Graham Williamson Trophy Review 12th September

Written by: Nick Archer
Date: 12/09/2020

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Shifnal’s 13 run victory over Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth’s three wicket defeat to Oswestry leaves Shifnal six points clear of Bridgnorth at the top of the Group 1 table with one game remaining. A potential group decider between the two sides due to take place next week will, now, be a much lower-key affair after Shifnal qualified for an away Semi Final against West Bromwich Dartmouth in a fortnight’s time. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Shifnal closed on 180 for nine from 40 overs after solid middle-order contributions from Xavier Clarke (43), Robbie Clarke (28) and Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach (25). Mitchell Stanley finished the innings with a flourish with 31 from 27 balls and it was his innings that proved decisive after Shrewsbury were restricted to 167 all out in 38.5 overs. Tyler Ibbotson finished with 3 for 35 for Shrewsbury who struggled to 141 for nine before a last wicket partnership of 26 between Patrick Jacob (18 not out) and William Davies (13) threatened Shifnal’s march to victory. Leach, returning to his old club, took 3 for 46 and there were two wickets each for Stanley, Amar Jassall and Chad Brandrick. With Shifnal winning, Bridgnorth needed to match that result to retain any chance of winning the Group title in the final match of the season but a poor start, which saw them slip to 22 for three, after being invited to bat first, scuppered their chances. Joseph Smallman (32) top scored as they scratched their way to 160 all out in 39.5 overs at Oswestry, a total that the home side passed for the loss of seven wickets with more than five overs in hand. Josh Coleridge (52) and Warrick Fynn (47) added 61 for the third wicket for Oswestry, as Sam Baugh took 3 for 26 for the visitors. The match between Wolverhampton and Wem resulted in a four wicket victory for the home side with three balls remaining. Harry Chandler (53) held the Wem innings together after they lost their first five wickets for 70 and an unbeaten 37 from 37 balls from Alex Ollerenshaw boosted them to 184 for eight in 40 overs which included an unbroken stand of 56 for the ninth wicket between Ollerenshaw and Josh Gough (16 not out). Joe Stanley took 3 for 28 for Wolverhampton with older brother Jack chipping in with 2 for 29. It was Jack Stanley who set Wolverhampton on the road to victory with 52 as he and Rahul Kaushal (40) shared an opening stand of 80. Skipper Amritpal Singh added 32 but Wem kept going until the end and made Wolverhampton fight hard for their win. 

West Bromwich Dartmouth strolled into the Semi Final of the competition, where they will host Shifnal in a fortnight’s time, with yet another Omar Ali inspired victory, this time against Harborne. A devastating opening spell by Ali (3 for 26) and Manraj Johal (2 for 35) reduced Harborne to 55 for four and it took a defiant 52 from former Dartmouth captain Guriq Randhawa to see the only Birmingham based side in the League to 172 all out at the end of 40 overs. With wickets tumbling around him, Randhawa, eventually, found a willing partner in Jonathan Boukhobza (42) who hung around long enough to take the score to 128 before he was, also, dismissed by Ali. Having put Walsall to the sword, last week, with a rapid 95, Ali batted just as well this week, if not better, as he smashed an unbeaten 110 from 63 balls, an innings containing 15 fours and 6 sixes. None of the Harborne attack was spared his onslaught as he took his total of runs for the season to 529 runs from nine innings. With Ali in that kind of form, Dartmouth will present Shifnal with a formidable challenge when they face off at Sandwell Park on 26th September. Smethwick’s chances of causing an upset in their last game of the season with Dartmouth disappeared after a comprehensive seven wicket defeat to Pelsall, the second time that they have suffered at the hands of the Staffordshire side this season! Batting first, Smethwick collapsed to 36 for seven before another of the League’s leading run scorers, Hamza Ahmed, dug in to finish on 70 not out from 110 balls. Prospects, still, looked bleak for Smethwick at 94 for eight but Karamjot Singh blasted 35 from 21 balls to help Ahmed take Smethwick to 165 all out in 39.3 overs. At the start of the Smethwick innings, it was Tom Boyd (3 for 8) and Todd Henderson (3 for 21) who did all the damage before Ahmed took his tally for the season to 425 runs from nine innings. In reply, Pelsall cruised to 167 for three with 10 overs in hand, led by an unbeaten 48 from Henderson, 32 from Sam Butcher, 28 from Jake Lee and 28 not out from Alex Jones. Himley batted first against Walsall at Stourbridge Road but only two of their batters, Oliver Westbury (68) and Dan Durman (47 not out) reached double figures. Jordan Bulpitt took 3 for 15 for Walsall as Himley reached 165 for seven after 40 overs. Walsall’s response began, poorly, as well, losing their first three wickets for 38 before Billy-J Cox hit an undefeated 84 from 96 balls to ease his side to a four wicket win with the help of Jimmy Howell (21) and Luke Stynes (21 not out). 

