Stourbridge stay at the summit following tie with Bewdley
In what turned out to be the game of the day in the Premier Division leaders Stourbridge stayed at the summit following a tie with visitors Bewdley. Stourbridge batted first and posted a challenging (238-9) in a match reduced to forty eight overs due to a delayed start. After decent contributions from the Bewdley middle order without a real telling contribution the match went to the final over where Stourbridge Captain Josh Banks proved the hero for the home side by running out Andy Platt off the penultimate ball of the innings to force the tie. This result reduced the gap at the top to just thirteen points as Redditch leap frogged Astwood Bank into second place after fighting hard for a victory which half way through the second innings seemed very unlikely. Redditch batted first and posted a decent (211 all out) thanks largely to Tom Field (62), a total which mid-way through the Astwood Bank innings looked under par. However, with the Bank requiring just fifty six with eight wickets left and just over half of their second innings overs remaining Redditch rallied to dismiss the two in batsman (Sam Thomas and Tom Underhill 77) and then continued to apply the pressure to eventually bowl out the visitors to win by thirteen runs and close the gap slightly at the top.
In other matches Chaddesley Corbett beat lowly Evesham to remain in fourth position and still in touch with the leaders, Pershore are fifth after defeating basement side Feckenham by three wickets, Worcester jumped back into mid division following a good thirty nine run win against Old Elizabethans for whom Sam Ford took (6-51) in the first innings and Stourport will be looking up now instead of down following their five wicket victory at Old Hill where Andrew Siwicki (60*) and Ryan Derrick (60) posted second innings half centuries to claim victory and further frustrate the home team who just can’t seem to find the form and consistency required to mount a serious title challenge.
In Division One Colwalls three wicket win at Burghill moves them twenty eight points clear at the top of the table from Coombs Wood who took full advantage of last weeks second placed team Hagleys second defeat in a row (this time to Cookley) to hurdle them into the promotion places thanks to a fine first innings half century from Gulham Abbas (82) which helped secure a tight victory against Oldswinford.
Bromyard also took advantage of Hagleys slip up as they moved into third position just four points adrift as they cruised to victory against Bredon at Flaggoners Green.
Elsewhere, Belbroughton seem to be finding form at the right time of the season as they moved into joint fifth alongside Cookley after winning again, this time at St. Peter’s Field against lowly Droitwich Spa who need to find form quickly if they are to avoid the drop and Pedmore are next after they beat Worcester Nomads who are another side who need a win to ease their worries.
In Division Two Ombersley now enjoy what looks like being an unassailable thirty two point lead over second placed Lye who were beaten for the second week in a row, this time at St. Godwalds Park by Bromsgrove. Marcus D’Oliveira (64) again led from the front as the table toppers eased home by just three wickets after A Williams (119) had led a gritty Astwood Bank to a challenging first innings total to seal a vital win which now moves them seventy-four points clear of third placed Barnt Green who just about saw off basement side Bartestree by nine runs in a match reduced to twenty-five overs per team.
Elsewhere, Craig Wood (106) scored his second century in a row in Kidderminsters win against Himley whilst Brockhampton and Enville gained crucial wins against Halesowen and Himbleton respectively to create a little space between themselves and the drop zone.
In Division Three leaders Netherton are looking like they will be difficult to catch as they are now forty seven points clear at the top following a comfortable victory against Old Hill.
However, the race for the second promotion place remains enthralling with just forty three points between Redditch who are in second place (after beating Barnards Green for whom R Edavathan scored 116 in the first innings at North End Lane) and ninth placed Old Elizabethans (who lost at home to Rushwick).
Old Vigornians moved back in to third position after beating Avoncroft by four wickets, Old Hill are fourth, Barnards Green fifth and Kempsey (who beat Stourbridge) moved back into sixth above Martley who were beaten by basement side Pershore at home by a healthy margin.
In Division Four Harborne and Worcester continued to consolidate the promotion places as they both cruised to comfortable victories against and Coombs Wood and Five Ways Old Edwardians respectively.
The gap to the top two is now twenty five points as both of last weeks third and fourth placed teams were beaten at home. Third placed Stourport were skittled for just forty seven in the second innings by Alvechurch & Hopwood as took C Beech 4-10 to help move the visitors into fourth replacing Bewdley who slipped a position as they were humbled by Bromsgrove at Lower Park as only Matt Cowdery (72) showed any resistance with the bat.
In other matches A Wahid (76) and I Kasana (50) helped Romsley and Hunnington to a fourteen run victory at Eastnor for whom Frederick Coleman scored (62) and the match between the bottom two teams Astwood Bank and Halesowen was abandoned.
In Division Five the status quo remains as the top six all recorded victories.
Leaders Lye enjoyed a comfortable victory at home against Hagley by five wickets, Harjit Singh took (4-35) in the first innings to help second placed Chaddesley Corbett to an easy victory against Hanley Castle and Upton, Fergus Neve (119) scored a fine second innings century for third placed West Malvern in their victory against Droitwich Spa for whom Stuart Bryan compiled a first innings 87), fourth placed Netherton returned to winning ways with an eight wicket win against basement side Feckenham, fifth placed Malvern made the short trip to Whitegates Farm and came away with a comfortable six wicket win against Worcester Nomads thanks to L Hill (57*) and finally Claverley, who are in sixth place made the trip to Colwall and gained an important victory which keeps their chance of promotion alive.
