Late show denies Old Hill promotion

Old Hill Cricket Club missed out on promotion to the Birmingham League Premier Division despite a comprehensive eight wicket victory over Kenilworth Wardens on Saturday – their sixth consecutive home win.

With the game finishing just after 4.30pm and Old Hill lying in second place, attention then focused on the Brockhampton v Evesham game.

At this point the news was good from Old Hill’s point of view. The teams were off for rain with only one innings completed and with the cut off of 5.15pm for resumption fast approaching, the home supporters were optimistic.

However, the dreaded news filtered through that play had resumed and Brockhampton gained enough points to overtake Old Hill’s points tally to seal promotion.

Old Hill’s final tally of 328 points in a season was a record for the club but unfortunately not enough.

Despite heavy overnight rain, the game started promptly with the visitors winning the toss and electing to bat.

In only his second game for the First XI, 16-year-old Connor Smith bowled beautifully in his initial seven overs by claiming the top three batsmen for just 23 runs as Kenilworth were left struggling on 41–3.

Sitamsu Kotak (16) was then joined by Sam Wood (25) and they took the score to 86 before a flurry of wickets by Ashfak Hussain and Nigel Davenport reduced the visitors to 113–9.

The last pair of Daniel Wood (23) and Alistair Wilkinson (16 not out) then hit out to get the score up to 130 before being parted by leading bowler “Sharkey” Hussain, his 49th wicket of the season, as Kenilworth were all out for 130 in 36.1 overs. Davenport took 3–32 and Hussain 4–33 also gave good backing to Smith – an excellent effort by the home side’s bowling attack.

In reply, Old Hill’s opening pair of Mike Hingley (24) and captain Nathan Round (51) quickly compiled a half century stand before Round was first out to a leading edge with 66 runs on the board.

Hingley soon followed his captain back to the pavilion before Danny Cox (28 not out) and Nitesh Patel (29 not out) saw the home side to 134–2 and an easy victory with another unbroken half century partnership as Old Hill won by eight wickets to take the maximum 24 points they required to scare their Division One promotion rivals. Nathan Round finished the season in a rich vein of form as he amassed a total of 349 runs in his last four innings.

On Sunday, Old Hill Second XI made the long journey to Shrewsbury for the final game of the season, rescheduled due to the hosts participation in the National Knockout cup final on Saturday.

But, on arrival at the ground it was obvious to captain Mo Javaid and his players that they were the only people ready to fulfil the fixture.

After a number of frantic telephone calls it was established that due to a gross misunderstanding and a lack of communication, the game had been designated by the Birmingham League as abandoned with five points awarded to each team. This was a disappointing end to a magnificent season back in the Premier League with the very young side adapting very well to the higher standard of cricket required to maintain their status. They more than held their own to finish in a creditable fourth position having accumulated 276 points.

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