DESPITE a defiant half-century from skipper Dominic Ostler, Berkswell were unable to restrict West Bromwich Dartmouth from obtaining the two points the Black Country side required to claim the Birmingham League Premier Division title on Saturday, writes Anna-Louise Adams.
The hosts claimed a five-wicket victory which, coupled with Barnt Green’s seven-wicket victory at Himley, means Berkswell have slipped to third in the table heading into Saturday’s final game of the season at home to Kenilworth Wardens.
Afterwards a naturally disappointed Berkswell skipper Ostler commented that, despite his team’s best efforts all season, it was a pity that the title had proven elusive.
“We can pinpoint the matches where we failed to get the result we should have done and that is where the title slipped away from us.” said Ostler.
“We have to learn from our experiences this year and use that knowledge to prevent the same happening next season.”
The visitors to Sandwell Park were soon two wickets down with only 15 runs on the scoreboard, as Mark Best was caught behind and Tom Milnes was bowled by Arslan Shafiq.
Nick James and Tom Lewis repaired the early damage and combined well to add 57 runs in ten overs but Lewis was rapped on the pads and the umpire’s finger was quickly raised in response to Kadeer Ali’s appeal.
James kept the scoreboard ticking over in partnership with Darren Maddy, with both batsmen timing the ball well and adding another 37 runs to the total by the 22nd over.
Ostler joined Maddy in place of James who was caught behind and the duo scored three sixes in rapid succession.
Maddy, having reached a faultless 39 runs, then clipped a ball from Zeeshan Asif off his toes but only found the waiting hands of perfectly placed Rawlston Tappin at mid-wicket who held the catch.
Berkswell were now 143-5 in the 30th over. Phil Neale in partnership with Ostler added 39 runs before being adjudged leg before wicket.
Chris Cheslin and Davr Brignull lost their wickets cheaply, meaning Ostler was the last wicket to fall when caught and bowled by Brinder Phagura in the 47th over when the innings finally closed on 213.
Ali and Basit Zaman looked at ease with the Berkswell bowling attack and quickly had 50 runs on the scoreboard for the home side.
In the eighth over, Zaman drove a delivery from James hard to Milnes at mid-off who held the catch to leave the hosts on 57-1.
Phagura combined with Ali to add another 109 runs before they and Dan Bassett were out.
Tappin and Zeeshan stopped the loss of wickets and had moved the score on to 204 when Tappin was well caught by Best but the hosts eased to 216-5 to collect 20 points.