BERKSWELL’S disappointing start to the Birmingham League Premier Division season continued when they returned from their match at West Bromwich Dartmouth having suffered a five-wicket defeat.
Invited to bat first on an unpredictable wicket that favoured the bowlers more than the batsmen, the visitors to Sandwell Park were soon on the back foot having lost two wickets for only fifteen runs by the eighth over.
With runs hard to come by, a gritty 3rd wicket partnership of 33 in 13 overs between Chris Whittock (20) and Nick James stabilised the innings.
However, batting continued to be a struggle for Berkswell and the losses of Tom Lewis (16), James (23), Tom Milnes (17), Liam Gately (0) and Grant Thornton (2) by the 45th over with only 107 runs on the scoreboard ensured that the home side would only be chasing a low total.
The Berkswell innings finally closed after 50 difficult overs at 130-8 with skipper Dominic Ostler undefeated on 26.
In reply, the Dartmouth innings started spectacularly for Berkswell as Milnes claimed the wickets of Amit John (0) caught at slip by Thornton, and Kadeer Ali (1) also caught in the slips this time by Ostler who, in taking the catch, incurred a hand injury that later required hospital treatment.
When Thornton then sent Omar Mahmood’s middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground the scoreboard was reading 23-3 in the 10th over.
However, the early Berkswell euphoria slowly waned as Rawait Khan and Warwickshire’s Andy Umeed compiled a 78 run fourth wicket partnership to steer the home side towards the winning total.
Khan (35) and Jay Parmar (3) fell to Nick James’s left arm spin bowling to raise Berkswell’s hopes of an unexpected victory once again, but Umeed (66 not out) and Brinder Phagura (9 not out) passed the Berkswell score in the 35th over.
Berkswell will looking for a change in fortune and to achieving their first league win of the season when they return to Meeting House Lane on Saturday to face Barnt Green.
The match starts at midday.