BERKSWELL extended their lead at the top of Division 1 to 13 points after their emphatic 146 run demolition of Coventry & North Warwickshire at Binley Road.
Asked to bat first, the Berkswell opening pair James and Phil Neale made steady progress on a perfect batting wicket and never looked in any trouble whilst accumulating runs. By the 20th over, the score had reached 72 when the prolific Phil Neale (39) was given out lbw when attempting to sweep Rico Du Plessis.
Wes Hartslief, playing his final game for the Meeting House Lane side before returning to South Africa, kept the momentum going with James Neale and the two batsmen advanced the score to 106 before Hartslief (22) offered a sharp catch to wicketkeeper Tony Bristow off Du Plessis in the 30th over.
The loss of this wicket brought Warwickshire’s Tom Milnes to the crease and he was quickly in his stride with three fours and a series of singles but when on 19, he misjudged taking a second run and was narrowly run out, the wicket falling at 137.
The fall of the third wicket brought skipper Dominic Ostler to the middle and, for the next nine overs, he and James Neale kept the scoreboard ticking over adding 86 runs before Neale was caught on the long on boundary by Du Plessis for 78.
Mohammed Akhlaq (0), time survived only three balls but Ostler (59) cut loose and in partnership with Chris Cheslin put on 48 runs in 5 overs before eventually falling to a catch by Du Plessis.,
When Cheslin (15) fell only one over remained but Khizer Zaman (17 no) and Chris Metters (5 no) were able to push the visitors to a total of 270.
The home side’s reply started with Luke Reeves putting bat to ball but his opening partner Aaron Lewis (1) became the first wicket . Reeves and Matt Pickering added runs rapidly before Reeves (24) was also adjudged lbw off Cheslin to leave the Binley Road side 34 for 2 in the eighth over.
The loss of Reeves slowed down the Coventry reply and they continued to lose wickets. The loss of Du Plessis (10) caught at slip by Dave Brignull off Hartslief, Tony Bristow (4) caught behind by Phil Neale off Hartslief, Pickering (18) bowled by Cheslin, and Marco Higgins(3) also caught behind this time off Brignull meant four wickets had fallen for the addition of only 34 runs in 13 overs. When Brignull had Matthew Clements (8) given out lbw the seventh wicket had fallen with only 83 showing on the scoreboard.
Steve Ogrizovic (38 no) was the only lower order batsman to offer any resistance but he quickly ran out of partners as Brignull picked up another two wickets – Harry Horsley (12) lbw, and Mark Lilley (0) caught behind. The innings came to close in the 43rd over when Siddharth Sharma (0) holed out at mid-on, the catch going to Hartslief, to give Babar Khan his only wicket.
For Berkswell Dave Brignull finished with 4 for 21 off 11 overs, Chris Cheslin 3 for 40 off 10, and Wes Hartslief 2 for 19 off 7.
An elated Dominic Ostler said: “Five out of five is a fantastic start to the season but we can’t become complacent. We have to keep up the level of commitment as we are the side everyone will now be wanting to beat.”
* Next weekend K & D take on second placed Kenilworth Wardens at home.