ASTWOOD BANK’S Worcestershire League Premier Division title bid was reignited by a six-wicket victory over visitors Worcester.
Bank remain 22 points behind leaders Stourbridge with ten matches remaining, the first of which is Saturday’s visit to Pershore, which is followed by Sunday’s home clash against north Warwickshire side Fillongley in the last 16 of the National Village Cup.
Bank are just three wins from a Lord’s appearance, but before that there is the pressing matter of a key game at mid-table Pershore who themselves are far from out of the promotion picture.
Fourth-placed Bank will head to The Bottoms buoyed by a seventh league win of the season achieved in impressive circumstances, given the flying start made by Worcester.
The visitors’ openers Henry Lewis (57) and Aditya Dhadwal (67) put on 102 for the first wicket before spinner Josh Baker (2-41 off ten) made the breakthrough by bowling the former.
Whilst Worcester continued to score at a decent pace, wickets fell at regular intervals as Jake Price, Dan Thomas and Tom Harris all took two wickets apiece, although the most economical bowling came from Dan Taylor with 1-34 off ten.
Rob Goodman’s unbeaten 22 batting at ten helped lift the visitors from 208-8 to 244-9 from their 50 overs and Bank were faced with a difficult chase.
After Clark Knapton (3-56) had openers Tom Pedley and Rob West back in the pavilion with just 11 on the board, it looked even tougher, but Tom Underhill produced a superb innings of 87 off 75 balls including nine fours and five sixes as he and Sam Thomas (25) put on 110 for the third wicket.
Underhill was bowled by Knapton to leave the hosts 140-4 but captain Pete Alexander struck a fluent unbeaten 68 and keeper Liam Smith was also unbeaten for his 29 as Bank got home with more than six overs to spare to earn the 20 points.