HAMPTON & Solihull earned a batting draw against early season Warwickshire Premier Division table-toppers Bedworth at Marsh Lane.
Batting first, Sam Smart (2-56) and Lewis Noon (2-42) made early inroads with the new ball in difficult batting conditions before visiting captain Jason Jakeman brought himself on and was quickly rewarded as a stunning one-handed catch from Heath Parnell brought an end to Johangir Khan’s counter-attacking innings of 35.
Mark James continued to accumulate, although regularly lost partners at the other end as Jakeman accounted for Safian Shakil, Mike Taylor and Faisal Iqbal, all with the score less than 100.
James found some good company in Gavin Heath as together they added 47 for the 8th wicket before James was dismissed for a well-constructed 63 as Bedworth reached 174-9 from 50 overs, with Jakeman finishing as the standout bowler returning 4-21 from his 12 overs.
The Bedworth reply started sedately before with 16 overs on the board the weather closed in and a 40 minute rain break reduced Bedworth’s innings to a maximum of 39 overs.
With eight over to go the visitors still required 43 to win but the rain began to fall again this time bringing a close to proceedings with Tim Keyte (2-21) and Faisal Iqbal picking up wickets.
Afterwards Hampton’s stand-in captain Mike Taylor said: “To come away from today’s clash with one of the stronger sides in the league with a draw is a pleasing result, particularly given the pressure we put ourselves under with the bat.
“Mark (James) batted beautifully to enable us to post a competitive total and the bowling unit all performed well in some challenging conditions.”
In the Birmingham Premier Division, the wet weather also put paid to Berkswell’s eagerly awaited first league match of the season at Meeting House Lane against West Bromwich Dartmouth with the game delicately poised.
Invited to bat first, the home side reached an impressive 258 for 7 in their 50 overs with Chris Whittock top scoring with a well crafted 85 and there were also useful contributions from Mark Best (40) and Nick James (34).
In reply Dartmouth lost opener Nav Poonia (13) bowled by South African Gert Cloete in the third over, but when heavy rain came 14 overs later the match was abandoned with the visitors on 88-1 and Kabeer Ali, and Ateeq Javed 38 and 31 not out respectively.
Also in the Premier League, a 95 by Alex Phillips helped Knowle and Dorridge reach 260 from 47 overs against Barnt Green, with Dom Harding also performing well by scoring 67 runs.
Andy Sutton was the pick of the Barnt Green bowlers by taking three wickets but they came at a cost of 72 runs from his nine overs.
In replay, chasing a revised target of 209 in 30 overs, Barnt Green could only reach 163 for eight with Jack Grundy taking three wickets while conceding 72 runs as Knowle and Dorridge claimed an opening day victory.