An excellent weekend saw Berkswell, on the Saturday, extend their lead at the top of the Birmingham Premier League table to 60 points following a 72 run win at West Bromwich Dartmouth; and on the Sunday defeat Banbury in the Midlands regional semi-final of the Vitality National Club T20, and then Kegworth Town in the regional final to enable the club to progress through to the quarter finals of the national competition.
At West Bromwich Dartmouth a toss decided who would bat first, and a correct call by Dominic Ostler enabled Berkswell to have first use of the wicket. The visitors suffered an early set back losing Dan Chaudhry (2) in the second over, but after their early success the home bowlers then failed to make any immediate inroads into the Berkswell batting line up. Ateeq Javid and Chris Whittock kept the scoreboard moving quickly and the 50 came up in the 11th over. Keeping the Dartmouth bowlers at bay, the 100 run second wicket partnership arrived in the 24th over, but at 134 Whittock (57) lost his wicket to the first ball bowled by Sultan Afsal. Nick James and Javid added another 20 runs before James (12) was dismissed, and the fourth wicket was lost in the 38th over when Tom Lewis (0) was adjudged lbw just three runs later. Having been at the crease for 41 overs Javid was looking odds on for a century, but when he was on 92 he was caught by Kadeer Ali off another Afsal delivery, and the 5th wicket had fallen, the scoreboard now showing 180. Mohammed Ahmed (18) was stumped three runs later, but a seventh wicket partnership of 47 between Richard Jones (41) and Tom Milnes (19) pushed Berkswell well over the 200 mark. The innings finally closed at the end of the 55th over on 257 for 8.
In reply, the home side’s top order found it difficult to come to terms with the pace bowling of Jones and Milnes, and by the 10th over Amit John (8), Ismail Mohammed (2), Zen Malik (1), and Rawlston Tappin (4) were all back in the pavilion with the scoreboard showing 25 for 4. However, Ali and Shahzeb Raza then compiled a 72 run partnership for the fifth wicket, until Raza (42) was magnificently caught by Jones. Running away from slip towards the fine leg boundary he had to dive full length to take the ball as it dropped over his shoulder. The loss of Raza brought Rikesh Patel to the crease and his arrival had an instant impact on the game. In an amazing display of hard hitting he despatched the ball over the boundary with alarming regularity. Meanwhile, at the other end, Ali was slowly holding the innings together and keeping the home side in with a chance of victory. However, having completed his half century he then drove a delivery from James to short extra cover where Ostler held the powerfully driven shot. The loss of Ali (58) at 174 was the start of an amazing batting collapse by Dartmouth. Patel (49), having hit 7 sixes and a four in his innings, was then bowled by Milnes without any addition to the scoreboard. At 181 Manraj Johal (2) was run out by a direct hit from Lewis; Khalid Baig (0) was bowled by James at the same score; and then Ian Stevenson (5) was bowled by Milnes to bring the innings to a close on 185. For Berkswell Richard Jones returned figures of 3 for 12; Tom Milnes 3 for 27; and Nick James 2 for 24.
On Saturday Berkswell travel to Dorridge for their next league fixture. The match starts at 12 noon.