BUOYANT Astwood Bank are gunning for more league and cup success on an action-packed weekend at the Bank Bowl.
Saturday (noon) pits Steve Adshead’s third placed Bank against second placed Stourbridge in Birmingham League Division Three, before 24 hours later the Sambourne Lane outfit host Fillongley in the last 16 of the National Village Cup (1pm).
Bank are within 17 points of leaders Lichfield after Saturday’s tense 17-run victory at Nuneaton and are also three victories away from what would be the club’s third visit to Lord’s in the National Village Cup after previous appearances at HQ in 1972 and 2003.
Bank spokesman Jason Adams said: “There’s a lot of excitement at the club. With the league table being so tight, promotion really is anyone’s at the moment, but we’re in good form and are very much looking upwards.
“The league is always your bread and butter of course, but there’s no denying there’s something special about the Village Cup. Bank have got a good pedigree in the competition having been to Lord’s twice previously and the players are buzzing.
“We had a crowd of around 400 for our victory over Milford Hall in the previous round and the atmosphere was electric. It really inspired the players and, with the weather appearing to be favourable, we are hoping for an even bigger turnout this time around.
“Our 4th team captain Tom Prescott will again be providing a splendid barbecue and we will have the bar open all day, whilst there will also be a bottle bar for those less keen to queue.
“There’s obviously a lot of cricket to be played yet, but to reach Lord’s this year would be very fitting given all the hard work which has gone into building the new clubhouse and pavilion.
“Fillongley play two divisions below us, so we have a great opportunity on Sunday, but our players will not be underestimating anyone.”
Among those hoping to play in Sunday’s encounter are Pete ‘Jock’ Alexander and Alex ‘Robbo’ Robinson, who both featured in the 2003 final, and Paul Daws, who was 12th man at Lord’s in 2003.
Bank claimed a vital sixth league win of the season on Saturday, but were made to work hard by bottom side Nuneaton.
The hosts won the toss and elected to field and their decision looked a good one as three of the Bank top four were dismissed without scoring.
Skipper Adshead made 28 and Tom Underhill 31 but the visitors’ total of 131 meant Nuneaton were on course for their first victory of the campaign.
However, the home side’s reply was left in tatters as their top seven made just 30 between them with Tom Harris (2-17), Joel Haslam (3-7) and Ryan Blakemore (4-17) ran riot.
There was still almost a sting in the tail thanks to the efforts of number ten batsman Paul Rowe who crashed a hard-hitting 46, but he was bowled by Haslam in the 40th over to leave Nuneaton all out for 114.