A battling unbeaten half-century from Sarmad Bhatti failed to prevent Walmley from slipping to a 90-run Warwickshire Premier League home defeat at the hands of Aston Manor.
The home side’s Pakistani pro stood firm for over 35 overs against the visitors’ five-man attack before running out of partners with Walmley 4.4 overs away from securing a losing draw.
Half-centuries from Usama Khan, Munir Tanzil and Shakeel Janjua had earlier boosted the visitors to a useful 251 for seven from their 50 overs.
This result leaves Walmley in seventh place in the table as the top flight next week returns to its white ball, win/lose format for the closing six rounds of action.
“They got away from us in the closing stages of their innings,” captain Jono Newis said.
“We started really well with the ball and should have kept them around 200 but Janjua came in and swung hard at a short boundary down the slope at Walmley. We also put a chance down which didn’t help.
“We then got a reasonable start with the bat and Sammy played well but we lost too many wickets around him. To chase 250 we needed a couple of people to make 30’s and 40’s and that didn’t happen.
“They bowled well and they obviously have some quality in their attack but we should have got closer.
“Returning to white ball cricket next week suits us. We are good in that format as we have shown by reaching the final of the league knock out.”
After opting to bat first, Aston Manor soon slipped to 44 for two against slow left-armer Kiefer Woods who enjoyed a rare outing with the new ball, and Jamie Hall.
This brought Tanzil to the crease to join the well-set Usama and the visitors’ third-wicket pair proceeded to add 91 before the opener was run out for a combative 95-ball 55 containing a six plus four boundaries.
With skipper Newis bowling in tandem with Woods, Walmley then grabbed the initiative by claiming four quick wickets for the addition of just 22 runs.
Although the last of these saw the end of Tanzil’s fine 69-ball 56, the hosts’ hopes of chasing a sub-200 target were swiftly ended by Janjua’s aggressive contribution.
Aston Manor’s opening bowler found the boundary rope five times and cleared it on five further occasions while blasting his way to an excellent unbeaten 36-ball 66.
With Hamza Nadeem (11) and Muhammad Wali – whose unbeaten 21 contained three sixes – providing good support, the home side were left to chase 251.
Woods finished with 2-48 while Newis claimed 3-72 for a Walmley side who lost two wickets with the score at 30 to the on-song Janjua.
After adding 39 with third-wicket partner Bhatti, opener James Bristow was next out for a 49-ball 30 and his dismissal triggered a spell which saw six middle-order wickets fall for the addition of 49 runs.
Tanzil completed a fine all-round day by claiming three of these at a personal cost of 53 while Naveed Zamurad also struck twice.
With the board showing 118 for eight, Bhatti was joined by David Clough in a ninth-wicket partnership worth 43 runs which took the home side to within five overs of salvaging a draw.
However, after the return of Nadeem ended their fighting stand the immediate dismissal of last man Woods saw the hosts bowled out for 161.
The stranded Bhatti finished with a patient unbeaten 101-ball 56 which included eight fours while Nadeem closed with 2-49 and Janjua took 2-46.
Walmley visit mid-table rivals Olton next Saturday.
Picture credit – Paul Devine
Words – Paul Smith (Stumped4Words)