Berkswell extended their lead at the top of the Premier League Division 1 table to 27 points following their six wickets win away at Shifnal.
Drizzle delayed the start of the match and reduced the contest to 40 overs per side, and it was the home side that batted first after an uncontested toss. Openers Steve Leach and Shane Setia made rapid progress with Leach taking sixteen runs off the second over, bowled by paceman Richard Jones, but in the fourth over he mis-timed a pull shot to a slower ball from Jones and gifted Danial Chaudhry and easy catch at mid-wicket. Setia and Ismail Anwar continued to play some aggressive shots, but their 47 run partnership came to an end in the 16th over when Setia (15) was caught by Tom Milnes off the bowling of Grant Thornton. James Sookias (0) was the trapped lbw off Thornton’s next delivery and Shifnal finished the over on 70 for 3. Anwar (30) was the next to depart when he was brilliantly caught one handed by ‘keeper Chris Whittock after a legside glance from the batsman. Shaun Lorimer (1) and Chris Murrell (1) did not occupy the crease for long, but Ross Aucott (34), Jack Edwards (19), and Jack Twigger (21 no) managed to get the final score up to 166 for 8 at the end of the 40 overs. Grant Thornton finished with figures of 4 for 25 from 9 overs.
In their reply, Berkswell had lost openers Ateeq Javid (15) and Chaudhry (1) with only 32 runs on the scoreboard, but Whittock (44 no) and Daniel Mousley (68) combined to add 113 runs for the third wicket and put the visitors within site of victory. Tom Lewis’s brisk 13 runs moved Berkswell to within 5 runs of the win and Mohammed Ahmed (6 no) finished the match in style pulling the first ball he received over mid-wicket.
On Saturday, Berkswell return to Meeting House Lane to face second placed Shrewsbury, the only side that, realistically, can prevent Berkswell reclaiming the title this season.