Berkswell continued their winning start to the 2019 league campaign with a convincing 190 run victory over Smethwick.
Losing the toss, Berkswell were invited to bat first, but Smethwick must have regretted their decision as openers Dan Mousley and Danial Chaudhry put together a first wicket partnership of 99 before Chaudhry (38) lost his wicket in the 21st over. Mousley and Chris Whittock added another 21 runs, but then in the 27th over Mousley (68) was run out attempting a third run. Nick James (0) was caught and bowled off the first ball he received and, from a previously strong position, Berkswell ended the over on 120 for 3. However, a 12 over partnership of 69 between Whittock and Tom Lewis put the pressure back on the visitor’s bowlers. The loss of Lewis (43 off 45 balls) at 189 brought Tom Milnes to the crease and the former Warwickshire and Derbyshire all-rounder added a brisk 67 run partnership with Whittock in only 7 overs. With Milnes (28) departing at 256 and Whittock (73) at 268, the remaining Berkswell batsman could only add another 15 runs between them and the innings finally closed on 283 with two balls of the 50 overs remaining.
The Smethwick reply started in hostile fashion with the first ball from Milnes rapping Ali Ebad on the gloves. The former Dorridge batsman, in obvious discomfort, only lasted another ball as Milnes then trapped him lbw. With opening bowlers Milnes and Richard Jones both bowling with exceptional pace, the Smethwick batsmen were finding it difficult to cope and they lost their second wicket when an excellent piece of fielding by Milnes ran out Gurbaj Singh (0). Milnes, in irrepressible form, then sent the middle stump of Amrinder Brar (1) cartwheeling out of the ground, and this wicket was closely followed by Jones having Omar Masood (8) caught behind by Liam Gately. After four overs Smethwick were reeling at 11 for 4, but a partnership of 34 in six overs between Gurinder Singh and Faisal Shahid enabled the visitors to accrue some runs despite the pacemen’s onslaught. However, Jones then had Singh (25) caught by Chaudhry, and Milnes bowled Shahid (7) to leave Smethwick on 49 for 6. At 57 Arif Mahmood (0) was caught by Chaudhry to give Milnes a fourth victim, and the introduction of Dave Brignull into the attack saw him remove Sukhjit Singh (7) and Sajid Ahmedazai (13) both batsmen being caught by Dominic Ostler. The final wicket fell when Arfan Khan (0) was bowled by James. For Berkswell, Milnes finished with figures of 4 for 27; Jones 2 for 29; and Brignull 2 for 21.
On Saturday, Berkswell will be looking to maintain their winning start to the season when they travel to Barnt Green who currently sit towards the bottom of the league table having lost two of their three matches. The match at Cherry Hill Road starts at 12 noon.