A brilliant century from debutant Nathan Edwards steered Kenilworth Wardens to a six-wicket opening day Graham Williamson Trophy success at Leamington, writes Paul Smith.
The former Wellesbourne all-rounder, who struck ten fours and four sixes in a scintillating 82-ball ton, was joined by a second Wardens new recruit, Ryan Parnell, in a superb match-clinching 176-run fourth-wicket partnership.
The pair joined forces after a three-wicket opening burst from Mohammed Faisal Khan had reduced the visitors to 35 for three in pursuit of the hosts’ formidable 40-over target of 247.
They proceeded to showcase a fine array of shots and, in the process, wrest control from a Leamington side who had dominated proceedings to that point.
Following Edwards’ dismissal, Wardens’ skipper Martin Donald (13 not out) joined former Bedworth batsman Parnell, whose unbeaten 91-ball 88 included 12 boundaries, to see his team home with eight balls remaining.
Earlier, although all six Leamington batsmen got a start, it was a fine 77-ball 85 from returning star Tom Lewis which provided the headline act.
He added 106 with second-wicket partner Joseph Somra (52), after which a useful unbroken partnership between Zack Fagg (31 not out) and Grant Thornton (17 not out) saw the hosts to a formidable 247 for four.
A fine all-round display from Tom Ballinger steered Wardens’ 2nd XI to an eye-catching two-wicket win against their Knowle & Dorridge counterparts.
After claiming two for 32 from nine tidy overs of leg- spin, Ballinger’s aggressive unbeaten 33, in alliance with lower-order partner Dan Mousley (13 not out), saw the visitors to their 196-run target with three balls of the final over remaining.
Wardens’ seven-man attack kept a powerful Knowle & Dorridge batting line-up largely in check after former 1st XI skipper Dave Smith departed for 39.
This meant it was left to middle-order duo Tom Smith (49) and Adam Williams (48 not out) to take the hosts to 196 for nine.
Tom Brammer and Ballinger picked up two wickets apiece, while slow left-armer Rahul Trivedi made a composed debut and veteran trundler James Jordan demonstrated his readiness for another season with seven characteristically miserly overs.
The visitors’ top four all passed 20 without going on, before skipper Mark Pidgeon and Rajan Bhatti’s useful middle-order runs set the stage for Ballinger’s cameo to get Wardens’ season away to a winning start.
Left-arm paceman Dan Wright grabbed three for 25 for the hosts, for whom Matt Strong and off-spinnerTom Smith also produced tidy spells.