KNOWLE Village Cricket Club were denied a winning start to the season by the stubborn bowling of Castle Bromwich, as both sides played out for a draw in Warwickshire County Cricket League Division 4.
The Robins came into the game in fine form after a strong pre-season, so relished their chances heading to Castle Bromwich.
Knowle won the toss and opted to bat first under the baking mid-day sun.
Openers Brad Shough – a South African import, and James Newman started brightly and clocked up a 55 run partnership before Shough was caught out.
The bowling duo of Rafakat Hussain (4-33) and Mohammed Gulbahar (4-28) began to pose real problems for the Knowle batting line-up.
Martin Richmond (9), Chris White (8), Newman (36) and Andy Richmond (11) were all taken in quick succession, as Knowle stood at 105 runs for five wickets at the break.
A poor start led to James Tomnie (20) and Scott Thompson (8) were removed in equally quick fashion. after Anthony Szarmach was dismissed after a single run – all falling short to the superb bowling of Hussain.
Castle Bromwich were blown away by the partnership of Dan Young (36) and Dan Robinson (29) – who totalled up 75 runs between them at the ninth wicket, bringing Knowle back from the brink of a probable defeat.
The village finished on 213 all out from 46.3 overs, but with the game very much still in contention.
Knowle bowling pair Thompson took three wickets, conceding just 21 runs, whilst Tomnie took a wicket on the new ball (1-46).
Elsewhere, Richard Bradley and Shough both collected two wickets each with efficient bowling, as Castle Bromwich set out not to lose the game after their downfall at the crease.
With Knowle becoming increasingly confident of taking the win, the sturdy Martin Clifford took 20 runs not out to edge his side to a draw.
All in all, Knowle will reflect on an excellent opening performance of the season, with 17 points on the board to kick-off the season.
They next host Smethwick’s second XI on Saturday (12:30pm), with hopes of claiming a first full 24 points of the campaign.