The Beacon boys are on the charge
Beacon skipper Dan Green admits the belief is growing after the reigning champions continued their surge up the South Staffs County League.
A fourth successive victory has left Beacon sitting pretty in third place, 17 points behind leaders Pelsall going into Saturday’s eagerly-awaited clash with neighbours Wombourne.
Fordhouses were the latest side to be swept aside as the boys from the Bratch powered to a resounding 154-run win.
“The belief is growing each week,” said Green. “And the fact that we have recently beaten three sides who were in division two of the Birmingham League last season has obviously given everyone a lift.
“From one to 11 we are playing good cricket. The batsmen are scoring runs and the bowlers are bowling well. It’s a good place to be.
“We have people in the second team who are pushing for places. The club is in a strong place at the moment.
“We still have to play a few sides that beat us in the first half of the season and we want to go out and compete with them when we play them again.
“If we can do that, then we will see where we are towards the end of the season.”
In a match reduced to 35 overs per side, opener James Fildes continued his rich vein of form by making 77 and taking his run tally to 254 in just four innings.
But arguably the standout effort came from 14-year-old Ollie Walker who past 50 for the the first time in the top flight on his way to 70 not out.
And with Dan Vernon adding some late fireworks with an unbeaten 52 from just 26 balls, Beacon posted a formidable 258-3.
Vernon and fellow spinner Ben Robinson then did the business with the ball, bagging three wickets each to help shoot out Fordhouses for 104.
Green reserved a word of praise for talented teenager Walker, who is a member of Worcestershire’s academy.
“To be batting three in a team that is going well in a league of this standard is amazing for a 14-year-old,” said Green.
“He is a very level-headed and well-grounded lad. Whatever challenge you give him, whether it’s batting three or lower down, or bowling a few overs, he takes it on.
“He is going to be a very good player.”
Cannock climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to a 49-run success against Hammerwich.
Useful contributions from Eddie Martin (32 not out), Faizan Khan (29) and Wajid Ali (23) helped Cannock to 152-8 from their 35 overs. Ben Mcleod, John Jennings, Jimmy Howell and Matthew Deyzel all picked up two wickets each.
Spinner Matt Robinson then took centre stage with the ball to turn the game Cannock’s way.
Hammerwich looked on course for victory as they reached 81-5 but Robinson then took 4-14 from 5.3 overs to fire them out for 103. Jennings (22 not out) and Patrick Knott (26) were the only Hammerwich batsmen to pass 20.
Wombourne skipper Dan Bassett led from the front as his side recorded a welcome victory at Milford Hall.
After demanding an improvement from his men following a run of disappointing displays, Bassett set the example with 78 at the top of the order after his side had been asked to bat first.
Tom Elwell provided support with 57 and Basit Zaman made 26 as Wombourne were dismissed for 232 with two balls of their allotted 35 overs remaining.
Experienced seamer Ejaz Nawaz picked up three wickets in four balls at the end of the visitors’ innings to finish with 4-24.
Milford’s batting then failed to fire in the face of some impressive Wombourne bowling.
The home side never recovered after being reduced to 23-3 and were finally dismissed in the 30th over for 122.
Spinner Ben Hudson impressed with 3-35 while Australian seamer Liam Ward-Armstrong took 3-33 and Ben Jewkes 2-6.
C&R Hawks overcame a batting collapse to claim a 12-run success at Lichfield.
Hawks were looking set for a sizeable total after Valled Butt (45), Mubeen Rashid (34) and Omar Ali (28) had taken them to 133-2.
But they then lost their last eight wickets for 39 runs on their way to 172 all out. Nick Richards and Graham Wilson both took three wickets for home team.
An opening stand of 64 between Joe Seager (35) and Rich Taylor-Tibbott (23) gave Lichfield a good start but once again the bowlers hit back as Hawks restricted their hosts to 160-9, despite 32 from Tom Swift.
After the first few overs we though 160-180 would be a good score, so to get 250-odd was a brilliant effort.
They were going quite well early on but we stuck to our task and didn’t panic and the spinners did their stuff again with three wickets each.
“James is batting really well at the moment. He has opened four times in the league this season and scored over 250 runs.
“He scores quickly but he bats properly and it’s been a pleasure to watch him."