Berkswell continued their good start to the season with a 10 run win at Shrewsbury a result that puts them joint top of the league table.
On a day dominated by the inclement weather, Berkswell, having lost the toss, were asked to bat first on a wicket greened up by the recent rain. With the ball seaming off the wicket and swinging in the strong wind, the Berkswell top order found it hard to make any headway and lost early wickets to the home side’s opening bowlers, Worcestershire’s skipper Joe Leach (2 for 11), and Mike Barnard (2 for 16). Openers Ateeq Javid (2), and Danial Chaudhry (10) were both back in the pavilion with only 19 runs on the scoreboard, and they were soon joined by Dan Mousley (5) and Chris Whittock (4). At 24 for 4 in the 16th over posting a sizeable total looked to be a distant hope, but Nick James and Tom Lewis battled patiently against the testing pitch and the elements and compiled a 68 run partnership in 13 overs, including Lewis striking the ball powerfully back over the bowler’s head for two big sixes. The loss of James (21), and Richard Jones (1) in the space of two overs left Berkswell on 97 for 6 and put the pressure back on the visitors. However, an aggressive innings from Tom Milnes enabled the scoreboard to move quickly, and despite the loss at 124 of Lewis for well earned 47, and Mohammed Ahmed (3) at 140, the run scoring continued with skipper Dominic Ostler quickly getting into his stride. Over the next 11 overs the pair added another 79 runs and the innings closed on 219 for 9 when Milnes (74) was bowled off the last ball of the 50 overs. Ostler remained unbeaten on 32.
The Shrewsbury reply started robustly with Will Parton and Rob Foster advancing the total to 54 by the start of the 11th over, but with his first ball Javid claimed the wicket of Foster (16) lbw, and seven runs later he had Parton (34) dismissed in the same way. At 63 for 2 in the 16th over, the rains came and play was suspended for ninety minutes. At the restart a revised total meant that Shrewsbury had to reach 130 off the remaining 9 overs of the match to claim the victory. In the rapidly advancing gloom, Leach and Asham Hodge (17) added a brisk 28 runs and it looked as if a Shrewsbury win was possible, but the loss of Leach (32) effectively ended the home side’s chances and they finished their innings on 119 for 7. Ateeq Javid was the pick of the Berkswell bowlers finishing with figures of 4 for 13 off 5 overs.
On Saturday, Berkswell return to Meeting House Lane with a home fixture against Smethwick. The match starts at 12 noon.