Callum Herron’s fine 83 plus a half-century from the prolific Sarmad Bhatti and three wickets for Kiefer Woods headlined Walmley’s Warwickshire Premier League winning draw over newly-promoted Olton.
Walmley closed their 50-over allocation with an imposing 257 for nine before Olton recovered from 127 for seven to close out a draw at 162 for eight.
As a result, Jon Newis’ hosts dominated much of their opening red ball contest of the season before being denied a maximum 24-point haul by a stubborn innings from the visitors’ Bilal Arshad.
This result delivered a 17-point haul which moves the home side to eighth place in the table after six rounds of action where they sit 35 points adrift of early pace-setters Sutton Coldfield.
“We started really well with the bat,” Newis said, “And went on to pace our innings extremely effectively.
“Callum played a very fine innings and was a bit unlucky not to get what would have been a well-deserved hundred.
“Having 250 on the board gave us control of the game but give credit to Olton as they dug in well.
“The block came on fairly early and it was difficult to prize batters out on a good wicket. There were a couple of half chances which on another day may have gone to hand but overall they deserved a draw.”
After the early loss of James Bristow, Herron and second-wicket partner Dan Bromley (22) added 60 before Bhatti joined the opener in the contest’s defining alliance.
The third-wicket pair’s excellent partnership was worth 88 when Herron fell to Arshad for an entertaining 96-ball 83 containing 13 fours and two sixes.
A solid home batting display then saw fourth-wicket pair Bhatti and Sachin Dubb (21) add 45 before both fell in quick succession either side of the 200 mark.
However, Olton’s hopes of containing their chase to manageable proportions were soon ended by useful lower-order contributions from opening bowlers Newis (18) and Jamie Hall, who thrashed an unbeaten 19 from just nine balls in the closing stages of the Walmley innings.
Haydn Burke (3-71) led the way with the ball for Olton while Arshad finished with 2-43 from ten tidy overs.
The visitors’ quest for 257 was soon in difficulty as Newis and Hall grabbed a wicket apiece before Woods dismissed top-scorer Arwand Barnard for 36 and Kevin McClean.
This left the scoreboard showing 68 for four and despite a useful 32 from Marc Webb Olton made little headway against a tidy six-man home attack.
When Bhatti snared Nadim Chowdry for a 59-ball 13 the home side had seven overs in which to force a win but despite their best efforts ninth-wicket pair Arshad and Zane Richter stood firm.
Woods finished with 3-27 from 12 excellent overs while Bhatti, Newis and Shayaan Tahir claimed a wicket apiece and Hall grabbed a brace.
Walmley travel to fourth-placed Bedworth next Saturday.
Words: Paul Smith (Stumped4Words)