ASTWOOD BANK’S hopes of securing promotion to Birmingham League Division Two are hanging by a thread after a disappointing opening weekend of play-off fixtures.
The newly-crowned Worcestershire League Premier Division champions fought hard but could only secure a losing draw as any reward for their efforts over the two games.
They go into Saturday’s final round-robin fixture against Warwickshire league winners Walmley at Halesowen with their fate out of their own hands.
The sides in the box seat are Shropshire league champions Wem whose win over Bank on Sunday followed a winning draw the previous day against Walmley, who are also sitting relatively pretty after Sunday’s win against Staffordshire kings Pelsall. Two of the four sides will be promoted.
Wem are on the brink of promotion after chasing down an Astwood Bank total of 207 with two wickets and three overs remaining at Sambourne Lane on Sunday.
Wem need just two points from their final game against Pelsall to guarantee their promotion.
Batting first after winning the toss, Astwood Bank were 207 all out with one ball of their allocation remaining.
Top-scorer was Pete Alexander with 51, closely followed by Tom Underhill with 49. Danny Cohen (4-45), Ben Peel (3-35) and Tom Astley (3-72) shared the wickets before a superb 88 from opening batsman Harry Chandler put Wem in the driving seat.
After his dismissal at 115, Matthew Cohen (23), Peel (28) and Josh Gough (21no) showed cool heads to see Wem over the line despite the best efforts of Dan Thomas (3-61) and Josh Baker (3-43).
On Saturday, hosts Pelsall won the toss and batted first, reaching a highly respectable 242 all out in 49.5 overs.
Top-scorer was Todd Henderson with 74 and there were useful contributions from Tom Boyd (47) and veteran Paul Grainger (32).
Jake Price, Thomas, Baker and Joel Haslam took two wickets each for Astwood Bank, who had reached 226-8 at the close of their innings, with 68 from Tom Pedley and 65 from Connor Adams.
There were two wickets apiece for Pelsall’s Boyd, Ryan Brown and Sam Butcher. Pelsall took 14 points from the game and Astwood Bank nine.