Trevor Jordan reports on an excruciatingly disappointing defeat for a Berkswell side that spurned a dominant position in the league once again to put a dent in their previously emerging title ambitions:
Birmingham & District Premier League – Premier Division
Kidderminster Victoria 125 all out v Berkswell 90 all out
Berkswell’s Tyler Packaging 1st XI missed out on the chance to move into the top four in the Premier League after a disastrous batting performance saw them collapse to 90 all out when chasing Kidderminster’s meagre 125.
The visitors to Kidderminster’s Chester Road ground, having won the toss, turned in their best bowling and fielding display of the season so far and removed the home side in 40 overs with Imran Arif returning impressive figures of 5 for 26 off 9 overs.
Kidderminster openers Andy Kimberlin (15) and Craig Wood (13) had put 34 runs on the scoreboard but the partnership was broken in the ninth over when Wood edged Tom Milnes to ‘keeper Phil Neale. Chris Cheslin was soon amongst the wickets trapping Kimberlin lbw at 43 and the third wicket also fell at 43 when Zac Turley (6) was caught at slip by Dominic Ostler off Milnes. Neil Pinner and Connor Smith then held the Berkswell attack at bay for the next fifteen overs whilst putting together a 53 run partnership but Arif claimed the wicket of Pinner (27) caught behind by Phil Neal to leave the hosts 96 for 4. With Dave Brignull claiming the wicket of Chris Pyke (0) lbw five runs later half of the home side’s batting had been removed by the 31st over. Arif then claimed two wickets in two balls removing Smith (33) caught behind by Phil Neale, and Chris Whelan (0) clean bowled both wickets going down on 111. Phil Neale picked up his fourth victim of the afternoon when he brilliantly held on one handed to an edge from Mark Mansell (8) off Dave Brignull. Kidderminster skipper Jonathan Wright (12) was the next to depart magnificently caught at slip by Ostler as the ball flew high above his head, both wickets falling at 124. With only one run added to the scoreboard Arif bowled Tom Kimberlin (0) to wrap up the Kidderminster innings.
Berkswell set about the run chase in style with 12 runs coming off the first 3 overs but Phil Neale (2) edged to Mark Mansell at slip and the visitor’s first wicket had fallen. James Neale and Tom Lewis kept the scoreboard ticking over and the visitors on course for an away win but Lewis (16) was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Gareth Williams with the total on 42. Eight runs later Tom Milnes (8) met the same fate and Berkswell had lost three wickets by the end of 17th over. James Neale continued to work the ball around the field in partnership with Jack Cornick and had added another twenty runs, but Neale clipped the ball to short mid-wicket and set off for a quick single only to be sent back as the fielder gathered the ball. Chris Pyke’s throw left Neale (33) stranded and Berkswell now 76 for 4. From this point on the game totally changed and the rest of the Berkswell batsmen fell apart with only Cornick (12) making double figures and the final six wickets falling for the addition of only fourteen runs in 6.4 overs. Gareth Williams 4-51 and Connor Smith 4-9 did the damage with the ball for Kidderminster.
A shell-shocked Dominic Ostler said:”I still can’t fathom out how we contrived to lose another game from such a strong winning position. To lose six wickets for only fourteen runs in 6 overs is totally unacceptable and is an area of our game we must address quickly if we intend to have a lasting impact on the Premier league.”
Next Saturday Berkswell travel to near neighbours Knowle and Dorridge for another key match with only fifteen points separating the two sides. The game at the Station Road ground starts at 12 noon.