ASTWOOD BANK took full advantage of favours elsewhere to fire fresh impetus into their Worcestershire League Premier Division title challenge.
Whilst leaders Stourbridge were on their way to a 63-run loss at home to fellow title hopefuls Chaddesley Corbett, second-placed Redditch Entaco had seen their match at Stourport abandoned without a ball bowled.
Those results allowed Pete Alexander’s third-placed Bank to capitalise and their vital four-wicket win at home to Evesham takes them within 19 points of top spot and three behind the second-placed Kingfishers.
With rain a threat, Bank, for whom it was a tenth win of the campaign, chose to field after winning the toss and they restricted the relegation-haunted visitors to 165-9 from their 38 overs.
The victory target looked set to be much lower after two early wickets from Jake Price (2-27 off eight) helped reduce Evesham to 64-5, but Kamran Abbasi had other ideas and his 58 off 56 balls including three sixes steered his side towards a defendable target.
Dan Thomas took 2-23 off seven overs and Tom Harris 2-25 for Bank, whose reply got off to a bad start when Rob West was dismissed without scoring, but Tom Pedley (45) and Sam Thomas (43) put on 71 to steady the ship.
At 114-4 and 137-6 the outcome was still in the balance but Michael Desmond’s unbeaten 20 off 13 balls steered the hosts to their revised victory target of 160 off 35 overs with five balls remaining.
Bank play the first of six remaining matches with a vital clash at fellow high-flyers Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday before Sunday’s (1pm) huge National Village Cup semi-final at home to Houghton Main of Barnsley.
The prize for the winners is a Lord’s final and a big crowd will be in attendance. There will be a bar, bottle bar, barbecue and cakes on offer and spectator parking is available in the field opposite the club on Jill Lane.