Scott Stenning’s excellent 105, plus 82 from Sitanshu Kotak, steered Kenilworth Wardens to a five-wicket victory at Wolverhampton, writes Paul Smith.
The third-wicket duo added 185 to take the visitors from 16 for two to within range of the hosts’ 240-run target.
Skipper Martin Donald and Ross Parnell then ensured there were no late slip-ups as Wardens cruised home with an over remaining.
A second league win of the season tomorrow, when Brockhampton visit Glasshouse Park, would see Donald’s team occupy a mid-table berth as the league reverts to its traditional 55-over format.
Stenning and Kotak joined forces after the early loss of openers Nick Seager and Ryan Parnell, and were soon both into their stride.
The former captain carried on his good form from the previous weekend to find the boundary 16 times in his 114-ball knock.
Meanwhile, Kotak’s typically workmanlike 122-ball effort saw him pass 300 league runs in only the fourth innings of his valedictory campaign.
Although Wolverhampton’s six-pronged attack produced a steady effort, they were unable to prevent their return to the top flight remaining winless.
Matt Kleinveldt returned a tidy nought for 36, while there was a wicket apiece for seamers Jack Snape and Ross Aucott.
Earlier, Kotak had also been the pick of Wardens’ seven-man attack, with two for 32, while Rajan Bhatti’s good start to the season continued, courtesy of an accurate eight-over new-ball spell, and there were two wickets for Nathan Edwards.
The hosts’ 240 for six was anchored by Ramanjot Jaswal’s 130-ball 87.
He added 48 with opening partner Amritpal Singh (16) and 87 with number three Kleinveldt (30).
This set the stage for a late flurry from Aucott, who hit 44 from 30 balls, and Adam Quiney (22 not out), who added 44 for the hosts’ sixth wicket.
An astonishing ninth-wicket partnership between Walsall’s Jordan Stynes (74 not out) and Jonathan Moore (42 not out) saw Wardens 2nds snatch a two-wicket defeat from the jaws of victory.
After the early dismissal of the threatening Mateen Kham (21), the visitors looked dead and buried with over 100 runs required from the last 20 overs and only two wickets in hand, in pursuit of Wardens’ formidable 234 for six.
However, skipper Stynes’ fine 113-ball knock and some powerful hitting from paceman Moore clinched an unlikely win with eight balls remaining.
Tom Brammer (1-22) and Mark Pidgeon (1-30) both delivered tidy spells for Wardens but the rest of the home attack struggled and the concession of 33 wides proved decisive.
This was tough on the hosts’ batsmen, who had earlier combined to good effect against a useful visiting attack.
Openers Andy Whitehall (36) and Ben Rex (40) grafted hard to set the stage for Anthony Wilkinson’s impressive 72-ball 65, which included four boundaries and four maximums.
A late flurry from Dan Phillips (26 not out) saw the hosts well past 200, while Moore and Zahid Iqbal claimed two wickets apiece for Walsall.