BERKSWELL maintained their challenge for the Birmingham Premier League title with another win in convincing style this time by eight wickets against Leamington.
Winning the toss, home skipper Dominic Ostler invited the visitors to Meeting House Lane to have first use of a perfect track, but Leamington initially found run scoring hard against the pace of Derbyshire’s Tom Milnes.
In the seventh over Milnes sent Jamie Marsh’s leg stump cartwheeling out of the ground with the score on 13.
A partnership of 45 between Jonathan Wigley and Nick Couzens came to an end when Milnes had Wigley (37) caught behind by Liam Gately after the batsman top edged an attempted hook shot in the 16th over.
Couzens and new batsman Alex Mellor then looked at ease with the Berkswell attack and for the next 16 overs they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over with regularity.
However, having compiled a 65 run partnership, the pairing was broken when Couzens (42) fell victim to the slow left arm spin of Nick James.
The departure of Couzens brought skipper Lee Hopkins to the crease to join Mellor, but a sharp catch at short mid-wicket by Milnes off James’ bowling meant Mellor (42) was on his way back to the pavilion.
The loss of Mellor at 140 signalled the start of an amazing collapse by the Leamington side as over the course of the next eight overs the remaining six wickets fell to the spin bowling of James (4 for 53), and Mohammed Ahmed (4 for 37) with the Berkswell fielders also playing their part by holding on to vital catches.
Hopkins (14) was the only other batsman to reach double figures as the middle order and tail could only add another sixteen runs between them and the visitor’s inning closed on 156 all out in the 46th over.
In response, Berkswell openers Oliver Haley and Mark Best made a bright start to the innings with both batsmen punishing any loose ball to great effect.
As the ball continued to regularly find the boundary markers the scoreboard was soon recording the 100 run partnership in only the 16th over.
Leamington did have bowling successes in the 20th and 21st overs first dismissing Best (66) and then Haley (49), but Chris Whittock (20 not out) and Tom Lewis (undefeated on 15) saw Berkswell home to the victory that keeps them in second place in the table just six points behind leaders Wolverhampton whom they face on Saturday for what will be a significant game in the race for the title.