Lichfield land blow over rivals in Staffs title race

Brinder Phagura impressed with both ball and bat as Lichfield beat Tamworth to strike the first major blow of the South Staffs County League title race.

Saturday’s three-wicket win saw the visitors stay top of the Premier Division table, now with an 18-point buffer to the third-placed hosts, though Milford Hall remain just two points back in second after their win at Milford Hall.

Former Warwickshire academy all-rounder Phagura claimed three early wickets as big-scoring Tamworth, batting first, were quickly knocked off course, slumping to 44-5.

Matthew Coles (42) appeared to be steadying the ship before becoming the first wicket to fall during a blistering spell from Lichfield seamer James Wilkinson.

The latter finished with figures of 4-16 as he blasted through the tail, Tamworth’s final five wickets falling for just 10 runs as they were bowled out for just 107.

On a tricky pitch, that might still have proved a winning total were it not for Phagura, whose patient 37 from 91 balls guided the visitors out of trouble at 39-4. Though he fell with just two required for victory, the job was done after a chase which took more than 43 overs.

Milford’s 44-run win at home to Wombourne was by some distance the highest-scoring match of the weekend.

Sahal Malvernkar struck 15 boundaries on his way to 93 from just 77 balls while Waqar Saleem also added 61, as the hosts posted 248-9 from 50 overs.

Wombourne’s chase was given early impetus by opener Nathan Howell, who blasted 107 from only 61 balls, hitting nine sixes into the bargain.

Yet the support which might have seen his team overhaul their target was not forthcoming. Alex Haynes (40) was the only other batsman to pass 13 as the visitors were eventually dismissed for 204.

Penkridge are up to fourth after a nail-biting two-wicket win at home to Beacon.

South African overseas star Josh Pistorius top scored with 29 for the visitors, yet it needed a 41-run ninth wicket partnership between Oliver Green (24) and Matt Cartwright (23) to get the total into three figures as they were eventually bowled out for 110.

It almost proved enough as, after moving smoothly to 64-1, the loss of Ishaq Mohammed (26) and Zain Abbas (25) in quick succession saw the hosts collapse. Sabawoon Zazai (8 not out) held his nerve to hit the winning runs as they crept over the line.

A quick-fire 51 from wicketkeeper Greg Clark helped set up Brewood’s 49-run win over struggling Old Wulfrunians Tettenhall. Clark’s knock, from 42 balls, helped his team post 188, a total which proved too much for Old Wulfs.

Captain Chris Guest took six wickets to help Fordhouses bowl out Wolverhampton seconds for just 96 en route to a nine-wicket win, while Hammerwich recorded a comfortable seven-wicket triumph at home to bottom club Rugeley.

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