Berkswell's recent run of good form came to an end when West Bromwich Dartmouth inflicted a narrow five run defeat over the Meeting House Lane side.
Having won the toss, home skipper Dominic Ostler invited the Black Country visitors to have first use of the track and Imran Arif, bowling with pace, control and bounce, made in-roads into the Dartmouth batting line up.
Trapping Kadeer Ali (6) lbw, bowling Navdeep Poonia (4) and Zeeshan Asif (19), and having Basit Zaman (28) caught behind by Phil Neale, Arif had reduced West Brom to 58 for four by the 23rd over, and the situation worsened for the visitors as Arif then claimed the wickets of Rawlston Tappin (17) also caught behind, and Ruki De Silva (2) caught in the deep by Jack Cornick to leave the scoreboard reading 85 for 6 in the 27th over – all six wickets being claimed by the former Worcestershire man.
The capture of two further wickets by spinner Aditya Rai had the visitors in deep trouble at 113 for 8 but a rearguard action by the tail-enders saw another 66 runs added to the total before the innings finally came to close in the 44th over. Arif finished with 6 for 59 from 17 overs and Rai 3 for 22 from 8.
In an extraordinary match, the Berkswell innings started in similar vein with wickets falling regularly and by the 24th over the scoreboard was showing 78 for 6. However, skipper Ostler and Chris Cheslin halted the slide and slowly rebuilt the Berkswell innings.
Over the course of the next 15 overs, the pair managed to work the ball around and pick up valuable runs against the tight bowling of Zeeshan Asif, Muhammed Saquib and Junead Zaman.
With the total now at 150 and the two batsmen looking to be in control, and steering Berkswell to their third win in a row, Ostler (49) steered a loose ball from Zaman into the waiting hands of Tappin at backward point and dejectedly left the crease.
Arif (10) briefly threatened to take the home side to the finishing line but lost his wicket when caught at slip by Asif with the score on 162, and Dave Brignull (5) was unable to help Cheslin guide Berkswell to victory when he was caught behind to leave the Meeting House Lane side on 174 for 9.
With just six runs required to win, and last man Rai at the other end, Cheslin (38) attempted to force the ball away but only managed to edge the ball behind where De Silva took the catch to bring to an end a well fought effort by the middle order batsman.
A disappointed Ostler said: “It’s a shame that after two good wins we couldn’t continue the run. We bowled well but we let them off the hook and shouldn’t have given away crucial runs at the end of their innings.
“To recover from the position we were in when batting to put us so close to the win gives me something positive to take away from the game, although the early loss of wickets again is something we need to get under control.”
Next Saturday Berkswell are at Meeting House Lane again with Himley being the visitors. The match starts at 12 noon.