ASTWOOD BANK host local rivals and fellow high-flyers Redditch Entaco in Saturday’s (1pm) eagerly-awaited Worcestershire League Premier Division derby.
Both sides go into the game buoyed by impressive wins last time out as the Kingfishers triumphed by six wickets against Evesham and Bank edged to a thrilling one-wicket victory over an Old Hill side featuring an array of ex-county cricketers.
A bumper crowd is expected and a guest brewery will be adding the usual beers, whilst local brewer Lab Culture is on site with barrels of their IPAs.
Redditch will travel to Sambourne Lane for their first league derby there in a number of years boosted by their home win over Evesham which left them second – 18 points behind leaders Chaddesley Corbett who maintained their 100 per cent record.
After winning the toss and batting, Evesham were soon in trouble as opening bowlers Waqas Ali and Noman Mohammed struck early and the visitors simply did not recover.
Only Sajid Ali (38) and Shiv Kumar (33) stood firm as Waqas Ali had another great day with the ball, taking 5-52 to hoist his wickets tally to 15 for the season so far. Ghulam Moyhuddin chipped in with 3-27 and Haris Ali 1-2 as Evesham were skittled out for just 115 in just 31.4 overs. The umpires had a busy day with five lbw dismissals.
Redditch lost an early wicket as Tom Field was bowled, but a second-wicket partnership of 53 between Olly Mason and Russell Southwick (32) put Redditch in charge.
Mason departed for a fine 42 and it was left to Rizwan Mohammed (17no) to see Redditch home to 24 points.
Redditch make one change to their side for the trip to Bank, with Mo Sarfraz – who has had a fine season so far in the 2nds – replacing Tom Phelan.
The 2nds enjoyed a fine victory at Old Vigornians, winning by 38 runs in a low-scoring match.
Redditch batted first and just two players made double figures – Sarfraz (45) and Nick Fowkes ([10) – with 32 for the opening wicket. Alex Parker (5-33) and Ed Burgoyne (4-44) did the damage. Redditch, helped by 31 extras, were bowled out for 113 in 37.4 overs.
Old Vigornians were soon reduced to 7-2 – a position they did not recover from – and only a resilient 30 from Henry Armstrong made the score more respectable as the hosts were bowled out for 75 in just 23 overs.
Haleem Basharat (4-13), Sarfraz (4-19) and Mo Zahid (2-13) took the wickets to give Redditch 24 points.
On Saturday Barnards Green 2nds are the visitors to Bromsgrove Road. The 3rds open their season tomorrow with a trip to Harborne 5ths.
BANK, now third, won a nail-biting encounter at Old Hill as yet another solid innings from Dan Taylor guided the visitors to their target.
The hosts mustered 149-9 from their 50 overs having been 97-6, thanks almost entirely to Qasim Shah’s 54. Jake Price took 4-36 and Dan Thomas 3-40.
Bank were cruising in reply at 69-1 thanks to a brisk innings of 46 from Tom Pedley, but former Warwickshire seamer Naqaash Tahir dismissed him leg before on his way to figures of 5-45 and the visitors were reduced to 140-9.
However, Taylor (18no) and Price (9no) held their nerve to put on an unbeaten 11 for the final wicket to steer their side to victory in the 38th over.
Bank 2nds got their first win of the season with a comfortable home success against Himbleton. Jake Browning top-scored for the Bank and George Haslam claimed another bagful of wickets with 5-22.
The 3rds lost a low-scoring match at home to Alvechurch despite three wickets apiece from Dennis Freeman and Clare Boycott and the 4ths again gained valuable experience in their defeat to Alvechurch 2nds. Dan Doodey was their highest scorer with an unbeaten 33.
On Sunday Bank progressed into round two of the National Village Cup with a 161-run victory over 1977 champions Cookley.
Sam Thomas scored a superb 115 for Bank.
STUDLEY will head to Knowle & Dorridge 2nds on Saturday for a match in which both sides will be seeking their first win of the Warwickshire League Division Two campaign at the third attempt.
The Washford Fields side suffered a 60-run defeat at Coventry side Pak Shaheen on Saturday as the visitors fell comfortably short of their 208 victory target.
Khalil Ahmed, Jack Williams and Greg Moore took two wickets apiece as Studley did well to restrict the hosts to 207 all out having been 88-1 thanks to solid contributions from their top order.
However, Studley’s batting was again an issue as Kamran Hussain’s 4-52 left their reply in tatters at 76-6.
Ahmed made a battling 43 as he and Australian Dylan Smith put on 61 for the seventh wicket. However, 137-6 became 147 all out with four balls of the innings remaining, with Studley’s second-highest score being the 26 extras.