Trevor Jordan reports on a disappointing Saturday for Berkswell’s Tyler Packaging 1st XI at Wolverhampton Cricket Club.
Birmingham & District Premier League – Premier Division
Wolverhampton (224 for 5 wickets) drew with Berkswell (180 for 9)
In a match they should have won comfortably away at Wolverhampton, Berkswell threw away a dominant position to narrowly avoid a demoralising defeat following a middle order batting collapse. The result allowed Wolverhampton to climb off the bottom of the table, whilst Berkswell find themselves sitting in eighth place with plenty to think about.
Having won the toss Berkswell skipper Dominic Ostler invited the home side to have first use of the wicket and things went Berkswell’s way early on as Wolverhampton were reduced to 17 for 2 by the 10th over with Imran Arif claiming both wickets. But a third wicket partnership of 131 between opener Tom Fell and James Hammond took the initiative away from the visitors to the Danescourt ground. Hammond (66) eventually lost his wicket to a catch in the deep by Arif off the pace bowling of Warwickshire’s Tom Milnes playing his first Birmingham League game this season for his home club. Fell, who looked at ease with the Berkswell bowling continued to put runs on the scoreboard and the home side eventually closed their innings at the end of the 55th over on 224 for 5 with Fell remaining undefeated on 117.
In reply Berkswell’s innings started well despite losing a wicket in the 8th over when opener Jack Cornick (7) was caught with the scoreboard showing 14. A second wicket partnership of 57 between James Neale and Tom Lewis kept the visitors on track and up with the required run rate and the loss of Lewis (19) in the 23rd over brought Tom Milnes to the crease to partner Neale. With the scoreboard continuing to tick over the pair kept Berkswell in the game and on course for an away win until Neale (42) was stumped by Parr off the bowling of Andy Bowyer the wicket going down at 105. Skipper Dominic Ostler’s stay in the middle was a brief four overs before he was bowled by Bowyer having only contributed 8 runs to the scoreboard. Mohammed Akhlaq now joined Milnes and the momentum swung back in Berkswell’s favour as a further 41 runs were added in 10 overs before Akhlaq(15) offered a catch to Dan Bowyer at mid-off to give Andy Bowyer his 3rd wicket.
However, the departure of Akhlaq turned the game back Wolverhampton’s way as the next four Berkswell wickets, all taken by Andy Bowyer, fell in the space of six overs for the addition of only 14 runs. With last man David Brignull now at the crease and with four overs still to bat out for the draw, Tom Milnes, having been in a position of potentially winning the game for the visitors now had to take control and prevent Berkswell suffering a humiliating defeat. For the remainder of the innings he managed to work the ball around the field to get the necessary singles to take the strike and protect the last man. Having successfully played out the 55th over as a maiden Milnes ended up undefeated on 69. For Wolverhampton Andy Bowyer picked up 7 for 50 off 14 overs.
A dumbfounded Dominic Ostler said: “I still can’t believe how we let that game get away from us. We were going along perfectly and on course to knock the runs off but then pressed the panic button. Rather than just playing a supporting role to Tom Milnes who would have won the game for us, we all started to play shots and got ourselves out to not particularly hostile bowling. We need to take a long hard look at ourselves, realise what went wrong, and learn from our mistakes.”
On Saturday Berkswell are at home to Wombourne who are currently sitting at the bottom of the league table. The match at the Meeting House Lane ground starts at 12 noon.