25th Oct, 2016

Champions Berkswell end 2016 season on a high

Steve Carpenter 22nd Sep, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

AFTER the disappointment of two washed out Saturdays, Berkswell closed their successful 2016 season in dramatic fashion with a thrilling seven-run victory away at Walsall in Birmingham Premier League.

Having won the toss and electing to bat first, Berswell openers Tom MIlnes and Ahmed Mohammed got the visitors off to a rapid start.

By the fifth over the opening partnership had put 28 on the scoreboard but Milnes (23) then gave a return catch to Maxfield.

Ahmed (3) followed soon after and then Tom Lewis (2) lost his wicket, both wickets going down in the eighth over off Denham’s bowling.

With Berkswell now at 36 for 3 Chris Whittock and Grant Thornton set about recovering the situation with a fourth wicket partnership of 80 in 16 overs before Whittock (44) was stumped.

Thornton and Mark Best kept the recovery going and compiled a 98 run partnership in 17 overs but left arm spinner Sam Mills made inroads into the visitors middle order.

He claimed the wickets of Thornton (73), Best (52) and skipper Dominic Ostler (6) to leave Berkswell on 235 for 7 in the 47th over.

With only 3 overs left in the innings Nick James (42 not out) and Liam Gately (11 not out) powered another 43 runs to see the innings finally close on 278.

The Walsall reply started briskly with Jamie Middleton and Waqar Ahmed putting together a 58 run opening partnership in 12 overs before Ahmed (18) was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Thornton.

The loss of the first wicket did little to slow down the run rate and Middleton and new batsman Dan Betty added another 24 runs in four overs, but Betty (11) then drove a ball into the covers but he was ran out.

Five runs later James claimed the wicket of Steven Plant (1) but Middleton meanwhile continued to bat with ease.

With the scoreboard now moving quickly Middleton and Bruce Thomason kept Walsall on track to chase down the Berkswell total, but in the 27th over Thomason (18) was caught and bowled by James to leave the hosts on 143 for 4.

In the 28th over Middleton completed his century and now partnered by the big hitting Maxfield the pair added another 65 runs in only six overs to keep Walsall looking favourites to inflict only the second defeat on Berkswell this season.

But Middleton (121) then drove a ball straight to Ostler at mid off to bring to an end a potentially match winning innings and Maxfield was bowled out on 32 as Walsall finished in 271.

A delighted Dominic Ostler said: “The performance against Walsall showed the never say die attitude of our team.

“When Middleton and Maxfield were going well it looked all over for us but we pulled it back and gradually applied pressure and they collapsed under it. It was the perfect end to the season for us.”