The much-awaited clash between Berkswell and Knowle and Dorridge which would determine the winners of Group 3 was won by the home side who defeated their keenest rivals by 33 runs in a low scoring affair at The Lant. Beginning the day, locked together on 24 points after each had secured six victories from their first eight games, a win for either side would settle the group and K & D’s hopes must have been high after limiting their hosts to 142 for nine from 40 overs. The normally free-scoring Ateeq Javid laboured to 37 from 59 balls with support from Nick James (29) and Richard Jones (26). A tidy K & D bowling performance was led by Neil Dexter, with 3 for 28, and Chris Cheslin (2 for 19) but Berkswell were even more impressive with the ball as they dismissed their opponents for 109 in 32.5 overs. Dave Brignull took 3 for 35 but it was the opening burst from Tom Milnes (2 for 23) that began their demise. Grant Thornton (2 for 18) Javid (2 for 6) were, also, successful as K & D subsided to a defeat that would have been even more decisive but for a 46 run partnership for the ninth wicket between Lawson Attwood (23) and Chris Cheslin (22). In a fortnight’s time, Berkswell will be at home in the competition Semi Final to the winners of Group 4. The highest total of the day was registered by Leamington who made it to 284 for eight in 40 overs against local rivals Kenilworth Wardens. Louis Glover smacked 95 from 70 balls and Oliver Currill clattered 60 from 43 balls as the fifth wicket pair put on 105 for the fifth wicket. Jacob Sargeant with an unbeaten 37 from 32 balls finished off the innings well with credit due to Wardens’ Tom Clayton who took 4 for 55. Wardens were never in the hunt after they crashed to 82 for eight, in reply, but some respectability was added by Tommy Rex (25 not out) and Tom Mordey (23) before they were 121 all out in 31.4 overs. Nick Couzens took 3 for 35 for Leamington but it was skipper Jon Wigley who took the main honours with the ball, capturing 5 for 22, to take his tally for the season to 20 wickets. Moseley’s total of 227 for seven in 40 overs, at Dorridge, was underpinned by 61 from Andy Umeed, 47 from Asim Shoaib and 41 from Jugdip Nandra. Fahad Sabir took 3 for 52 for the home side who replied with 189 for nine from their 40 overs. Roshan Venkataranam top scored with 52 and Luke James hit 31 as Dorridge fell short of their target. 

Although there is, still, a possibility that Barnards Green could win Group 4 if they defeat Halesowen next week, and Barnt Green lose heavily to Ombersley, it is Barnt Green that look the more likely side to clinch the title after they beat their visitors by three wickets at Cherry Hill Road. Barnt Green, without Ed Pollock, won the toss and invited Barnards Green to bat first, a decision that, probably, won the game. Apart from Oliver Halion, who hit an unbeaten 32 from 60 balls, the Barnards Green batting line-up, missing all-rounder Phil Harris, struggled against a mean Barnt Green attack and lost their last six wickets for 19 runs. Darrel Williams (4 for 10) mesmerised the tail with his leg-spin and, also, created the pressure for Adam Hines to finish with 3 for 23. Robbie Shurmer blocked off one end, taking 2 for 12 from eight overs and a total of 102 all out should not have concerned Barnt Green, even though Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue opened the bowling for the visitors. He took an early wicket during his opening three over spell but, also, conceded two sets of five wides. A total of 24 extras didn’t help Barnards Green but they stayed in the game as the home side lost wickets at frequent intervals. After 10 overs, they were more than half-way to their target, but they had, also, lost half of their wickets. Opening batsman Ben Chapman-Lilley hung around for a vital 26 but it was skipper Williams, with 19, who did most to steer the ship home. Tongue returned to the attack to complete his eight over spell with three for 39, including the wicket of Williams, before Andy Sutton and Shurmer took Barnt Green into pole position. Zain ul-Hassan took 3 for 27 for Barnards Green against his former club and lost nothing in comparison to the more experienced Tongue. Having struggled all season without a victory, Bromsgrove’s barren run came to an end against Halesowen, who they defeated by four wickets. Harry Baddams scored an unbeaten 80 for Halesowen in their total of 188 for eight from 40 overs, assisted by 34 from Alexei Kervezee and 33 from Wes Griffiths. Bromsgrove’s chase was made easier after Jayden Levitt hit 40 from 29 balls, a situation that was built on by Alex Milton with 78 not out. He was joined by Alex Wilkinson (25 not out) in an unbroken stand of 66 for the seventh wicket, enough to see Bromsgrove to a most welcome victory with four balls remaining. Ombersley have, also, endured a difficult season, results-wise, but an accomplished century from Josh Dell (106) eased them to 223 for three, in 40 overs, against Kidderminster, after he and Liam Gwynne (39) put together an opening partnership of 139. Despite an opening stand of 52 between Andrew Kimberlin (49) and Jujhar Johal (26), and 33 from Connor Smith, Kidderminster fell well short, reaching 153 for six from 40 overs with Gwynne picking up 3 for 29 for Ombersley.