Some very close finishes in this weekend’s games, in what was a largely successful couple of days for the club.
Saturday saw the 1sts travelling to Harborne, but they were soundly beaten by 110 runs. Despite being in early trouble at 4-2, the hosts recovered to 305-6 by the close of their innings – largely thanks to a 139 run partnership between Guriq Randhawa (64) and James Hunt (147). Rizwan Gulzar and Attiq Chishti took two wickets apiece for us, but unfortunately we were bowled out for 195 in reply. Only Laeq Chishti (28), and Rana Hassan who continued his recent good form with 79 showed any real resistance as Randhawa completed a fine all round game for the hosts, taking 5-13.
The 2nd team hosted Wellington, in a thrilling game which ended in a tie. Batting first we made 175-9, after Matt Jenkinson (32) and Richard James (47) had laid a good platform for us, taking the score to 115-3. However, three wickets in an over from Sam Topper (which I witnessed from the non-strikers end!) meant the innings lost impetus and had to be rebuilt, with Joe Oakley (21) and myself making 31 not out which eventually ensured a reasonably competitive target was set.
The Wellington reply started well, led by Topper (43), but two wickets apiece for Michael Hartwell, Vickas Maher, James and Jenkinson coupled with an excellent all round fielding display meant that the scores finished level after a single was taken off the last ball of the innings, a result which seemed unlikely when Wellington needed 16 off the last five overs with four wickets left.
Hammerwich were the opponents for the 3rd team, and we were dismissed for 133 when batting first. Imram Bashir with 56 was the major contributor with the bat, whilst Todd Allen took 5-47 for Hammerwich. Despite fighting hard in the field hard in the field, and 3-13 from Will Hinder, an unbeaten 75 from Ben Traat saw Hammerwich home for the loss of six wickets.
The 4th team continued their good start to the season with a 69 run victory away at Armitage second team. We posted 172-6 from their allotted overs, largely thanks to Myles Davis (30) and a patient 68 (or boring according to his description on Saturday night) from captain Rob Baker. Benji Lawrence (3-39) and Richard Birch who was amongst the wickets again with 4-26 ensured a relatively comfortable victory, which was also notable for Ant Hartwell forgetting his white trousers and having to play in a pair of blue tracksuit bottoms….
On Sunday, the 1st team took on Alrewas and were victorious by the slender margin of just two runs. Steve Jones (83) was well supported by Matt Jenkinson (38) and youngster Ross Parker (56 not out) as a total of 222-4 was recorded. Regular wicket keeper Andy Jones (2-33) enjoyed a rare bowl, with Jenkinson (3-45) and Parker (2-25) following up their performances with the bat in support as a narrow win was recorded.
The 2nds recorded a more comfortable win by seven wickets against St Matthews from Burntwood, for whom Chris Bullock top scored with 96 as they were bowled out for 186. Richard Birch, Benji Lawrence, Rich James and Peter Parnaby all took two wickets for Penkridge, who were thankful to youngsters Harry Turnbull (45), Jacob Ratcliffe (63 not out) and the evergreen Mohammed Shafiq (36 not out) as they passed their target with plenty to spare.
I enjoyed my game in the 2nd team, made memorable for me as son Josh made his Birmingham League debut in the same team as me – a very proud moment. It would have been even more memorable had the flying volley I connected with in the warm up football gone past him in goal, not just past the post instead! For me, it was nice to get a few runs at an important stage of the game, and I felt the most comfortable I have with the bat this season.
The fight we displayed in the field to salvage a tie from what looked like a lost cause was pleasing, and something that will hold us in good stead as the season goes on. Three catches and a stumping with the gloves – and feeling that it was the best I’d kept wicket since starting to play again last season – completed a very satisfying day.