Leamington lower order fails to produce the goods

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Leamington remain at the foot of the Premier Division following a nail-biting defeat at home to Barnt Green on Saturday.

Captained by Alex Mellor in the absence of Lee Hopkins, Leamington batted first with Jon Wigley getting them off to a solid start.

His 55 was the first half-century by a Leamington batsman this season and he was supported by Max Webber who made 38 before becoming the first of three wickets for Tom Brown.

Green then gained the upper hand, reducing Leamington from 142 for four to 196 all out in the 52nd over.

Former Leamington man Luke Radford returned impressive figures of three for 30 as once again the late order failed to make much of an impression.

Green were reduced to 16 for two in reply with Webber knocking over both openers, including another former Spa man in Sam Cheshire.

Green regrouped through Ed Pollock and Warwickshire’s Matt Lamb before the medium pace of Paul Lawrence accounted for both.

Radford was now at the crease and, despite a break for rain, bludgeoned his way to an undefeated 98 to single-handedly carry Green to a three-wicket win off the final ball of their reduced 34-over allocation.

A meek defeat at Himley increased Leamington 2nds’ relegation worries.

Spa batted first on a slow wicket that offered some assistance to the bowlers, with Arfan Khan’s miserly 15-over spell yielding just 28 runs.

Only when Tom Mackrill (35) was joined by Rob Williams (20) did the scoring increase but after both fell in quick succession to change bowler Arun Bhogal, Leamington collapsed to 134 all out.

In response, Himley openers Bilaal Hussein and Nikhil Vaidya rode their luck to some extent, with Leamington shelling five chances, including two in consecutive balls through the slips off opening bowler Will Field.

Both openers passed 50 as Himley skated to a ten-wicket win with more than half their allotted overs unused.

On a wicket that required batsmen to work for their runs, two carefully constructed innings were the stand-out features of Leamington 3rds’ six-wicket Cotswold Hills win at Tanworth & Camp Hill.

Leamington skipper Matt Dale asked his hosts to bat first and his decision was vindicated as Dan McCarthy, Tim Smedley and Wayne Killian reduced Tanworth to 53 for four at the 22-over drinks interval.

Chris Barber (90 not) began his innings with 11 singles but then picked up the pace, taking 21 from the final over as the innings closed on 183 for eight.

James Cowan (44) led off the Leamington innings in his usual positive vein, taking the score to 60 before he was dismissed in the 13th over.

Killian (32) then joined a patient Mark Reynolds (62 not out), with the pair working to keep the Leamington run rate above the four-per-over mark that would prove critical if the ever threatening black clouds brought the innings to a premature end.

The introduction of the wily Kelso (ten overs for 25) made the task more difficult but alongside Richie Hanson, Reynolds guided Leamington home.

Leamington 4ths got back to winning ways with an easy success at home to Tanworth & Camp Hill.

With rain in the air, Spa’s Paul Wilson defied his natural inclinations, asking Tanworth to have first use of a green wicket.

Leamington’s bowlers maintained a stranglehold throughout, led by the returning Ben Cowan’s three wickets, and the visitors could only muster 127 for eight from their allotted 45 overs.

The target was reduced to 104 after a break for rain which was achieved with minimum fuss by the veteran opening pair of Rob Ainscow - all flashing blade - and the more reserved Wilson.