AN EXCELLENT game of cricket that saw over 600 runs scored ended with Berkswell increasing their lead at the top of the Birmingham Premier League to eight points after they secured a winning draw over their nearest challengers Ombersley.
Invited to bat first, the Berkswell openers Nick James and Mark Best looked in good form as they took control of the visitor’s attack by putting together an opening partnership of 115 before James (61) was caught behind by Uday Kaul in the 25th over.
After an initially cautious start to his innings, new batsman Chris Whittock then kept the scoring momentum going with a series of fours in partnership with Best who was also hitting fours with regularity.
During the next 20 overs the pair added 121 runs, with Best’s century coming in the 42nd over, but in the 45th over Best (115) was caught by Nick Hammond.
Oliver Haley replaced Best at the crease and a powerful display of batting with Whittock saw another 70 runs added in only eight overs until Haley (40) was well caught by Joshua Dell on the mid-wicket boundary.
Whittock (85) was the next wicket to fall when he was caught by Hammond on the deep long-on boundary with the scoreboard reading 313.
And with two overs left in the innings the home side managed to add another nine runs until skipper Dominic Ostler declared the innings with a ball to spare following the stumping of Steven Sandhu (7) off the penultimate ball.
The Ombersley reply started cautiously with 33 runs coming off the first ten overs for the loss of one wicket (Nick Hammond) who was trapped lbw by Dan Worrall with the scoreboard reading seven runs.
However, the introduction of Uday Kaul to the crease to partner Liam Gwynne saw a rapid increase in the scoring rate.
Over the course of the next 30 overs the partnership added another 197 runs to put the Worcestershire side in a strong position to win the match.
But, with the score on 204 Gwynne (102) attempted to pull a ball from Dave Brignull and skied the ball to the waiting hands of Ostler.
Kaur meanwhile continued to keep the visitors in the hunt for a victory receiving valuable support from Dell, but the reintroduction of Worrall into the attack had an immediate effect as he claimed the wicket of Dell (12) also caught by Ostler.
The match then turned in the space of an over from Nick James when he had Kaur (146) stumped by Haley, and Chris Haywood (0) given out lbw to leave the visitors on 275 for 5 in the 51st over.
With only four overs remaining and still requiring another 48 to win, the task proved too much for Ombersley and they settled for a draw although Berkswell did collect another two wickets in the last three overs to gain what could eventually prove to be a valuable additional bowling point.