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Kenilworth Wardens clinch promotion

Bank Holiday double for Wardens

Last Updated: Aug 28, 2013 08:46pm
Kenilworth, Warwick
By Paul Smith
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Kenilworth Wardens clinched promotion to the Birmingham Premier League, thanks to a superb Bank Holiday double.

Martin Donald’s side returned to the top flight, following a three year absence, after a tense four-run win at third-placed Wellington was followed by a comfortable 97-run home triumph over Smethwick.

And should Wardens extend their incredible unbeaten run to 19 matches, when rock-bottom Brewood visit Glasshouse Park this Saturday, they will seal the Division One title two matches before the season’s finale.

First-season skipper Donald, whilst understandably ecstatic, is already looking ahead to next season. He said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to be promoted. The lads have done really well this year, and it is great to be back in the Premiership after three years away. One more win will also see us promoted as champions, and we are going to give it a good shot this weekend.

“The five players who joined us this year are all good, and their arrival gave us a real shot in the arm. Our availability has been really strong throughout the season, and this added strength-in-depth has meant a wide range of different people have chipped in with crucial contributions over the course of the season.

“We return to the top flight a much stronger club than when we left in 2010. Our 2nd and 3rd XI’s contain quite a few good young cricketers, so we now have the sort of depth necessary to perform well in the highest standard league in the country.”

Wardens’ hopes were given a further boost when Indian all-rounder Sitanshu Kotak signed a new contract. Kotak, whose stay is now extended to an unprecedented 19 seasons, has taken over 50 wickets in addition to scoring nearly 600 runs during the promotion campaign.

 

1st XI

Kenilworth Wardens ended a three year absence from the Birmingham Premier League thanks to Bank Holiday weekend wins over Wellington and Smethwick.

Martin Donald’s team now require one further win from their three remaining matches to be crowned Division One champions for the first time. This task will be completed should they defeat already-relegated Brewood at Glasshouse Park this Saturday.

Sitanshu Kotak once again proved himself to be the man for the big occasion in Saturday’s clash with third-placed Wellington, when he followed an unbeaten 78 by grabbing 5-37 with a superb spell of left-arm spin.

This fine effort enabled Wardens to sneak a four-run win in a tight finish when the hosts’ Anthony O’Connor was dismissed by the last ball of the day.

Kotak was content to play a supporting role to Nick Seager early on, as the opener blasted six fours and three sixes in a brutal 53-ball 64. With the contest reduced to 40-overs per side by overnight rain, Seager’s intervention crucially seized the momentum which Wellington had claimed by winning the toss in bowler-friendly conditions.

Kotak shared a second important partnership with Tom Brammer, after Dan Lloyd’s 3-45 had ripped through the visitors’ middle order. The sixth wicket duo added 36 critical runs, to defy a tidy spell from spinner Adam Byram (1-23), and enable the visitors to post a competitive 209 for eight.

Two early Jason Young wickets seemed to have set Wardens on the way to victory, before Worcestershire keeper Michael Johnson and Joe Clarke (60) built a threatening 102-run third wicket alliance.

The introduction of Kotak brought a clatter of mid-innings wickets, before Johnson, who struck seven fours and a six in his 91-ball 80, joined forces with his skipper Wendell Wagner (21) to once again swing the pendulum towards the hosts.

However, Kotak dismissed both batsmen in the closing stages, and when the ninth wicket pair were unable to find ten runs off the Indian ace’s final over, Wardens claimed a narrow triumph.

Nick Seager’s second rapid-fire half century of the weekend, plus a more sedate effort from opening partner Keith Bell, set Kenilworth Wardens on their way to a promotion-clinching 97-run win over Smethwick.

The right-handed duo added 74 for the first wicket, of which Seager’s contribution was a 57-ball 58, which included a six and eight boundaries. Bell then added 77 for the second wicket with Scott Stenning (43), and a further 60 with third wicket partner Sitanshu Kotak, before holing out on the mid-wicket boundary for an excellent 117-ball 82.

Despite failing to find the boundary, Kotak finished with a run-a-ball unbeaten 38, while Jason Young smashed a rapid 23 as the hosts closed on 266 for five. Smethwick’s off spinner Shakeel Janjua claimed 3-49.

Wicket-keeper Renrick Hooper (28) got the visitors’ response off to a brisk start, but with Jason Young (3-26) and Ali Wilkinson sharing five new-ball wickets, they were soon up against it at 68-5.

