Trevor Jordan reports on Berkswell Cricket Club’s crucial relegation clash which saw Berkswell seamer David Brignull claim Premier Division season’s best figures of 7 wickets for 26 runs at Wombourne yesterday:
Birmingham & District Premier League – Premier Division
Berkswell 73 (all out) beat Wombourne 52 (all out) by 21 runs
It was a return to winning ways for Berkswell’s Tyler Packaging sponsored 1st XI after they clinched a dramatic win on the road at bottom placed Wombourne to climb one place to 9th in the table in an amazing game that saw all twenty wickets fall for a meagre total of 125 runs.
Having lost the toss and been inserted, Berkswell were soon reeling at 3 for 3 on a seaming deck at the end of an eye-opening triple-wicket second over. Imran Arif (1) lbw off the first ball, Mohammed Akhlaq (0) caught behind off the fifth, and Tom Lewis (0) also given out lbw off the last ball of the over from Steve Howard. Things got worse for the visitors when skipper Dominic Ostler (0) was caught, first ball, by Mark Grant at slip off the first ball of Howard’s next over to give the bowler three wickets in three balls with the scoreboard only reading 8.
Opener James Neale and Jack Cornick managed to add another 12 runs before Cornick (6) was caught at mid-on by Dave Hemming in the 8th over. With half the side out for only 20 runs things were looking perilous for Berkswell, but a steadying partnership of 37 runs between Neale and Jon Coleman eased the early bowling onslaught. Having batted cautiously on the difficult track Coleman (17) edged a ball from spinner Tom Brown into the waiting hands of Ed Fisher behind the stumps, the wicket falling in the 19th over. The Brown and Fisher combination had further success in Brown’s next over claiming the wickets of Phil Neale (0) and Chris Cheslin (0) to leave Berkswell on 57 for 8. Two runs later opening bat James Neale (15), having batted with gritty determination for 22 overs, was adjudged lbw to Michael Hill. Tailenders Dave Brignull (8 not out) and Aditya Rai produced a few lusty blows to move the score on to 73 but Rai (6) was bowled by Hill and the visitor’s innings closed in the 26th over.
Defending such a low total it was imperative that Berkswell made an early breakthrough in the Wombourne reply, and when Dave Brignull comprehensively bowled Tom Brown (2) off the 10th ball of the innings they had just the start they needed. The wicket spurred the bowler on and, in an inspired spell of seam bowling, Brignull reduced the home side to 29 for 7 in the space of 10 overs claiming all the wickets to fall. Imran Arif who had bowled tidily from the other end, but without any success, was replaced by Chris Cheslin who immediately picked up a wicket with his fourth ball to leave the home side on 44 for 8 in the 15th over. When the 9th wicket went down in the 17th over, Ben Robinson (0) trapped in front by Cheslin, it was only a matter of time before Berkswell claimed an astounding victory. The visitors did not have long to wait as Cheslin wrapped things up in his next over when Steve Howard (6) gave an easy catch to Jon Coleman at cover to leave Wombourne 52 all out in the 19th over. Brignull finished with the remarkable figures of 7 for 26 off 9 overs and Cheslin 3 for 3 off 2.2 overs.
A delighted Dominic Ostler said: “Having batted first and seen what was happening with the ball, we knew what we had to do to win and that was put the ball in the right areas and let the track do the rest. Dave Brignull bowled magnificently and did just what was required and all credit to him. Imran Arif bowled well but without any reward and then Ches came on and wrapped things up for us.
“The win was just what we needed to restore some confidence to the team as we approach the final four games of the season and the way in which we did it was excellent, but we still need to keep winning if we are to move away from the relegation zone.”
Berkswell travel to Sutton Coldfield tomorrow (Monday 26th August 2013) with all to play for in another relegation dog-fight. this time against fellow strugglers Walmley who sit in the relegation zone a meagre 9 points behind Dominic Ostler’s men. The game gets underway at midday.