Wardens’ impressive bowling exploits wasted after collapse

Wardens wicketkeeper Nick Sale reacts quickly to dismiss Kidderminster's Connor Smith off the bowling of Matt Hancock. Picture: Morris Troughton
Wardens wicketkeeper Nick Sale reacts quickly to dismiss Kidderminster's Connor Smith off the bowling of Matt Hancock. Picture: Morris Troughton

A horrific batting collapse, during which six wickets fell for 25 runs, condemned Kenilworth Wardens to a 24-run defeat at the hands of visitors Kidderminster, writes Paul Smith.

The hosts slipped from 75 for three to 100 for nine before last pair Matt Hancock and Dan Wood battled their way to 121 all out in pursuit of the Carpetmen’s 145 all out.

It was tough justice for the home bowlers, who, led by Rajan Bhattis’ excellent three for 25, had earlier exploited a slow, worn pitch to good effect to establish a winning position.

However, there is little margin for error in the Birmingham Premier League and a third consecutive defeat was a deserved outcome for a display that once again only reached the required level for half the match.

Bhatti’s fine new-ball burst claimed the prized top-order scalps of Matt Pardoe, Ryan Derrick and Nathan Round (20) before Wardens’ spinners dominated the remainder of the Kidderminster innings.

Hancock’s best spell of the season returned two for 20, while Sitanshu Kotak (2-23) and Udit Talati (3-24) also caught the eye.

Mike Hill battled his way to 31 but it was the 31 runs eked out by the visitors’ last two wickets, plus Wardens’ concession of 24 wides, which ultimately proved crucial.

After the hosts’ response had slipped to 30 for three, Kotak (40) and Nathan Edwards (18) built what looked to be a match-defining fourth-wicket alliance.

However, Edwards’ dismissal to a poor shot triggered a collapse at the hands of Pardoe (3-26) and Jonathan Wright (2-28) and, after Kotak fell to an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration, Round (3-23) mopped up the tail to seal Wardens’ demise.

A very poor bowling display, including the concession of no fewer than 32 wides, saw Wardens exit the ECB National 45-over Knockout at the second-round stage at Ombersley.

After Rajan Bhatti followed his fine Saturday spell with the early scalp of opener George Baldwin, the visitors’ prospects of defending 206 looked good.

However, second-wicket pair Dominic D’Oliveira (76) and George Uffindal, who finished with an unbeaten 87, then took full advantage of Wardens’ profligacy with the ball, to build a 190-run partnership which clinched the match.

Opener Uffindal played the anchor role to good effect in his fine 143-ball knock, while D’Oliveira found the boundary seven times, while scoring at even time.

Although slow left-armer Mark Pidgeon kept things relatively tidy, an absence of support at the other end allowed Ombersley to race home with nearly seven overs remaining.

Earlier, Wardens’ total was built around acting captain Scott Stenning’s 107-ball 70.

Dan Wood enjoyed a rare outing at the top of the order to contribute a breezy 45, while Uffindall and Ted Bayliss claimed three wickets apiece for the hosts.