Janjua and Indian pro Kuldeep Diwan (38) took the game to the hosts in a rapid 46-run seventh wicket partnership, before the introduction of Kotak brought the match to a rapid conclusion.

He claimed 4-11 from 29 balls, and when Bell brilliantly caught Janjua on the mid-wicket boundary, the celebrations began in earnest, with Smethwick 169 all out in the 33rd over.

 

2nd XI

Wardens’ 2nd XI boosted the club’s hopes of a promotion double by claiming a pair of emphatic Bank Holiday weekend wins over Kings Heath and Worcester Nomads.

And it was prolific left-hander Robin de Regt who once again led the way, with two fine 80’s, which took his seasonal tally past the 700 run mark.

James Jordan’s team now face a crucial local derby clash with league leaders Coventry this weekend, hoping to reverse the tightest of one wicket defeat from earlier in the season. Should they be successful, Wardens will go to the summit of the Division Two (South) table with two matches remaining, although third-placed Bromsgrove also remain in threateningly close proximity.

De Regt shared a number of useful partnerships on a flat Glasshouse Park pitch against Kings Heath. He added 58 with opening partner James Madley (22) and 54 for the fifth wicket with Dan Phillips (17), while Sunjay Sharma (35) and Andy Whitehall (21) also chipped in with useful runs.

The South African left hander struck ten fours in his fluent 110-ball unbeaten 88, while the visitors’ wayward seven-man attack also contributed 41 wides. Seamer Dan Brockman, who bowled a fine spell which returned 5-41, received precious little by way of support, as the hosts closed on 260 for seven.

Wardens’ stalwart opening attack Jordan and Nick Whiting (2-29) made early inroads into the visitors’ batting, after which Tom Ballinger and Adam Burch made short work of the middle and lower order.

Leg spinner Ballinger dismissed top-scoring opener Tom Salliss for 24 on his way to the fine return of 4-21, while seamer Burch grabbed 2-21 from seven tidy overs, as the visitors subsided to 120 all out in the 34th over.

Wardens’ first visit to Worcester Nomads proved equally successful, as de Regt’s excellent 86 delivered an emphatic 72-run Bank Holiday Monday triumph.

The left hander drove with his usual fluency, during a 120-run second wicket partnership with James Madley, who contributed a useful 66. De Regt was then joined by Tom Brammer, who made a violent unbeaten 54 in another three-figure alliance. Pat O’Driscoll claimed 2-44 for the Nomads.

After tea, the hosts made slow progress towards their 273-run target against Wardens’ seamers, of whom Nick Whiting (1-29) was the pick.

With spinners Andy Whitehall and Tom Ballinger keeping things equally tight, Roger Dixon (61*) and Oliver Butterworth (37) settled for some batting practice as Worcester Nomads drifted aimlessly to a 72-run defeat at 201 for five.

by Luke Salisbury

 

Kenilworth Wardens Thirds

Temple Grafton breezed to a ten wicket Cotswold Hills Division Three promotion-clinching win over Wardens 3rd XI, thanks to Simon Kirk’s brilliant unbeaten 113.

Wardens lost the toss and were inserted on a green-tinged wicket. Openers Mike Sorrell (24) and Paul Smith started convincingly, with a first wicket partnership of 87, before some dreadful batting saw the visitors collapse to 167 all out.

Smith stood firm, striking 15 fours and a six before being the last man dismissed for 93. The pick of the bowlers for Temple Grafton were Anthony Holt 3-32 and Rich James 3-28.

Wardens bowling didn’t deter the home openers, with Kirk particularly severe on anything off-line. He struck 19 beautifully-timed boundaries, plus three maximums, to take the hosts to victory in the 28th over. Fellow opener, Mark Russell finished with an unbeaten 38.

 

Kenilworth Wardens Fourths

Amun Bal grabbed three wickets to lead Wardens 4th XI to a crushing 202-run victory over Moreton-in-Marsh 2nd’s.

The teenage seamer finished with 3-17, while there were two wickets apiece for Jamie Brown and Colin Shaw, as the visitors collapsed to 45 all out in only 20.5 overs.

Earlier, Scott Jones (68) and John Hayman (27) added 98 for the second wicket, before Stuart Johnson’s rapid 40 plus 44 from Richard Bennett took the hosts to a substantial 247-8. The pick of Moreton’s bowlers was Wise, who claimed 4-38.

 

 

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