In Division Six after last weeks defeat Evesham returned to winning ways when Ghayas Uddin (75) and Abdul Rahim (54) posted first innings half centuries to help post a total that Stourbridge could not reach. Anil Ram (106) and Ben Spargo (103) both compiled first innings centuries and Muhammad Tausif took (5-23) in the second as second placed Harborne kept in touch with a win against Hallow Taverners. Third placed Kidderminster also recorded a victory as Rhodri Morson (92) helped them chase down Old Vigornians competitive first innings total to win by three wickets and Alveley won comfortably against Cookley to stay fourth.
Elsewhere, Brendan Smith (60) was the main contributor as Enville beat Belbroughton by eight runs in a tight match and Jonathan Smith (153*) rolled back the years to compile a magnificent undefeated century in Pedmores win against Oldswinford (for whom John Bywater score 137*)
Division Seven is still proving to be one of the closest with the top six clubs still in with a realistic chance of winning the title.
Luke Bradley (94) helped leaders Himley to over three hundred in the first innings which proved too many for Old Hill to chase despite an excellent all round match performance from their all-rounder Abdul Qawi (4-31 & 58). Bromyard are still level on points at the top as Max Rowley (7-60) set up an eight wicket victory against local rivals Bartestree. Cutnall Green dropped off the pace in third following a defeat at home to Barnt Green which gave Stourport the chance to close the gap in fourth to just two points which they did as Mark Guest (4-23) and Richard Foley (4-39) shared eight first innings wickets in their win against Harvington.
In other matches fifth placed Bromsgrove beat Kidderminster comfortably and Rushwick eased their relegation fears with a twenty three run win at Highley.
In Division Eight half centuries Sam Evans (78), Ben Griffiths (54) and Ed Kemp (50) helped Cleobury Mortimer inflict only the second defeat of the season on leaders Birlingham for whom Mike Sloan top scored with (82). This defeat enabled Burghill to close the gap at the top as Tim Walsh (85) and Gregory Penning (62) led them to a big win against third placed Bredon.
Elsewhere, Claverley remain in fifth after securing a comfortable win against Eastnor, Harry Williams (69) and Adam Haslam (68) scored first innings half centuries and Jacob Short took (5-38) for Astwood Bank in the second to secure the win against Alvechurch and Hopwood. Mark Wood (56) was the main contributor for Avoncroft in their win against Kempsey and James Basford scored a magnificent (150) for Martley against Wyre Foresters which earned a win to create more distance from the bottom two.
In Division Nine the top six teams are separated by just thirty three points.
Old Elizabethans continue to lead the way after Tim Leary (69) and Andrew Gandon (58) compiled first innings half centuries in their win against Alveley, second placed Droitwich beat Himbleton comfortably to stay second, Worcester beat Stourbridge to stay third and Nigel Payne (66*) helped Tenbury kept up with the pace in fourth as they beat Himley by eight wickets at Penlu. Edward Holland (4-15) helped Romsley & Hunnington climb above opponents West Malvern as they won by six wickets and in the other match in the division Harry Annable (126) and Jacob Morgan-Iqbal (50 & 4-28) had good days out for Ombersley in their victory against Five Ways Old Edwardians.
In Division Ten Chris & Pete Harler (112* & 83*) respectively kept it in the family as they compiled an unbroken opening stand of two hundred and forty-one runs to ensure Stone stayed at the summit after beating Redditch Entaco by tem wickets. Cookhill remain second after they beat Hanley Castle and Upton at the Glebe by ten wickets.
Tim Mathews (143) helped Harborne gain a much required victory against Halesowen who remain fourth despite losing, Hallow Taverners beat Hagley by nine wickets to stay in mid division and James Cartwright (51*) and Kelvin Lewis (50*) both scored undefeated half centuries in Pershores second win of the season against Malvern.
In Division Eleven Deep Hanjra (117) and Robert Teague (57) helped Chaddesley Corbett to victory against table toppers Enville who are now just two points clear of Old Halesonians who lost to Netherton for whom Pravdeep Sanha scored 106) in a tight six run victory.
Old Elizabethans who had a free week and now have a game in hand remain in third position, six points behind top spot, Chaddesley are fourth four points further back, Droitwich who were beaten at bottom of the table Bewdley lie fifth with a game in hand and Belbroughton thanks to half centuries from Laurie Heilbronn (75) and Jamie Mackenzie (61) closed the gap to safety with a comprehensive win against third from bottom Harborne.
With just sixty four points separating the nine teams in this division, anything can happen in the last half of the season.
After the final round of matches in the Division Twelve zonal groups the fourteen teams who have chosen to continue will now be split into a Play –Off Group (from which the top two teams will qualify for promotion to Division Eleven) and a Plate Group (for which the winner will receive an award at the end of the season).
Following play on Saturday the following seven teams with the highest points tally across the three Division Twelve Zonal Groups have qualified for the Play-Off Group; Worcester 4th XI (156 pts), Barnards Green 3rd XI (154), Coombs Wood (148 pts), Stourport-on-Severn 4th XI (125 pts), Tenbury Wells 2nd XI (121 pts), Rushwick 3rd XI (118 pts) & Redditch Entaco 3rd XI (118 pts).
All other teams will be playing in the plate competition, as follows; Evesham 3rd XI (109 pts), Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social 3rd XI (108 pts), Five Ways Old Edwardians (92 pts), Bromyard (83 pts), Pedmore (69 pts), Feckenham (42 pts) and Barnards Green 4th XI a new team to the competition structure this season.
All fixtures will be published on the play-cricket.com platform by Tuesday of this week. With the top two teams in each group and the best third placed finisher qualifying the North Division qualifiers will be Coombs Wood who beat Pedmore by eight wickets and Oldswinford who, all-though beaten by Himley are certain to qualify as their closest near rivals Himley and Cookley (who were given a concession win by Enville) will not be continuing.