to 38 off only 31 balls before he was caught off the bowling of Van Niekerk to leave the home side on 207 for 4 in the 46th over. Skipper Dominic Ostler now joined Hartslief and the pair quickly added another 49 runs before Hartslief (46) was caught in the 53rd over, his runs coming off only 37 balls. With two overs remaining Ostler (32 not out) and
Khizar Zaman (7 not out) added another 18 runs to close the innings on an impressive 274 for 5.

The Aston Manor reply also started cautiously but they soon lost their first wicket when Andrew Forman (11) was caught by James Neale at square leg off the bowling of Hartslief. When Chris Whittock (12) edged a quick ball from Milnes to the safe hands of Ostler at slip the visitors had been reduced to 29 for 2 in the 9th over.

[Pictured: Aston Manor’s reply at 46 for 2]

A promising partnership of 45 between Arfan Khan and Darren Baker came to an end when Khan (11) was also caught at slip by Ostler this time off the bowling of Babar Khan and the bowler soon claimed his second wicket when he caught and bowled Van Niekerk (9). This left Aston Manor on 86 for 4 in the 28th over. Ostler then picked up his third catch at slip when he held on to a ball edged by Asghar (9) off Dave Brignull. Some explosive batting from Manor’s Darren Baker (59) saw him take 16 runs off one Babar Khan over but in Khan’s next over he trapped the batsman LBW to leave the visitors on 129 for 6 and all chance of victory now gone. A seventh wicket partnership of 50 between Rikki Bassi (22) and Shozab Haider (31) restored some respectability to the innings but the loss of both batsman with the score on 179 and the departure of Ahmad (4) at 185 meant the two tailenders Muhammed Nawaz and Peter Evans had to hang for eight overs to secure a draw. This proved too much of a task and Manor’s skipper Evans, batting with a broken hand, became the final wicket to fall when he was caught at slip by Brignull to give Khan his fifth wicket. For Berkswell, Khan picked up 5 for 61 and Milnes 3 for 46.

[Spectators enjoying the closing stages of the game in front of the pavilion]

An ecstatic Dominic Ostler said: “We played really well and the great start the openers gave us took the pressure off the middle order and that enabled us to play our shots and post a big target to bowl at. Our bowling was good and our fielding was too and that kept the pressure on the visiting batsmen. Next week we travel to Old Elizabethan’s who are top of the table but only fourteen points ahead of us so a good result there is essential for us.”

Berkswell’s next match is away at Old Elizabethans on Saturday 19th June.