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By Tony Sollis Monday 10 September 2012 Updated: 10/09 10:42
LEAMINGTON'S relegation from the Birmingham League Premier Division was confirmed on Saturday when they suffered a five-wicket defeat at local rivals Berkswell.
Spa, knowing they needed maximum points from their remaining two matches to have any chance of pulling off a miraculous escape, batted first after captain David Bailey won the toss.
Leamington got off to a steady start with openers Tom Lewis and Alex Phillips (13) taking the score to 22 before Phillips was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Tom Milnes.
Milnes, who last week was part of Warwickshire's County Championship winning team, then had Jason Young (1) caught to leave Leamington 31-2.
Lewis and Bailey then set about building a defendable total as the pair put on 49 for the third wicket before Lewis was LBW off the bowling of Khan for 34.
Leamington's middle and lower order found the going tough against Milnes and Khan on a slow wicket and were quickly reduced to 119-5.
With Bailey at the crease Leamington were hopeful of reaching a target of around 200 but, when he was caught behind for an excellent 60 (10x4), the innings soon subsided as Leamington's inexperienced lower order were unable to handle overseas pro Ed Rainsford as he returned the excellent figures of 4-26 off 12 overs.
Milnes also picked up three wickets, while there were two for the excellent Khan whose variations were very hard to pick for the Leamington batsmen as the visitors slumped to 155 all out.
In reply, Leamington did their best to make the runs hard to come by for the Berkswell batting line-up as Paul Rowe (2-37) removed Cornick (23) and Cheslin (8) to leave the hosts 55-2.
Neale (30) soon followed LBW to 16-year-old debutant Paul Lawrence (2-16), who bowled an excellent spell in the middle overs.
Lawrence then had Milnes (23) caught on the boundary with the score on 117-4 before captain and former Warwickshire professional Dominic Ostler took his side to within two runs of victory before he was caught for a well-paced 47 off the bowling of Will Field, who bowled at a lively pace at the end of the innings.
Despite the five-wicket defeat, Leamington can take several positives from the match as the bowling of Lawrence and Field bodes well for the future and the team will be looking to bounce back to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
Leamington finish the campaign with a home match against Kidderminster Victoria on Saturday.
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