BEDWORTH slipped to a 65-run opening day defeat at home to Olton and West Warwickshire in the Warwickshire Premier League, writes Paul Smith.
While Ryan Parnell (39) and Finn Haynes (31) were adding 66 for the home side’s second wicket, their pursuit of Olton’s 222 for five remained a possibility.
However, the loss of six wickets for the addition of only 51 runs against some accurate bowling derailed the chase which eventually ended in the 48th over for 157.
Newly-promoted Olton had a fine knock from Gary Hawkins, who made an unbeaten 78 from 90 balls, to thank for their above-par total.
Bedworth skipper Abdul Hafeez, who was the pick of the home attack with 2-37, said his team has plenty to think about following their first league outing.
“It was disappointing to start with a defeat,” he said. “Credit to Olton who bowled well and kept the pressure on once they got on top.
“We said afterwards that the 35 extras we conceded was too many. In a tight division those extra runs plus what they scored from the additional deliveries makes a difference so we need to look at that and learn.
“We started well with the bat but they bowled with discipline and it was difficult to force the pace on a slow April pitch with a bit in it.
“Things are different this year with the win/lose white ball section being played at the start of the season so we may need to adjust our batting strategy.”
New signing Waqar Dad caught the eye with the new ball for the home side who quickly reduced the visitors to 36 for two.
Olton skipper James Neale then joined Hawkins in a third wicket alliance worth 82 before Ash Cutts ended the opener’s long vigil for a 125-ball 44.
This set the stage for Hawkins and fifth wicket partner Kevin McClean who pressed the accelerator to good effect in adding 85 extremely useful runs.
McClean fell in the closing stages for a 37-ball 42, leaving Hawkins to take some well-deserved plaudits for a well-crafted knock containing only four boundaries and one six.
After the early loss of Max Page, Parnell and Haynes’ partnership left the home side needing to score at six an over through the closing 25 overs.
However, against persistent Olton bowling Bedworth were unable to boost their run rate in the manner which Hawkins had earlier achieved.
Bowling in tandem with Haydn Burke (3-28), Hawkins completed an excellent all-round match by dismissing Parnell and Manbir Johal at a personal cost of 29 runs from eight tidy overs, and when Hafeez fell for 24 Bedworth’s hopes were gone.