Berkswell maintained their unbeaten league status with another victory, this time by 22 runs, when defeating Walsall in a match reduced to 46 overs per side due to rain delaying the start.
Batting first, Berkswell suffered an early set back with the run out of Ateeq Javid off the first ball of the match, but Daniel Mousley and Chris Whittock calmed the nerves with a second wicket partnership of 32 runs. However, the loss of Mousley (19) in the 8th over, and then Danial Chaudhry (1) in the 9th over set the alarm bells ringing once again, and the situation worsened in the 11th over when Tom Lewis (1) was also dismissed with the score standing at only 48. For the home side to post a total they would be able to defend, it was imperative that the loss of wickets was halted, and over the course of the next sixteen overs Whittock and Nick James grafted their way to a partnership of seventy runs. Having completed his half century Whittock (54) was then adjudged lbw, and new batsman Richard Jones (3) was then bowled just three runs later to leave Berkswell on 121 for 6. At 130, Nick James (32) lost his wicket and he was closely followed by Tom Milnes (14), and Dominic Ostler (0). With the scoreboard now reading 149 for 9 and with eight overs still remaining, additional runs were desperately needed. Grant Thornton and last man David Brignull were able to add another 14 runs, but the innings closed with the wicket of Thornton (16) in the 43rd over.
The visitors opened their reply with Shoaib Akhtar and James Middleton and the first four overs saw them put 13 runs on the scoreboard, but in the 5th over Middleton (16) pulled a ball from Milnes to Chaudhry at short mid-wicket and he held the catch. Billy-Jo Cox (3) was the next to depart when he cut a ball from Jones hard into the gully where Mousley held a brilliant catch. At this stage of the match Walsall were now standing at 24 for 2 in the 8th over. Akhtar, meanwhile, was proving hard to remove and in partnership with Dannyjo Cox continued to add runs to the scoreboard. By the 16th over they had progressed the score to 62 at which point Thornton set the batsman up with two short balls that Cox (19) pulled for successive fours, but attempting it for the third time he, this time, lofted the ball to deep square leg and Lewis took the catch. Bruce Thomason and Akhtar then added another 21 runs in four overs, however with the score at 83, Thomason (2) lost his wicket to another amazing catch this time by Jones running back from mid-off towards the boundary to take the catch as the ball dropped over his shoulder. The demise of Thomason started a middle order collapse as Walsall slumped from 83 for 4 to 89 for 7 in the space of two overs. Throughout the loss of wickets, Akhtar was still keeping his side in the match reaching his 50 in the 32nd over, and he and Luke Stynes added 43 runs in an eighth wicket partnership. With just 30 runs need for victory, three wickets still in hand, and ten overs left, it appeared that the visitors were within reach of inflicting the first loss of the season for Berkswell. However, the losses of Stynes (19) lbw to James off the last ball of the 37th over, and Akhtar (56) bowled by Jones off the first ball of the 38th over, ended the visitor’s resistance, the innings finally coming to a close when James had last man James Rogers (1) adjudged lbw in the 41st over.
Grant Thornton proved the most successful bowler for Berkswell returning figures of 3 for 26, while James, Jones, and Javid all picked up two wickets each.
On Saturday Berkswell are at home and take on local rivals Knowle & Dorridge. The match starts at 12 noon.