Cricket: Winning draw for Berkswell preserves position at summit

Report on Berkswell Cricket Club’s Birmingham League Division 1 encounter with Dorridge, played on Saturday 30th August:

Berkswell 193 for 8 played Dorridge 177 for 9
Result: Winning draw for Berkswell

Berkswell preserved their position on top of Birmingham League Division One after this winning draw at home to fourth-placed Dorridge on Saturday. Dorridge won the toss and surprisingly passed up the opprtunity of batting first on Berkswell’s hard, dry Meeting House Lane pitch. The decision appeared to pay off though, as they quickly sent brothers James (0) and Phil Neale (11) back to the pavilion.

Berkswell’s Warwickshire Academy prospect Ben Williams then set to work with Mohammed Akhlaq on repairing the early damage, but when Akhlaq (20) was caught and quickly followed by skipper Dominic Ostler (1), Berkswell found themselves four down with less than 100 on the board. Williams was joined by Jonathan Coleman and together the young players restored some order to proceedings. When Williams was run out on 59, Coleman received good support from Chris Cheslin (20), before Anthony McAllister (7) and Dave Brignull (7 not out) worked hard to bring Berkswell to a respectable 193 for 8 from their allotted 55 overs, with Coleman remaining unbeaten on 49. Omar Ali was the pick of the Dorridge attack with 2 for 34 from his 14 overs.

Berkswell knew they had to bowl well to prevent Dorridge stealing a victory on a good batting wicket and got off to an ideal start when paceman Dave Brignull removed opener Valeed Butt for 2. Jonathan Webb (31), David Ball (29) and Tariq Mohammed (28) made useful contributions for Dorridge and with 25 overs remaining the game was wide open. The introduction of spinner Babar Khan proved crucial as he applied the pressure with some tight bowling, taking 5 scalps in a miserly spell going for just 25 runs in 17 overs. Paceman Dave Brignull also chipped in with a vital contribution (3 for 37), as wickets fell steadily, but in the end not quite quickly enough to finish the game off as the final pair hung on for the losing draw.

Berkswell skipper Ostler said after the game: ā€œIā€™m delighted that we showed some real character in an excellent team performance today. The two youngsters Ben Williams and Jon Coleman batted very maturely against some disciplined bowling and Babar Khan bowled superbly.ā€

Berkswell visit fellow promotion hopefuls Wombourne tomorrow (Saturday 6th August 2011).