ANOTHER robust batting performance by Berkswell’s top order batsmen against Kidderminster enabled the Birmingham Premier League leaders to notch up their highest lead of the season and increase their lead at the top to 53 points with just seven games left.
Tom Lewis (89 not out) and Mark Best 87 both almost made centuries as Berkswell scored an impressive 326 and although they only managed a draw, 16 points keeps them firmly ahead of second-placed Knowle & Dorridge.
Asked to bat first on a flat, hard track, openers Darren Maddy and Mark Best were able to put on 87 runs in 23 overs before the first wicket fell when Maddy (45) was caught behind.
Chris Whittock’s 30 runs off 30 balls kept the scoreboard ticking over before he was run out with the score on 139, and then Oliver Haley (43) and Best added another 52 runs in 12 overs.
However, the loss of Best (87) caught at deep mid-wicket, broke the partnership and brought former Warwickshire man Tom Lewis to the crease.
In a superb display of power hitting, Lewis struck the ball to all parts of the ground much to the dismay of the Kidderminster bowlers, but to the delight of the sizeable crowd watching the game as he scored 8 sixes on his way to 89 not out.
Chasing down such a high target was always going to be challenge for the visitors but Matt Pardoe (50) and Nathan Round (59) also found runs easy to come by on such a good batting track.
Their opening partnership of 114 by the 23rd over stood Kidderminster in good stead but the loss of Pardoe and Haley slowed the run chances right down.
Jonathan Wright (30) and Neil Pinner (13) attempted to revive the innings, but when their wickets were lost with the scoreboard showing 152 and 163, to be then quickly followed by the departure of Michael Hill (6) at 173 in the 42nd over, the task became too much.
Kidderminster resigned themselves to bat out for the draw as Berkswell claimed the wicket of Chris Wood (39) in the 51st over, but Richard Kimberlin (14 not out) and Liam Weston (4 not out) held out for the final four overs.
This Saturday, Berkswell travel to near neighbours Knowle & Dorridge, who returned to second place after their comprehensive ten-wicket victory over Leamington.