The Bell family completed a superb cricketing week when Keith’s brilliant unbeaten 120 steered Kenilworth Wardens to an emphatic eight-wicket Birmingham Premier League win over fellow-strugglers Wolverhampton.
After older brother Ian’s two stylish half-centuries had clinched England’s Ashes success at Edgbaston on Friday, Keith’s dominant display saw Wardens to their 225-run target in the 48th over of their crucial relegation battle.
The result extended the Glasshouse Park club’s winning sequence to four games and lifted them 34 points clear of the relegation zone.
After surviving a difficult slip chance from Worcestershire seamer Chris Russell’s opening delivery, Bell produced a near-faultless display of superbly crafted batting.
Wardens’ innings had been reduced to 51 overs by a heavy shower but some powerful offside shots soon got the scoreboard moving.
Opening partner Arjun Bath, who was content to play second fiddle, struck a six and six fours in his neat 51, but it was Bell’s growingly expansive approach which hurried the hosts towards their target.
After Bath’s run out ended the opening stand at 131, Nick Seager launched a typically robust onslaught on the visitors’ tiring six-man attack.
He struck two massive sixes in a 34-ball 45, in the process adding 86 with Bell for the second wicket, which left Sitanshu Kotak to join the opener and complete the win.
Bell struck 16 fours in his outstanding 149-ball knock, rated by many to be the best of his five-year Wardens career.
Earlier, the visitors’ innings was built around skipper Dan Bowyer’s patient 161-ball 76.
He added 74 with opening partner Jack Stanley (41), before Wardens’ three-pronged spin attack took control.
Matt Hancock’s tidy 13-over spell realised only 41 runs, while off-spinner Udit Talati claimed four for 66 from 15 overs.
Kotak (3-78) was proving equally thrifty until Adam Lawley, who made an excellent unbeaten 17-ball 36, launched him for three enormous sixes in the latter stages, to take the visitors to a par score.
Kenilworth Wardens 4ths made it ten wins on the spin at Exhall & Wixford 3rds to move within touching distance of the Cotswold Hills Division Seven title.
Stand-in skipperDave McCunn inserted the hosts and was rewarded when opening bowler Tommy Rex again produced an accurate spell to claim two for 20 from his eight overs.
Change bowlers Prabhjote Sahota (2-28) and McCunn (1-23) maintained the pressure before John Orton really applied the screws with three for 12 off eight overs.
Requiring 148 to win, openers Jonathan Phillips and veteran Mike Sorrell eased to their target with ease, achieving it with five overs to spare.
Sorrell’s unbeaten 63 was his fifth half-century of the campaign, while youngster Phillips was undefeated on the same score having hit eight fours and one six in his 120-ball innings.