Report submitted by Worcestershire County League

In the Worcestershire County League Premier Division it was the clash of the titans as the top two teams met for the first time this season at Walshes Meadow where second placed Stourport-on-Severn welcomed leaders Stourbridge. After winning the toss the home team decided to insert the visitors who made a respectable first innings total of (190-9) on a pitch that normally produces high scoring affairs. With the match in the balance at the halfway stage an inspired performance was required from someone and that someone proved to be away team spinner Dominic O’Reilly (5-22) who produced a match winning second innings spell for Stourbridge who left with the spoils to go twenty-nine points clear at the top.

In form Bromyard took full advantage of Stourport’s slip up to leap frog them into second place (by one point) after securing an impressive win on the road against a strong Pershore outfit at the Bottoms. Ian Bullock (119) posted an excellent century for Bromyard which allowed the visitors to post a first innings total that eventually proved too challenging for Pershore despite the best efforts of Andrew Hill (78*) who struck a quickfire half century late on which provided some faint hope.

Elsewhere in the division Jack Taylor (4-24) helped fourth placed Old Elizabethans keep up with the pace as they beat Brockhampton by thirty three runs at the Parks, Astwood Bank beat Worcester by six wickets to move in to mid division and Redditch and Old Hill found the win/lose format more to their liking as they both secured their first wins of the season against Bewdley (who remain bottom) and Colwall respectively.

In Division One Droitwich Spa maintained their excellent start to the season as Max Young (51*) compiled an undefeated second innings half century to steer his side home to a six wicket win at Burghill, Tillington & Weobley who remain bottom. This win keeps them just three points clear of Feckenham who also continued their impressive start to the season with a win against Hagley at Mill Lane. After Fady Jadayel (5-34) had skittled Feckenham for a meagre eighty-seven in the first innings the East Worcestershire outfit must have feared the worst but an excellent second innings team bowling performance saw them dismiss the visitors for just sixty seven to seal a seventeen run victory in a low scoring encounter.

In other matches in the division Ombersley 2nd XI closed the gap between third and fourth place after sealing a forty five run win against fast starters Worcester Nomads at Whitegates Farm. Zeeshan Ahmed (6-22) helped Chaddesley Corbett to an impressive win against Lye at Longmore to ensure they remain in mid division and in touch. A first innings half century form Mark Burrows (58*) and an excellent second innings team bowling performance spearheaded by Richard Boardman (4-33) helped Belbroughton beat Pedmore by forty runs and Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social look as though they may have a better time of it playing the win/lose format as they secured their first win of the season by beating visiting Coombs Wood by four wickets at Albemarle Road..

It’s tight at the top of Division Two with just twelve points separating the top six teams.

Last week’s leaders Cookley were beaten by a wide margin at Chester Road as Alex Rennie (4-22) returned excellent figures for Kidderminster 2nd XI for the second week running.

This defeat allowed Barnt Green 2nd XI (who beat Halesowen 2nd XI by five wickets at Seth Somers Park) and Himley CC 2nd XI (who defeated Barnards Green at North End Lane thanks to an excellent first innings return from Oliver Siviter (6-21) to move into first and second places respectively.

Elsewhere, Astwood Bank 2nd XI dismissed Himbleton cheaply to go fifth, Bromsgrove 3rd XI beat last weeks second placed side Bredon (who slip to sixth) and Netherton started the win/lose format matches off well by beating Enville to claim their first win of the season which takes them out of the bottom two.

In Division Three, after making a fantastic start to the season leaders Alvechurch & Hopwood had their wings clipped for the first time this season as Avoncroft made the short trip to their Birmingham Road ground and won by five wickets after dismissing a previously in form batting line up for just over one hundred in the first innings.

Another team to hit the wall were third placed Worcester 2nd XI who failed to start the win/lose format as they would have wished when they were comfortably beaten by eight wickets at Norton Barracks by visiting by Redditch for whom Haleem Basharatt (5-15) was the main protagonist for the visitors as his impressive first innings figures put the breaks on the home team who failed to post a good enough target to challenge the visitors. This defeat helped Harborne 3rd XI move in to third position after Joe Day (4-17) posted excellent first innings figures at Haden Hill to help his team to a four wicket win against Old Hill 2nd XI (who slip to fifth).

