SITANSHU KOTAK’S fine all-round display guided Kenilworth Wardens to a comfortable four wicket Birmingham League Division One win on their first visit to Ombersley.
The veteran Indian grabbed 5-40 as the hosts were dismissed for 143, before his 128-ball half century steered Wardens home with nearly six overs remaining.
Warwickshire seamer Tom Allin put Ombersley on the back foot with two early strikes, after which Kotak’s left-arm spin tore through the middle order, with the support of some secure catching.
At 66 for 7, Ombersley looked dead and buried, only for veteran Ted Bayliss to mastermind a determined fightback.
The former Kidderminster all-rounder, who struck six boundaries in his patient 54, was joined in a 72-run eighth wicket alliance by seamer Chris Harwood, whose breezy 41 occupied 62 balls.
With batting conditions improving, Wardens remained favourites at the break, a position which was soon confirmed by Kotak’s 71 run second wicket partnership with Keith Bell (37).
Despite three wickets apiece for Harwood and Neil Slade, Scott Stenning and Martin Donald chipped in effectively, to ensure the visitors registered their opening win of the campaign.
Opening bowler Sam White grabbed four wickets for Wardens 2nds, but a lacklustre batting display ensured their Birmingham League Division Two South encounter with Ombersley petered out to a dull draw.
White’s second spell produced four middle order scalps, while there were two apiece for veteran trundlers Paul Henderson and Nick Whiting.
However, led by opener Dominic D’Oliveira’s 38, the visitors’ top four all got a start, to post a competitive-looking target of 156, in bowler-friendly conditions.
Skipper James Madley’s useful 28 got Wardens off to a good start, before a middle order collapse left experienced left-hander Mark Pidgeon (35) fighting a lone hand.
Ombersley spinner Ryan Tongue claimed 3-24 in a tidy 15 over spell and the hosts closed on 111 for 8.
Three wickets apiece for seamer Simon Gough and all-rounder Mike Challis-Brown, took Wardens 3rds to a 30 run triumph over visitors Stanway.
This gave Gough’s team a second consecutive Cotswold League Division Three win, but despite controlling much of the match, they had to survive a late scare at the hands of man of the match Ed Glynn’s unbeaten 67.
Paul Smith (55) and Scott Jones (28) added 66 for the hosts’ second wicket, before Jon Sanders (23) joined Smith in another 50-plus alliance.
A useful late flurry from Gough and Paul G Smith ensured Wardens posted a healthy-looking 181 for 4 from 45 overs.
Gough ripped through the upper order with the new ball, before experienced off-spinner Challis-Brown looked to have sealed victory for the hosts, when Stanway slumped to 98 for 8.
However, Glynn took full advantage of some wayward bowling and indifferent fielding, to blast his way to an unbeaten 67, before last man Jim Ellis’ over-ambition left his team 30 runs shy of victory, with 4.3 overs remaining.
Despite promising debuts from Warwickshire juniors Harry Johnson and Ben Rex, a very young Wardens 4ths fell to an eight wicket defeat at the hands of Winchcombe 2nds.
Rex battled hard in partnership with Jamie Brown (38), but the hosts’ seven-man attack dismissed Wardens for 107.
Openers Ben Brown (37) and B Walker (50no) combined to see Winchcombe most of the way home, and although a wicket apiece for Luke Moreau and Rex checked their progress, the hosts duly completed victory in the 24th over.
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