CRICKET: BERKSWELL enjoyed a fruitful bank holiday weekend, taking maximum points from their games against Kidderminster and Brockhampton.
Despite this, arch rivals Knowle and Dorridge remain league leaders by 13 points after they also tasted success over the weekend.
Dominic Ostler’s men did leapfrog ahead of Shrewsbury though, who are now 20 points short of K&D at the top of the table.
On Saturday against Kidderminster, Berkswell won the toss and batted first.
Openers Mohammed Ahmed and Mark Best put on 45 runs for the first wicket before Ahmed (10) was caught behind in the eighth over.
Best and Chris Whittock only added another 14 runs before Best (39) lost his wicket.
The departure of Best brought Alex Hepburn to the crease, and for the next 32 overs he and Whittock produced a batting display of Premier league quality.
Timing the ball to perfection, the pair both reached their half centuries in quick fashion.
With both batsmen keeping pace with each other, Whittock reached his century in the 41st over having faced 105 balls.
But five balls later he was dismissed for 109 while Berkswell were on 245 – ending an impressive 186 run partnership.
A quick 29 from Tom Milnes kept up the momentum before he lost his wicket in the 47th over at 295.
The loss of Nick James (5) in the 48th over at 302 made little difference as Hepburn completed his century off 108 balls in the 49th over.
Grant Thornton (12) was out in the last over, but Hepburn remained unbeaten on 105 at the close of the innings with the Berkswell reaching 327/6.
In reply, Kidderminster lost Matt Pardoe (0) off the third ball of the innings to Ryan Sidebottom.
Kidderminster could only add 29 runs from the first nine overs as Andy Kimberlin (12) was next to fall.
The introduction of Thornton and Hepburn into the attack kept up the pressure. Hepburn claimed the wickets of Pinner (39) and Kinder (23) while Liam Weston (2) was bowled by Thornton.
With five wickets lost for only 82 runs, a spirited 6th wicket partnership of 49 between Conor Smith (20) and Tom Kimberlin (30) came to an end when both were dismissed with the score on 131.
The eighth and ninth wickets were both lost at 136, and the innings finally closed in the 37th over with the visitors all out for 171 giving Berkswell a winning margin of 156 runs.
Meanwhile on bank holiday Monday Berkswell made the long trip to Herefordshire-based Brockhampton.
After bowling first, Ostler’s side earned a comfortable six-wicket victory.
Berkswell restricted the relegation candidates to 189 all out in 44 overs as Nick James (37/4) and Grant Thornton (21/3) led the bowling attack.
Though Berkswell lost their four opening batsmen for just 50 runs, an undefeated fifth wicket partnership between James (53*) and Ostler (86*) steered the visitors to victory with five overs to spare.
Berkswell are back on the road again this Saturday to play third placed Shrewsbury.
The game at London Road starts at noon.
Picture: Manjit Narotra.