AN ELATED Dominic Ostler expressed his delight after he captained Berkswell to an impressive 142-run victory over Knowle & Dorridge in what was a hugely entertaining Birmingham Premier League top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.
A captain’s innings and a man-of-the-match performance encouraged the complete team effort that enabled Berkswell to lay to rest the demons that had haunted their previous league visits to Knowle & Dorridge’s Station Road ground.
The victory moves Berkswell 66 points clear of Shrewsbury and now 73 points ahead of Knowle & Dorridge in third with six matches remaining.
“We knew this was going to be the match that would test our premier league title winning credentials and I’m delighted in the way the whole team responded to the challenge,” said Ostler.
“After our sudden loss of wickets we pulled our innings around through sensible and disciplined batting, and when we bowled we put the ball in the right areas, held our catches, gave nothing away in the field, and applied pressure on their batsmen from ball one.”
Asked to bat first, Berkswell’s openers, Darren Maddy and Mark Best, took full advantage of the early half volleys served up by K&D’s opening bowlers by punishing the poor deliveries with a series of boundaries.
The profitable opening partnership of 64 came to an abrupt end however, when Grundy uprooted the off stump of Best (36) in the 14th over.
New batsman Chris Whittock’s occupation of the crease was short lived as he survived only seven balls and he was closely followed back to the pavilion by Oliver Haley (4) to leave the visitors on 76 for 3 in the 19th over.
A consolidation period of seven overs enabled Berkswell to stem the sudden loss of wickets whilst Maddy and Tom Lewis added another 25 runs to the scoreboard.
Maddy (45) then faced a ball from Grundy that rapped his pads and he was adjudged lbw. With four wickets lost and only 101 made, the momentum was going the way of the hosts and this was further enhanced when Nick James (2) removed.
Skipper Dominic Ostler made his way to the crease full of determination and with Lewis, he gradually turned the innings around.
Lewis was caught at point by Grundy off the slow spin bowling of Beau Webster to bring to an end his 45 ball innings and leave Berkswell on 154 for 6. Meanwhile, Ostler kept the scoreboard moving and Grant Thornton assisted his skipper in getting the score over the 200 mark.
The departure of Thornton (31) in the 52nd over with the scoreboard now showing 231 brought Liam Gately to the middle and in an entertaining eleven ball innings, he made 18 runs as Berkswell on 266 for 8.
Beau Webster and Alex Phillips opened the K&D reply but they were soon on the back foot when Gert Cloete sent Webster (3) back to the pavilion after having him given out lbw in the 4th over with only 9 runs showing on the board.
Against the aggressive opening attack of Cloete and Thornton, Phillips and Grundy were slowly able to get the scoreboard moving, but having advanced the score to 39, Phillips (12) then pulled a ball from Thornton to deep square leg only to see Whittock run in and take a spectacular forward diving catch.
One run later Grundy (14) edged a ball from Thornton and was equally dismayed to see Ostler hold yet another of his amazing trade mark catches at slip to leave the hosts on 40 for 3 in only the 11th over.
Jonathan Webb and Dominic Harding dug in for 10 overs and halted the loss of wickets but the introduction of Maddy into the attack swung the game’s momentum back Berkswell’s way.
In his third over he claimed the wickets of Harding (12) and then Tom Smith (0) lbw first ball before Chris Kenny was caught by Maddy in the field.
Kenney was needlessly run out to leave K&D on 78 for 6 and the hosts were unable to recover as the final wickets fell with regularity and the home side were bowled all out for 124, some 142 runs shy of the target.