CRICKET: WARWICK continued their strong run of form as they defeated Ward End Unity by 119 runs at Hampton Road on Saturday.
Warwick skipper Matthew Warren lost the toss for a seventh consecutive time as the home side were asked to bat first on a green surface.
A buoyant Warwick were happy to oblige having gained a great amount of confidence off the back of results so far this season.
Experienced openers Graeme Burke and Adrian Passey set the foundation for the innings as they manoeuvred the ball nicely around the field, ran well and hit the odd bad delivery to the boundary in a text book opening stand.
Burke (57) looked strong all around the wicket, and could consider himself extremely unfortunate to be given out lbw with the partnership three shy of the century mark.
This brought number three Steven Smith to the wicket, and another partnership began straight from where the previous one had left off.
As this point, Passey started to come into his own as he mixed some forceful offside play with classical drives.
Smith (17) was the second wicket to fall, leaving in form skipper Matt Warren to join Passey at the crease for the final push.
Just as Passey looked set for further runs, the opener was bowled out for 81 – leaving the scorecard balanced nicely at 193/3 heading into the final overs.
From this moment on wickets fell frequently, and Ward End slow bowler Gary Speake claimed five wickets for just 24 runs as the Warwick middle and lower order fell over themselves trying to boost the score.
Warwick ended 232/8 at the halfway point of the game, an above par score but with plenty still to do to win the match.
In reply, Ward End made a disastrious start when opener Akbar (0) was bowled out in the second over of the innings.
From there on, wickets came in clusters as the visitors built their score up – only to go from 29 for the loss of just one wicket to 31 for three, both wickets clean bowled in quick succession of each other.
Warwick were made to work harder for the next breakthrough as Tanzil Khan (25) and Asif Munir (27) built a good partnership.
However, Warwick always had plenty in the tank and they turned to spinners Anil Lohan and Joe Evans to apply the pressure.
Both set batsmen departed in consecutive overs as Khan was clean bowled by Lohan with score 74 and Munir by Evans to leave the visitors on 78/5.
Another wicket for Evans (22/2) was followed up by fast bowling from Rajan Bhatti who returned to pick up a couple of late wickets and ended with figures of 38/3 from ten overs.
Anil Lohan (3-23) and his tricky leg spin completed the formalities as he duly mopped up the tail, helping Warwick bowl the hosts all out for 113.
The result means Warwick gained a maximum 24 points, in the process extending their lead at the top of Warwickshire League Division Five.