Covid call-off results in mid season rule change

A positive Covid-19 case at Wem has forced a change of league rules midway through the Birmingham League Premier Division Two campaign – affecting leaders Halesowen's title bid.

The table-toppers were scheduled to welcome third-placed Wem last weekend, but the visitors revealed last week that a positive test had been recorded in their first-team squad and, as such, all team-mates to have been in close contact entered a period of self-isolation until Wednesday.

And, after talks with the Shropshire Cricket Board and public health authorities, the contest was scrapped and the club have closed the Pavilion and ground for a deep clean.

It was decided by Birmingham League chiefs that Wem's inability to fulfil the fixture will mean positions in the table for the remainder of the season will be decided on an average points per game system and not total points.

The league say 'the strategy has been invoked so the Wem versus Halesowen match is declared void with the match deleted from the League tables'.

Halesowen still lead the way in the league's second tier by four points overall and a superior average points of 15.9 compared to second-placed Himley's 14.09.

Himley did make slight inroads into Halesowen's lead thanks to their four-wicket win against Bromsgrove, in which opening bowlers Saul Anstey (4-26) and Jamie Turner (3-38) led the way in dismissed the visitors for 156.

Opener Oliver Walker began the response with 42 before skipper Oliver Westbury's contribution of 47 earned the 20 points. Himley go to Dorridge next up.

Elsewhere skipper Charlie Home shone with an unbeaten 108 for ninth-placed Wolverhampton at home to struggling basement boys Pelsall.

Visiting Pelsall managed a decent 235/7 from their 55 overs with Alex Jones (54), Todd Henderson (42) and Jujhar Johal (38) all contributing.

Wolverhampton did appear to be stuttering at 142/6, but Home and Adam Lawley (46 not out) shared an unbroken seventh wicket stand of 94 to ensure victory for the hosts.

Wolverhampton are on the road at Halesowen on Saturday. Pelsall go to Bromsgrove.

In Premier One, second-placed Smethwick lost ground on leaders Berkswell as they could only manage a losing draw at Walsall.

Hosts Walsall were powered on by their opening pair of wicketkeeper Vriitya Aravind (75) and Amit John (80), who did the foundation work 239/7 from their 47 completed overs. Smethwick's Sajid Ahmedazai took 5-69.

But Smethwick struggled to get going with the bat aside from Gurinder Singh (65) in the middle order and the visitors ended on 155/8 and a losing draw.

Smethwick host leaders Berkswell on Saturday, while Walsall play hosts to Kidderminster.

Big-hitting opener Abraash Khan was on form to register his first ton for West Bromwich Dartmouth and help them to a comprehensive winning draw at Moseley.

A fifth wicket stand of 92 for Khan (116) and Kabir Ali (56) helped Dartmouth to 263/9 from their 55 overs. Khan's innings included nine fours and five sixes.

The visitors limited Moseley to Andrew Umeed's top score of 47 as bottom side Moseley fell well short to finish 140/8. Dartmouth increased the gap two places above their hosts. They can close the gap to eighth-placed Ombersley at home on Saturday.

Kidderminster share an identical total points and points average with Dartmouth after a disappointing three wicket defeat at home to Ombersley.

Captain Neil Pinner top scored with 43 for Kidderminster with some welcome support from Chris Steele (35) batting at eight. Gareth Andrew (4-24) proved lively with the ball for the visitors.

Despite a strong start from visiting captain Liam Gwynne (35), Ombersley looked in trouble at 92/6, before the lower order of Richard Jones (26) and Tom Brown (23 not out) and David Brazier (21 not out) steered them to a win on the road.

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