In other matches in the division Martley moved into fourth place after beating Old Elizabethans 2nd XI by thirty seven runs at Neel Park despite the best efforts of Louis Dear (7-64) who returned excellent first innings figures for the home team. Rushwick, thanks to another batting performance full of responsibility and endeavour from the impressive Jamie Oliver (67) picked up their second win of the season when they beat Brockhampton 2nd XI by five wickets at the Alf Tolley Memorial Ground and Andy Rogers (88*) led Bartestree & Lugwardine to their first win of the season against Old Vigornians who are in of need a win quickly to arrest their recent slide.

Taimur Ali (81), Ahtesham Waqar (75) and Arslan Iqbal (70) all made excellent first innings contributions to ensure Netherton 2nd XI posted a total just shy of four hundred against Chaddesley Corbett 2nd XI to stay at the summit of Division Four. They now enjoy a twenty eight point lead over the chasing pack and will be very difficult to catch if they keep posting big first innings totals in the one day win/lose format.

Stourbridge 2nd XI thanks to excellent contributions in each innings from Nabeel Ali (4-35) and Ali Rashid (61) moved into second spot after beating Bromsgrove 3rd XI by seven wickets at the War Memorial Ground. Coombs Wood 2nd XI also climbed the table and find themselves in third place after batting first and just holding off Stourport-on-Severn to win by nine runs in a tight affair at the Home Ground.

Elsewhere, James Hamilton (65) helped Five Ways Old Edwardians post a first innings total that proved too many for visiting Pershore 2nd XI to chase despite the best efforts of Adnan Wahid (99) for the visitors. Raheel Lone (73) and Mohammed Munir (61) scored second innings half centuries for Eastnor in their seven wicket win against Bewdley 2nd XI at Lower Park and Asim Raza (92) and Saud Ahmed (63) both delivered excellent first innings contributions for Lye 2nd XI as they beat Romsley & Hunnington by seven runs in a high scoring match in which Charles Tromans (86*) and Ed Holland (58) made excellent second innings contributions in what ultimately turned out to be a losing cause.

It was a total return to cricket in our top five divisions as for the first time since week three all matches produced conclusive results. All is still very much to play for across all of our top divisions as the win/lose format which tends to produce a lot of movement comes to the forefront.

In Division Five Rupert Grainger (95) and Tom Grainger (5-15 & 64*) ensured Claverley made it six wins out of seven (with one abandoned) when they swept aside visiting Colwall 2nd XI by 9 wickets at Love Lane. This win puts them thirty four clear at the top as last weeks second placed team Halesowen 3rd XI were beaten by a twelve run margin by Droitwich Spa 3rd XI at St. Peter’s Field.

This defeat allowed Harborne 4th XI to move in to the promotion places after Mohammed Tausif (74*) compiled an excellent undefeated second innings half century which helped beat Worcester Nomads 2nd XI by three wickets at the Knott’s Ground.

Elsewhere, Malvern moved in to fourth place with a comprehensive win against basement side Kempsey, Aaron Dickens (95) and Ryan Field (76) fired Kidderminster 3rd XI to victory against West Malvern for whom Charles Bevan (108) contributed a second innings half century in defeat and Astwood Bank 3rd XI moved away from the relegation places by beating Hanley Castle & Upton at Hanbury despite the best efforts of Neil Duffy (5-27) who returned excellent first innings figures for the visitors.

It’s a bit tighter at the top in Division Six with the top five teams separated by just eighteen points.

Last weeks leaders Bromyard 2nd XI suffered a heavy defeat at home at the hands of Barnt Green 3rd XI. Captain Fred Hanson (89) and Tariq Malakhel (5-6) were the stand out performers for the Green as they swept aside their challengers by a wide margin.

