Berkswell’s aim, having already won the league by a clear margin, was to complete the season undefeated, but this came to an end with a loss to Knowle & Dorridge after a close and entertaining encounter at Meeting House Lane.
Losing the toss and having to bat first, Berkswell struggled with the bowler friendly conditions at the start of the innings and K&D’s opening bowlers, Ethan Brookes and Jack Grundy, exploited the conditions perfectly. Achiveving movement through the air and off the track, they accounted for Ateeq Javid (1), Dan Mousley (0), Chris Whittock (13), and Richard Jones (1), and the first 14 overs only brought 29 runs for the loss of four wickets. Nick James and Mohammed Ahmed stabilised the situation and compiled a fifth wicket partnership of 18 runs, but the introduction of Chris Cheslin into the attack, replacing Brookes, saw two more wickets fall in his second over - James (11) offering a return catch, and Tom Milnes (0) being caught behind. Whilst the wickets were falling at the other end, Mohammed Ahmed managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and in partnership with Grant Thornton added another 43 runs. However, Ahmed (34) was the next batsman to be dismissed when he was caught at deep square leg and this wicket brought skipper Dominic Ostler to the crease. Without any addition to the total, Thornton (8) was caught at mid-on, but a ninth wicket partnership of 24 runs between Ostler and Nigel Perry-Ogden pushed the home side over the 100 mark. The dismissal of Perry-Ogden (8) at 112 in the 36th over brought in last man David Brignull and with him the added pressure on Ostler to advance the score as quickly as possible. However, having only added another 9 runs to the total in four overs the innings came to a close when Ostler (17) gave a catch to Will Rigg fielding at point. For K&D, Jack Grundy picked up 3 for 16, and Chris Cheslin 3 for 27.
In their response to Berkswell’s low score, K&D found it just as hard to score runs and wickets started to fall at regular intervals. Alex Phillips (12) was the first to depart when he was caught at slip by Ostler from a Milnes delivery, and he was quickly followed by Brookes (14) when caught behind by Whittock to give Milnes a second victim. The dismissal of Tom Smith (5), lbw to Jones, reduced the visitors to 34 for 3 in the 11th over, but a 4th wicket partnership of 19 between Hamza Shaikh and Sam Reddish halted the wicket loss. However, Shaikh (8) was given out lbw to Thornton, and then Rigg (4) and Reddish (14) both lost their wickets to deliveries from Brignull. The loss of three quick wickets now left K&D precariously balanced at 63 for 6 in the 23rd over, and their situation was made worse when Blake Coburn (8) was run out in the 27th over with the scoreboard reading 89 for 7. Berkswell now had the chance to wrap up the visitor’s innings and achieve another victory to keep them on track for a season undefeated, but an aggressive innings from Grundy swung the pendulum back in K&D’s favour. Grundy (27) then slashed at a ball from Jones and gave Ostler another catch at slip to leave the visitors on 111 for 8, and with just Cheslin and last man Sam Graham left to bat, the pendulum swung back towards Berkswell. However, with Cheslin joining Nick Sale at the crease and only eleven runs needed to claim victory, the pair slowly eased K&D to the required total and in doing so deprived Berkswell of the chance to go the whole season without a loss in the league.
Berkswell will wrap up their successful season on Saturday with an away fixture at Moseley. The match at Streetsbrook Road starts at 12 noon.