RAMPANT Astwood Bank sit joint second in Birmingham League Division Three after a seven-wicket victory over Lichfield made it four successive wins.
Once again the bowlers were in superb form for Steve Adshead’s side as only Joe Seager’s 43 off 35 balls offered any resistance for the visitors.
Joel Haslam (3-11 off eight) and Ryan Blakemore (4-21 off seven) destroyed Lichfield’s top order before Dan Taylor (2-18) got in on the act.
Bank then raced towards their lowly target as openers Alex Robinson (32no) and Blakemore (45) impressed in a stand of 82.
Three wickets fell in quick succession but the outcome was never in doubt as Bank eased home in the 23rd over to collect 20 points and leave themselves bubbling ahead of Saturday’s trip to fellow joint second placed side Sentinel (Shropshire).
STUDLEY remain bottom of the Warwickshire League Premier Division, but ended their six-match losing run with a losing draw against visitors Aston Manor.
The visitors posted a formidable 286-5 including a brutal 134 from Shaun Findlay and unbeaten 77 from David Yeend. Luke Deeprose was the pick of the bowling with 4-61, although Andy Rhodes bowled economically with 0-25 off nine overs.
The hosts’ reply was reduced to 47 overs and, although victory was never likely, neither was defeat as the Studley batsmen made some much-needed runs.
Scott Shepherd scored 45, Chris Perrins (66no) and Jack Williams (54no) as Studley closed on 211-2.
A vital match awaits Studley on Saturday when they visit third from bottom Hampton & Solihull, who sit 28 points above bottom spot.
FECKENHAM suffered an agonising two-run defeat at high-flying Bewdley, who moved into second place in Worcestershire League Division One thanks to their victory.
The hosts won the toss and chose to bat but, aside from 68 from opener Jon Inglis, found runs hard to come by as they were dismissed for 174 off 45 overs.
Muhammad Idrees wrapped up the Bewdley innings in style with a hat-trick to finish with 4-14 off his three overs.
However, the visitors’ reply got off to a disastrous start and at 86-7 victory looked well out of reach.
Josh Stacey had other ideas though and his unbeaten 68 almost clinched a superb victory for the Millers, only for number 11 Neil Evans to be dismissed in the 49th over as the visitors were skittled for 172.
Fifth placed Feckenham host Burghill, Tillington & Weobley on Saturday.
DEPLETED Cookhill had to settle for a tie in a thrilling contest at Barnards Green 3rds’ Newlands home on Saturday.
The visitors travelled with just ten players but came within a whisker of securing a final over victory, only for Simon Edmunds to be trapped leg before having struck the previous ball for four.
Cookhill ended a run of four consecutive toss losses and fielded first in this Worcestershire League Division Six encounter.
Edmunds (1-41 off nine), Luke Eversham (2-36 off nine) and Neil Shuttleworth (1-29 off nine) all impressed with the ball for Cookhill as the hosts were reduced to 102-5, but impressive knocks from George Blannin (53no) and Neil Morris (64no) guided Barnards Green to 208-5 off their 45 overs.
Excellent batting from Eversham (71) and Stuart Griffiths (38) took the visitors to 136-1 but the former’s departure to a stunning catch proved to be a decisive moment.
Wickets continued to fall steadily as numerous Cookhill batsmen got starts they could not build on and, when Kenny Hirst was bowled by one that kept low for 17, the visitors required 20 to win with two wickets remaining.
Zach Marsh (4-44) struck again as Robert Waters (11) missed a straight delivery, so it came down to the final over with Cookhill needing five for victory and the hosts one wicket.
The first ball was whipped away to the boundary by Edmunds but, with the scores tied, he was struck on the front pad the very next ball as Cookhill were dismissed for 208.
Fourth placed Cookhill, who are eight points off top spot, host Birlingham on Saturday.
ALCESTER & RAGLEY remain sixth in the Cotswold Hills League Premier Division but are just 22 points off top spot following Saturday’s 42-run victory over visitors Long Itchington.
An inspired batting display set the hosts’ platform for victory as three players made half centuries.
Openers Darren Turner (50 – his first half century for the club) and Ben Lee (25) got Ragley off to a flying start before man of the match Adam Warbrick produced a free-flowing knock of 67 and Ben Shuttleworth chipped in with 27.
Spinner Steve Franks (five wickets) took a flurry of scalps to slow the hosts’ charge down before all-rounder Tim Jackson took over and thumped three fours and four sixes in making his maiden half century for Alcester, who closed on 261-9.
Long Itchington remained in the hunt for long spells of their chase and at 210-5 off 42 overs the match hung in the balance.
However, Oli Swinburn was in no mood to mess around and his 5-50 off ten overs, including two wickets in what proved to be the final over, clinched the match as Long Itchington were dismissed for 219.
Ragley visit third placed Wellesbourne on Saturday.