WAQAS ALI took 6-25 as Redditch Entaco began their Worcestershire League Premier Division season in fine style with a superb 63-run victory at former Birmingham League side Old Hill on Saturday.
On his eagerly-awaited return to the side, Redditch skipper Russell Southwick lost the toss and home captain Jonathan Wright asked Redditch to bat first.
The Kingfishers got off to the worst possible start as Tom Phelan was adjudged LBW off the first ball of the day.
Southwick joined opener Tom Field and both players found scoring hard to come by as pace bowlers Naqaash Tahir and Zahid Kafiat impressed.
Southwick was next to go for 17, once again LBW as Tahir claimed his second wicket.
Overseas wicketkeeper/batsman Chris Brown (12) started brightly but also fell LBW to Tahir. Field (31) played the anchor innings but was next to fall with the score on 80.
Rizwan Mohammed (18) and Ghulam Moyhuddin (23) repaired some of the damage but Redditch slumped from 137-5 to 150 all out in 48.4 overs as Tahir took 6-37.
Redditch needed early wickets and opening bowlers Noman Mohammed and Ali duly obliged in having both openers back in the pavilion with the score on four.
Old Hill simply did not recover as Redditch grew in confidence and the hosts were reduced to 30-7 with no batsman in the top seven reaching double figures.
Tahir (36no) and Shafiq Ahmed (19) added 43 for the eighth wicket but a wonderful catch by keeper Brown broke their resistance and bowling star Tahir ran out of partners as Noman Mohammed and Ali cleaned up, with the home side bowled out for just 87.
Ali finished with hugely impressive figures of 6-25 and Noman Mohammed took 3-11. Redditch’s performance in the field was simply magnificent with all catches going to hand and Rizwan Mohammed led the way with three safely pouched.
The Kingfishers now look forward to an exciting away game on Saturday at Chaddesley Corbett, who opened with a big win at Old Elizabethans.
The 2nds made it a double success for the club with a three-wicket friendly victory against Kings Heath at Bromsgrove Road.
Put into bat, Kings Heath lost early wickets but their middle order rallied and enjoyed time in the middle with Javod Malik (35), Shane Ryan (36) and Aamir Mahmood (42no) taking the total to 167-7 off their 40 overs. Haleem Basharat took 3-49 and Mo Zahid 2-22.
In reply Redditch made 58 for the first wicket before losing Nick Fowkes for 15, but Mo Sarfraz (48) and Anis Suleman (53) continued to Redditch in charge.
Kings Heath bounced back by reducing the hosts to 109-4 before veteran wicketkeeper Abdul Jabbar steadied the ship with 18, allowing the Kingfishers to get home with ten balls to spare.
On Saturday the 2nds open their league campaign with a Division Three home fixture against Avoncroft.