Milford keep pressure on Lichfield

Title rivals Lichfield and Milford Hall continue to set a blistering pace in the South Staffs Cricket League after both emerging from tough encounters with victories.


While Premier Division leaders Lichfield eventually proved too strong for Wolverhampton seconds, Milford remain just two points behind after seeing out a nervy three-wicket win at bottom-placed Rugeley.

Rugeley, yet to register a victory this term, posted 193 batting first, thanks chiefly to Rhys Morgan’s 51 from 41 balls.

Milford’s chase still looked like being straightforward as opener Waqaar Saleem struck 10 fours en route to a run-a-ball half century but when he was dismissed for 61, with the score 106-2, it promoted a mini-collapse as the visitors then slumped to 136-5.

Aaron Afford (41) remained calm and steadied the ship while Ejaz Nawaz, who had earlier claimed five wickets with the ball, was unbeaten on 13 at the close to guide his team over the line for their ninth win in 11 matches. The victory was enough to see them pass the 200-point mark at the midway point of the season, though they remain just behind Lichfield, who also had to dig deep to see off Wolverhampton’s second string.

A century partnership between openers Rich Taylor-Tibbott (49) and Jack Warren (41) got the leaders off to a good start but their visitors hit back, Finlay Mayer claiming three wickets as the hosts were restricted to 232-8.

It appeared an achievable target for Wolves when they sat on 180-5 but the loss of James Turner saw the fall of three wickets for just seven runs, including that of Vikul Lal for 66, which ultimately proved decisive as the visitors finished 17 runs short.

Tamworth, the only other team still with a realistic shot at the title, sit 18 points behind Lichfield in third after digging themselves out of a hole at Wombourne. An early four-wicket blast from seamer Jack Bradley, who finished with figures of 6-34, had the visitors reeling on 27-5 before Jacob Flower and Jack Smith launched a rearguard action.

While Smith was run out by Wombourne skipper Tom Elwell for 51, Flower remained immovable, carrying his bat for 85 as Tamworth were eventually bowled out for 235.

That proved too much for the hosts, who never looked in the hunt after Ryan Hughes (5-25) and Jason Jakeman (3-21) had found their rhythm. Wombourne eventually finished on 182-9, 53 runs short.

Elsewhere, Fordhouses established some breathing space between themselves and the bottom two with an impressive five-wicket win at home to in-form Brewood.

In the highest scoring match of the weekend, Staffordshire’s Tim Maxfield thumped an unbeaten 76 from just 58 balls to help the visitors recover from 131-7 to post 242-8.

Yet Fordhouses were always in control of the chase thanks to half centuries from Adam Peat (54), Steven Sandhu (61) and top scorer Matthew Gallear (66). Stand-in skipper Jem Stack also hit an unbeaten 35 from 33 balls to see his team over the line with three overs to spare.

Beacon picked up a welcome win as they beat Hammerwich at home by seven wickets.

Matt Cartwright got the hosts off to the perfect start when he dismissed Varun Bali with just the third ball of the match.

That set the tone for a difficult day for Hammerwich, who could only make 170 from their 50 overs despite Craig Jennings’ 59. Ollie Green finished with impressive bowling figures of 4-39.

Beacon’s chase was then given early impetus thanks to a half century from opener Roger Fildes.

Skipper Dan Green and overseas star Josh Pistorius were then unbeaten on 30 and 40 respectively at the close as the home side reached the target with 11 overs to spare.

Penkridge reeled off their third win in a row with a comfortable six-wicket success at struggling Old Wufrunians Tettenhall, Attiq Chisti hitting an unbeaten 51 as they chased down 209 in 44.1 overs.

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