A BRILLIANT partnership of 186 between captain Russell Southwick and Brandon Weal helped Redditch Entaco to a thrilling and crucial victory at Eastnor in their pursuit of the Worcestershire League Division One title.
The Kingfishers’ seventh win of the campaign leaves them fourth, just 16 points behind leaders Cookley, who slipped to a four-run defeat at home to Feckenham.
Eastnor may sit second bottom of the table, but their position is misleading as they too would be in the promotion picture were it not for an 85-point deduction.
This was arguably the Kingfishers’ most impressive victory of a highly encouraging season as they chased down a target of 261 despite finding themselves 4-2 in reply.
The Herefordshire hosts posted 260-7 off their 50 overs thanks to good contributions from Aarsh Jha (47), Waqas Ahmed (57), Faisal Khalid (46no) and Raheel Lone (45no).
The latter two were particularly hard-hitting at considerably better than a run a ball, although the visiting bowlers stuck at their task well.
Waqas Ali claimed 3-46 off ten overs and the increasingly impressive Haris Ali 2-36 off ten.
Redditch were left rocking by the early dismissals of Greg Chinn and Tom Field but Southwick continued his fine form with 109 off 112 balls to put the visitors in command.
An unbeaten 83 off 113 balls from New Zealander Weal was just as crucial and, accompanied by Rizwan Mohammed who made a breezy unbeaten 48 off 34 balls including two sixes, the pair guided Redditch to 262-4 with 4.5 overs to spare.
The Kingfishers now prepare for a key game against third placed Hagley at Bromsgrove Road on Saturday.
Club spokesman Gary Fisher said: “Russ (Southwick) and Brandon (Weal) batted superbly on Saturday to guide us to a crucial win.
“Confidence within the ranks is high and it was a fine way to start the second half of the campaign.
“Eastnor are a dangerous side and we face another dangerous team in Hagley this weekend. It’s a key game because another win would set us up perfectly for the following weekend’s match at current leaders Cookley.”
SECOND placed Redditch 2nds maintained their pursuit of Worcestershire League Division One 2nd XI leaders Feckenham with a five-wicket home win over Eastnor.
The Herefordshire side posted 237-8 off 50 overs as Scott Roberts hit 70 and skipper Steven Davies 45 not out.
All-rounder Nick Fowkes took 3-71 for Redditch, who took just 35 overs to reach their target thanks to an excellent 95 from Olly Mason, 42 from Luke Davis and 38 from Geoff Eley.
The Kingfishers, 18 points behind the Millers, visit Hagley on Saturday.
The 3rds returned to winning ways in Division Five with an 85-run success against Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social at the Entaco.
The Kingfishers posted 262-5 off 45 overs as Matt Greenway made a superb 112 not out.
In reply Oldswinford lost wickets at regular intervals as Ajmal Wafa took 4-30 and Sam Bonsall 3-29. The visitors were bowled out for 177 of which opener Paul Milner top scored with 41.
The 4ths lost by 28 runs in an entertaining Division Five 2nd XI encounter at Oldswinford.
The hosts made 286-6 of which David Lane hit an unbeaten 102. In reply, Habib Ahmed (54), Allen Smith (52) and Adam Sharp (41) saw Redditch’s valiant effort finish on 258-8 off 45 overs.
On Saturday Stourbridge are the opposition for the 3rds and 4ths, with the 3rds home at the Entaco.
The over 45s were back in the winning habit as they beat Belbroughton by six wickets on Sunday.
Belbroughton scored 196 off their 35 overs but in reply a majestic 50 from Chris Gibson and 42 from Eley saw Redditch home with 9.3 overs to spare.
The over 45s return to action on July 30 with a home fixture against Earlswood at Bromsgrove Road.