REDDITCH and Barnt Green will do battle in the final of the East Worcestershire T20 Cricket League after the pair clinched the top two places in the group on Wednesday evening.
In what would prove to be a dress rehearsal for the final, Barnt Green defeated the Kingfishers by seven runs in a thrilling final group game at Cherry Hill Road to claim top spot on nine points, ahead of second placed Redditch on eight who edged out Astwood Bank on nett run rate despite the latter’s 25-run win over visitors Studley.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Green posted an impressive 160-7 off 20 overs as skipper Ed Pollock led the way with 72 off just 55 balls, whilst overseas star Simon Mugava (33) and Tom Brown (30) added valuable support.
Young Harvey Chawner continued his excellent season by taking 3-23 off three overs and Tom Field also bowled well in taking 2-14 off two overs.
In reply Redditch lost both openers cheaply as Greg Chinn (10) and Field (7) departed but a magnificent 101-run partnership at significantly better than a run a ball between Russell Southwick (56) and skipper Stefan Jagielski (58) put the Kingfishers back in the match.
However, Barnt Green bounced back and two quick wickets saw the home side sneak home by seven runs as Redditch finished on 153-5 off 20 overs.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Droitwich secured a nine-wicket win over visitors Feckenham.
The final will take place on Thursday, July 10 at Bromsgrove CC where a large support from both clubs is expected.
IN WORCESTERSHIRE League action, Redditch Entaco suffered another frustrating weekend as heavy downpours curtailed home fixtures for both the 1st and 4ths. Both matches were abandoned without a ball being bowled as the Division One match at home to the then table-topping Colwall and Enville 4ths’ Division Nine visit to Entaco were washed out.
This coming Saturday first team skipper Perry Derrick will be looking for his side to build on their last league outing – which saw Redditch beat Bromyard – as the Kingfishers travel to Droitwich.
The Kingfishers are boosted by the availability of vice-captain and wicketkeeper Chris Weaver who has returned from holiday.
There was better news for the 2nds as Geoff Eley’s troops produced their best performance of the season to beat Division One leaders Colwall by 116 runs.
Redditch posted an imposing total of 263-6 off their 50 overs, largely thanks to Asif Mukhtar (71), Eley (55) and Chinn (36).
In reply Colwall struggled to gain any momentum as Redditch bowled superbly and held their catches and the home side were bowled out for just 147, with Chawner enjoying another good day with the ball as he took 3-56. Eley (2-44), Ash Freeman (2-21) and Ghulam Moyhuddin (1-25) were the other wicket-takers.
Droitwich are the visitors to Bromsgrove Road on Saturday and Redditch, who collected 24 points, go into the match in fifth place, just 16 points off top spot.
The 3rds travelled to Worcester Taverners in Division Seven but, after batting first, the match was abandoned due to heavy rain.
Redditch Entaco were bowled out for 172 on a wicket best described wicket as ‘very spicy’. Adam Freeman (39) and Dan Reeves (32) were the pick of the Kingfishers’ batting.
Worcester finished on 38-1 off just 7.3 overs, with Kevin Lokenath taking the solitary wicket. On Saturday returning skipper Mark Evans takes his boys to Hagley.
THE RAIN also ensured both Astwood Bank and Studley were left frustrated on Saturday.
Bank’s Birmingham League Division Three game at home to Sutton Coldfield was abandoned without a ball being bowled, as was Studley’s Warwickshire League Division One encounter at home to basement boys Atherstone Town.
On Saturday 11th placed Studley travel to Pak Shaheen, who are two places and 19 points above them, whilst eighth placed Bank visit fourth placed Streetly.