Even with the inclusion of former England international Ian Bell in the Knowle & Dorridge side he was unable to prevent Berkswell coming away from the Station Road ground with a seven wicket win that further consolidates their position at the top of the league table.
Batting first after an uncontested toss, the home side made steady progress with openers Scott Stenning and Alex Phillips compiling an opening partnership of 40 in ten overs. However, in the next over Richard Jones sent Alex Phillips’ middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground. The loss of Phillips (15) brought Bell, making his K&D debut, to the wicket and filled the large crowd with expectation, but their expectation was short lived as the first ball he faced from Jones was the perfect line and length and feathered the edge of Bell’s bat and Chris Whittock took the catch behind. In the 12th over David Brignull trapped Stenning (20) lbw and K&D had slipped to 40 for 3 in the space of just five balls. Oliver Haley and skipper Sam Reddish managed to stem the sudden loss of wickets putting together a 32 run partnership over the course of the next eleven overs before Reddish (16) was caught behind off the bowling of Grant Thornton. Three runs later Ethan Brooks (0) was also adjudged lbw to a Brignull delivery and that left the hosts on 75 for 5 at the end of the 24th over. Then, three overs later, Thornton claimed his second wicket having William Rigg (5) caught at slip by Dominic Ostler, and in the next over Haley (19) was caught behind to give Brignull (3 for 51) a third wicket. At 88 for 7 in only the 28th over, it fell to Blake Coburn and Jack Grundy to try and post a total that would give K&D any chance of defending. This they valiantly did adding another 62 runs in 20 overs until Coburn (33) was caught at deep mid-wicket by Jones off the spin bowling of Ateeq Javid. At 152 in the 50th over Chris Cheslin (2) was caught at long-off by Javid to give Nick James a wicket, and the innings finally came to a close in the last over when Grundy (37) was caught by Tom Lewis to give Javid a second wicket.
In reply, the Berkswell openers, Javid, and Danial Chaudhry, looked at ease with the bowling of Will Mottram and Grundy and put together an opening stand of 87 in 20 overs, however, Chaudhry (37) then fell lbw to Coburn in the 21st. Javid and Dan Mousley proceeded to add another 50 runs in 10 overs to put the visitors within sight of victory, but Javid (72) was then caught by Reddish off the bowling of Ethan Brooks, and Whittock (0) was caught at slip by Coburn to give Cheslin a wicket. Despite the loss of two quick wickets, Mousley and James steered Berkswell to the winning total with youngster Mousley finishing on 46 not out and James 7 not out.
Next week Berkswell return to Meeting House Lane to face a Moseley side who currently sit in sixth place in the table.