A HUGE bank holiday weekend of cricket awaits as both Redditch Entaco and Astwood Bank bid to keep their Worcestershire League Premier Division title hopes alive.
The first of three remaining fixtures for the Kingfishers is Saturday’s trip to leaders Stourbridge which the visitors head into having fallen to fourth following Saturday’s losing draw at home to Bewdley. Stourbridge, though, were restricted to a winning draw at Old Hill and are just 21 points above this weekend’s opponents.
Defeat will spell the end of Redditch’s title hopes but victory will be a huge tonic for the Bromsgrove Road club.
A similar scenario faces Astwood Bank who go into Saturday’s trip to Old Elizabethans having leapfrogged Redditch into third after defeating visitors Feckenham by 55 runs.
Bank, who finish the campaign at home to Stourbridge, are four points above Redditch.
Redditch had to settle for seven points against Bewdley who recovered from 29-3 to have the better of proceedings.
An excellent partnership of 81 between skipper Rob Combes and 27 from Adrian Evans brought Bewdley back into the game. Combes grew in confidence as Redditch struggled in the field and the captain went on to make 88.
Bewdley finished on a handy 197-7 off their 50 overs as Waqas Ali took 4-57 and Noman Mohammed 2-35.
In reply Redditch started well as openers Tom Field and Chris Brown made 97 for the first wicket but a mix-up between the batsmen saw Field run out for 44.
The Bewdley players grew in confidence as Brown departed soon afterwards for a fine 48 and Redditch started to struggle as wickets tumbled.
With the win slipping away, Redditch suffered three more run outs and it was left to Waqas Ali to see out the final over and guide the hosts to 172-9. Paul Taylor took 4-53.
Meanwhile, Bank were made to sweat for huge parts of their match at home to relegated Feckenham before prevailing by 55 runs.
The hosts were in dire straits at 66-8 as Yasir Mehmood led the Millers’ charge with 3-20 in an innings reduced to 25 overs.
However, Pete Alexander struck a sensational unbeaten 90 off just 38 balls as he blasted a magnificent 12 sixes to inspire the home side to an ultimately huge total of 183-8 thanks to an unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership of 117 with Dan Thomas (27no).
Jake Price (4-33) removed the Feckenham top four but the visitors were still well in the game at 90-4.
However, Dan Thomas took 3-57 to remove the lower middle order and Feckenham – for whom Muhammad Idrees top-scored with 26 – were bowled out for 128 with 17 balls remaining to secure a crucial win for Bank.
Redditch 2nds returned to playing cricket following a hat-trick of washed out games and got back into the winning habit with a nine-wicket victory at Stourbridge.
The home side were bowled out for just 98 as Ali Rashid led the way with 41 not out. Haleem Basharat took 4-13 and Sahil Mahmood and James Bevan chipped in with two wickets apiece.
In reply openers Dan Protherough (48no) and Haleem Basharat (32) impressed. Rushwick are the visitors to Bromsgrove Road on Saturday.
The 3rds took the points in the local derby against Cookhill, winning by 13 runs in a low-scoring match at the Howard Brazil Memorial Ground.
Redditch scored 125-8 off their 35 overs with contributions from Sam Egan (26), Nick Fowkes (24) and Faheem Shahid (20).
In reply Cookhill struggled against some tight bowling and fell 14 runs short of victory as they finished on 112-9. Fowkes, Egan James Prescott and Tom Prescott took two wickets apiece for Redditch, who host Hanley Swan at the Entaco on Saturday when Redditch need just seven points to clinch promotion from Division Ten.