SKIPPER Dominic Ostler hailed a match-saving ninth wicket partnership between Dan Worrall and Mohammed Ahmed to earn Berkswell a draw at Walmley.
Worrall and youngster Ahmed held the home bowlers at bay for the final 13 overs at the John Findlay Memorial Ground to put on 60 runs.
The result leaves the Meeting House Lane side in third place and still in touching distance with the top of the Birmingham League Premier Division table as only eight points now separate the top three.
“That was a game we could have, and should have, won,” said Ostler, “but at least we didn’t lose, and the way Dan Worrall and Ahmed held on at the end, whilst scoring the runs that gained us valuable points, meant we remain in the top three.”
Ostler had won the toss and put in Walmley on a wicket showing a hint of green and opening bowlers Worrall and Dave Brignull made good use of the track.
Walmley openers, Jamie Harrison and George Allen, found run scoring difficult, playing and missing with regularity. After nine overs, the scoreboard read 7-1 with Harrison (0) already back in the pavilion having been bowled by Worrall.
However, partnerships of 36 for the second wicket between Tom Burton and Allen (23), and 66 for the third wicket between Burton and Danial Chaudhry (17) moved Walmley to 107-3 by the 33rd over.
Two more quick wickets then left the hosts 122- 5 in the 38th over.
Burton (98), however, continued to be main force with the bat until he was stumped by Oliver Haley in the 45th over with the score on 162.
With ten overs remaining in the innings the lower middle order and tail-end batsmen added a further 61 runs before the home side’s innings finally closed on 223 for 9. For Berkswell, Ahmed picked up 5-79, and Nick James 3-54.
The Berkswell reply started encouragingly with Nick James and Mark Best looking at ease taking 27 runs off the first four overs.
But the introduction of Michael Waugh into the attack put the brakes on the run scoring with only 11 runs coming off the next 13 overs for the loss of Best (11) and Chris Whittock (1).
James (28) was adjudged lbw in the 19th over, and Steven Sadhu (8) met the same fate in the 22nd over with the score on 50. When Haley (9) was caught behind 15 runs later, half the side had been dismissed.
Ostler (30) had patiently been constructing a potentially game winning innings aided by Samar Zaman, but having worked the ball to the square leg boundary Ostler was run out attempting a second run. This left Berkswell on 100-6 in the 34th over.
Jamie Spires’ (3) stay at the crease was brief until he became the sixth wicket to fall and Zaman (19) was caught at slip in the 42nd over with the score on 113.
Ahmed joined the crease to join Worrall. With fielders now crowding the bat the pair, much to the frustration of the home team, held the Walmley bowlers at bays.
At the end, Worrall remained undefeated on 26 and Ahmed 30 not out.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Berkswell return to Meeting House Lane with a fixture against Herefordshire side Brockhampton. The match starts at noon.