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Pennell prepared for Pelsall play-offs

By Nick Elwell | Cricket | Published:

Pelsall have been urged to embrace the challenge as they begin part two of their promotion push.

Pelsall skipper Dan Pennell

Having clinched the South Staffs County League title last weekend, Pelsall take to the field tomorrow in the new Birmingham League play-offs that will lead to two teams securing a step up in standard. Walmley, Astwood Bank and Wem, winners of the respective Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire Leagues, provide the opposition in the four-team mini-league that sees all the sides play each other once.

The top two will then replace Tamworth and Brockhampton, whose relegations from Birmingham League Premier Two have already been confirmed with one round of fixtures remaining. Pelsall host Astwood Bank tomorrow before travelling to Walmley on Sunday and then finishing with a clash against Wem at Walsall CC the following Saturday. Walmley will be favourites for one of the two promotion spots given the firepower at their disposal.

Former Warwickshire paceman Recordo Gordon and new-ball partner Mohammad Fahim Jan have bagged 50 and 55 league wickets respectively, while Sarmad Bhatti has scored 1,000 runs.

But Pelsall skipper Dan Pennell is relishing the opportunity of going head to head with the best feeder division sides.

“We definitely wanted to win the league – that was the main aim from the moment we went top of the table,” said Pennell. “I have told the players to embrace the play-offs and see what they are all about.

“It’s something new and it’s exciting to be involved.

“We want to represent the South Staffs League well and we want to do ourselves justice.”

“We will treat the games in the same way we treated the season, knowing that we have to be on our game. We are obviously going to be playing against some good sides.

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“We played Astwood Bank three or four years ago but it’s been a long time since we faced either Wem or Walmley.

“I don’t know much about them other than Walmley have ex-Warwickshire players Recordo Gordon and Mo Sheikh in their side and that their pro looks a tidy player.”

Pennell will be forced into a couple of changes for the weekend double-header.

South African pro Johan Maritz has returned home following an impressive summer that saw him score 689 runs and chip in with 26 wickets, while opening bowler Jonathan Moore is unavailable.

“Johan has been superb and he will be a big miss for us as will Jonathan Moore, who misses the first two play-off games,” added Pennell.

“But that will give an opportunity to a couple of other players. There are a few lads who have been doing well in the seconds and now they will get a chance.”

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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