Express & Star

Smethwick beat leaders to keep title hopes alive

Reigning champions Smethwick kept alive hope of defending their Birmingham League crown by beating leaders Knowle & Dorridge.


Saturday’s 74-run rain-affected win saw the Broomfield club move within 18 points of top spot and they are now one of four teams still in with a shout of the Division One title with two matches left to play.

In a game reduced to 25 overs-a-side, a late flurry of hitting by Warwickshire’s Manraj Johal helped Smethwick post 136-7, former England international Samit Patel taking four wickets for the visitors.

An interruption to the innings saw Knowle & Dorridge presented with a revised target of 152 but they never looked like reaching it, Roshan Venkatamaran taking three wickets as they were bowled out for 77 in 20 overs.

Moseley are the closest challengers to the leaders, now nine points behind after a 123-run win at Halesowen. Yet the latter remain in the hunt, on the same points as Smethwick, despite now having lost their last three matches.

There was joy, finally, for Kidderminster, who picked up their first win of the season with a thrilling six-run victory at Berkswell. Though already condemned to relegation, the result did at least deliver some belated to cheer to a tough season for the Chester Road outfit.

Matt Pardoe top scored with 83 as Kidderminster made 241-6 batting first, with Charlie Staniforth then taking four wickets as Berkswell fell just short in their reply.

West Bromwich Dartmouth are just one win away from the sealing a return to the top flight after a two-year absence following an eight-run DLS win over Tamworth.

Tim Maxfield (76) and Bruce Thomason (53) both hit half centuries as Dartmouth were bowled out for 274 in just under 40 overs.

Set a revised target of 276 in 41 overs, Tamworth were going nicely at 109-1 before being pegged back in the middle of the chase thanks in large part to Shahzeb Raja’s 3-32. Tom Atlee gave the visitors late hope by cracking 72 from 45 balls but he was the last wicket to fall on the final ball after being unable to find the 13 needed off the last over.

Dartmouth will secure promotion if they beat Lichfield, who remain in the drop zone after losing to Leamington, this Saturday.

Himley also remain well placed for a Division One return despite the frustration of their match at Shifnal being abandoned, which saw them lose top spot.

The Stourbridge Road outfit remain 15 points ahead of third-placed Harborne.