ASTWOOD Bank will be preparing for the biggest weekend of their season as they bid to step up their promotion charge – and move one game from a Lord’s final.
The Bank face a top-of-the-table derby at Redditch on Saturday (1.00) in the Worcestershire League Premier Division match of the day.
Then 24 hours later, they head to Stafford to play Milford Hall in the quarter-finals of the National Village Cup (1pm). The incentive of a trip to Lord’s – where they lost in the 2003 final – will be driving the Bank squad.
“We’re all excited,” said skipper Pete Alexander, whose 72-ball century helped defeat Fillongley in the last round.
“But we’re excited about every round because we get great crowds; we probably had a few hundred down here for the last round. Obviously to get to Lord’s and win the cup would be a massive bonus, but we’re just happy to play [in the tournament].”
Bank head into the weekend on the back of a six-wicket success at home to Old Hill last Saturday.
The result left them third in the table, four points behind Redditch and 22 points behind leaders Stourbridge.
Tom Harris was the man of the match against Old Hill, taking a five-wicket haul to disrupt what had looked a promising Old Hill batting display.
They had been 170-3 until Harris took the wicket of Qasim Shah and the visitors lost momentum after that to be all out for 193 with four balls remaining in their innings.
Jake Price also took 3-46.
Navdeep Poonia top-scored for the Black Country side, smashing 73 off 60 balls, and opener Nigel Davenport hit 48.
In reply, Tom Pedley (27) and Rob West (47) put on 59 for the opening wicket and though Bank were stuttering at 131-4 after Alexander (20) was cleanbowled, Sam Thomas (44 not out) and Liam Smith (14no) guided them comfortably to their target after 34 overs.
James Pyatt fell six runs short of a century as Astwood Bank Seconds lost to Himbleton in Division Two in a game which had an aggregate of 619 runs.
Pyatt’s 94, with 11 fours and four sixes, and 52 from Adam Warbrick led the Bank to 309-9 in their 50 overs. There were also useful contributions from Joel Haslam (39) and last man George Haslam (31 no).
Jeremy Pilgrim finished with 4-66 for Himbleton.
The hosts lost two quick wickets with only 31 on the board but then skipper Richard Sugden (65) provided the impetus to take them to 128 before he was fourth out.
Jamie Alford, batting at number six, then smashed 14 fours and three sixes in a blistering 90 not out to take Himbleton to victory off the first ball of the final over.
Bank Thirds lost by five wickets in their Division Four clash away to Alvechurch & Hopwood, while the Fourths reversed the result with a 63-run win against Alvechurch Seconds. Harry Williams (69) and Adam Haslam (68) led the batters.