By Jamie Arrowsmith 26/07 Updated: 26/07 16:36
BARNT Green’s hopes of defending their Birmingham League Premier Division title were dealt a further blow on Saturday when they fell to a 65-run home defeat against current leaders Walsall.
Victory would have seen Dougie Brown’s men close to within about 25 points of Walsall but as it is, they now trail them by 68 points with nine games of the season remaining. The first of which is at fifth placed Brockhampton tomorrow.
Walsall made a rapid start after being put in by Brown as Christiaan Jonker (28) and Jack Manuel (31) put on 50 by the eighth over.
Andrew Sutton removed (3-37) Jonker and Brown (2-36) accounted for Manuel which saw the innings revert to a more sedate pace.
The fall of regular wickets also helped keep Walsall in check as Richard Wilkinson (2-24) and Stephen Bevan (3-34) bowled well.
Alex McChristie (29) and Paul Byrne (20) added useful runs in the middle order for the visitors who were bowled out for 170 with four balls of their innings remaining.
Green’s run chase was soon in tatters after the tea break thanks to a fine spell from Josh Bowker.
He removed the top four for just 31 between them, 27 of which came from James Ord, as the hosts crumbled to 35-5.
Brown (19) and Adam Smith (20no) offered some resistance but Walsall were well on top throughout the innings, which ended at 105 in the 48th over.
The last wicket partnership of 23 between Smith and Bevan (8) was the highest of the innings whilst Bowker, who boosted his claims for inclusion in the Staffordshire side, finished with 5-26 in nine overs.
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