BERKSWELL were forced to settle for a winning draw against Smethwick, despite reducing the hosts to a 138-9 score.
Tom Lewis hit an unbeaten 79 to help the visitors finish on a 222-8 total, but the result means Berkswell lose some ground at the top of of Birmingham & District Premier Division One – following Shrewsbury’s 24-point victory against Dorridge.
The visitors lost a wicket from the first ball of the game after Ateeq Javid’s (0) shot was plucked out of the air by Sukhjit Singh from a Sajid Ahmedazai (2-25) delivery.
Danial Chaudhry (13) and Chris Whittock (33) got Berkswell on the board with a 37-run partnership, before the former was dismissed lbw by Ahmedazai.
Whittock followed shortly after, as did Nick James (20) and Mohammed Ahmed (17), to leave Berkswell on a 108-5 score.
Number seven Richard Jones (29) made an impact when striking up a partnership of 80 with Lewis for the sixth wicket, while tailenders Thomas Milnes (1) and Grant Thornton (14) helped to take Berkswell over the 200-run mark before their dismissals by Gurinder Singh (4-53).
In reply, Smethwick suffered a similar start to the visitors when losing opener Omar Masood (0) inside the first over of the game after being caught behind by Whittock from Milnes’ (4-20) delivery.
Milnes then claimed Amrinder Brar (17) for the second wicket, before Rawait Khan (1) was dismissed by Grant Thornton – with both being caught at the wicket by Whittock.
Sunjay Sharma (0) was the next victim claimed by Milnes, this time from a Dominic Ostler catch, as Smethwick slumped to 24-4.
Faisal Shahid (16) was claimed by Nick James (3-23) from an Awais Mohammed catch prior to the introduction of number seven Gurinder Singh (43).
Although his first two batting partners of Hamza Ahmed (19) and Sukhjit Singh (2) were lost early on during his time at the crease, he then proceeded to form a partnership of 51 with Ahmedazai (28no) for the eighth wicket.
Yadvinder Singh (4) was out in the final over to leave Berkswell with three balls to dismiss tailender Arfan Khan (0no), but he stood firm against bowler Thornton to claim unexpected points for Smethwick against the leaders.
Berkswell took 17 points from the encounter, but will hope for a maximum return against Barnt Green on Saturday (noon), before a T20 area final on Sunday against Banbury (1pm).