REDDITCH Entaco got their Worcestershire League Premier Division title challenge back on track with a convincing six-wicket victory over Old Hill at Bromsgrove Road.
The stuttering Kingfishers had surrendered top spot in recent weeks but cemented third place – 18 points behind leaders Stourbridge – thanks to a strong all-round display which leaves them in good shape as they prepare to host second-placed Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday.
The victory was all the more impressive as Redditch were without the services of one of their key men – Ghulam Moyhuddin – missing due to a leg injury.
Old Hill were soon in trouble as they lost Zain Shahid first ball caught behind off Waqas Ali and Redditch continued to dominate the early stages as only former Warwickshire batsman Navdeep Poonia with 40 offered any resistance.
Redditch continued to take wickets and the visitors were reduced to 74-6 but Old Hill bounced back through talented all-rounder Zahid Kafiat who hit a fine 94 as Old Hill finished on 227-9 off their 50 overs.
Noman Mohammed enjoyed an excellent day with the ball as he took 3-37 off ten overs.
Redditch’s reply started in a very positive fashion as they put on 82 for the first wicket before Tom Field was first to go for 30.
Olly Mason continued to dominate the bowling attack and became the first Redditch player to score more than 50 this season, eventually falling for 77 as he was well supported by Russell Southwick (31) and Rizwan Mohammed (35).
Chris Brown took on the bowling attack to see the Kingfishers home in fine style with a blistering unbeaten 37 off 15 balls including three fours and three sixes.
The 2nds also returned to winning ways in Division Three with an excellent six-wicket victory at Kempsey.
The home side were dismissed for 178 as Chris Jones (67) and Will Colson (53) led from the front. Mo Zahid was the pick of the Kingfishers’ bowling as he took 3-12 and the evergreen James Bevan chipped in with 3-57.
Redditch struggled in reply as they lost early wickets but a match-winning partnership of 106 between Liam Phelan (65no) and Bevan (60no) saw the Kingfishers home in style.
Eighth-placed Redditch – just 25 points off second spot – travel to Avoncroft on Saturday.
The 3rds head into the top of the table clash with Stone in buoyant mood following a hammering of Pershore.
The Plums, bottom of Division Ten, were bowled out for just 47 as Harry Sharpe took six wickets for just four runs and Matt Mansfield claimed 3-9.
Redditch wasted no time in scoring the runs as Kevin Lokenath led the way with 21 and Dan Protherough chipped in with 18 in a seven-wicket win.
The 4ths went down by seven wickets against Bredon at the Entaco as they were bowled out for just 80 before the leaders cruised home. On Saturday the 4ths travel to Bredon.