Rizwan Ashraf (62) and Ian Robinson (4-8) ensured Old Vigornians 2nd XI took full advantage of the Bromyard slip up as they both made telling contributions in each innings to ensure victory against Pedmore 2nd XI which took them to the summit. Belbroughton 2nd XI moved in to fourth spot with a win against Enville 2nd XI at Hackmans Gate Lane and Ben Hopkins (71*) led Himley 3rd XI home against Oldswinford and Stourbridge Social 2nd XI to move in to mid division.

In other matches in the division Stourbridge 3rd XI beat Alveley convincingly to move further away from the bottom two, whilst the game of the day took place at Hagley Hall where, after being nine wickets down, forty seven runs from an unlikely target Hagley 2nd XI inspired by number eleven batsman Tom Cunningham (37* of twenty balls) contributed over 80% of the runs in an unbroken 46 run 10th wicket partnership which earned the home team an unlikely and tie which must have been a pulsating watch for all involved.

In Division Seven, leaders Cleobury Mortimer easily beat visiting Rushwick 2nd XI by six wickets to stay level on points at the top with Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 2nd XI for whom Clive Chadhani (68 & 6-21) starred with both bat and ball in victory against Cookley 2nd XI.

Evesham moved up the table in to fourth place after Muhammad Tahir-Mirza (63) compiled a second innings half century that played a big part in their four wicket win against Cutnall Green. A win that puts them just two points behind Ombersley 3rd XI who were unfortunately abandoned without a ball being bowled against Bartestree & Lugwardine 2nd XI., and two teams to win and pull away from the relegation zone were Birlingham who beat Kidderminster 4th XI at home and Bromsgrove 4th XI who beat basement side Feckenham 2nd XI at the Hedges Ground.

In the Regional Divisions, Claverley 2nd XI are top of the Division Eight (North) table after beating Romsley & Hunnington 2nd XI at Romsley. They are one point clear of Himley 5th XI who comfortably overcame Alveley 2nd XI by nine wickets and Halesowen 4th XI who also won by nine wickets, this time against Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social 3rd XI in a low scoring match at the Earls High School.

In other matches Stourbridge 4th XI also remained in touch with the leaders by beating Enville 3rd XI by six wickets and Ahsan Zaman (73) helped Netherton 3rd XI post a total that proved far to many for Harborne 5th XI to chase

In Division Eight (East) Redditch Entaco 3rd XI and Alvechurch & Hopwood 2nd XI are joint top after securing comfortable wins against Astwood Bank 4th XI and Buffalo Barnstormers respectively .These two teams are just eight points clear of last week’s leaders Harborne 6th Xi who lost to Cookhill 2nd XI and last week’s second placed team Avoncroft 2nd XI who were also defeated by Himbleton 2nd XI for whom Tom Godwin (77) and Martyn Preece (51*) made telling second innings contributions that helped them claim their first win of the season and finally the match between Old Halesonians and Five Ways was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to a waterlogged surface.

There is a similar story occurring in Division Eight (South) as three teams are at the top, equal on points after the first five matches.

Craig Witheford (146*) continued his impressive early season form to help Harvington post a huge first innings total which proved far too many for Hanley Castle & Upton 2nd XI to chase, Tony Rees (131*) complied an excellent first innings century which helped Old Elizabethans 3rd XI to a win against Bredon 2nd XI and youngsters Callum Morris (60) and Indiana Jerrum (52) both compiled first innings half centuries to ensure Barnards Green 3rd XI stay level on points at the top.

Elsewhere, Worcester 3rd XI beat Malvern 2nd XI comfortably to stay in touch in fourth spot and Kempsey 2nd XI sealed their first win of the season as Jaswinder Singh (85) and Faisal Zaib (76) both contributed first innings half centuries in a comprehensive win against Bosbury which helped them climb out of the relegation zone.

Tenbury Wells are the pace setters in Division Eight (West) as they gained their third win of the season against Chaddesley Corbett 3rd XI at Penlu. This win puts them fifteen points clear of Martley 2nd XI who beat Stone and Highley who beat Hagley 3rd XI by four wickets at Blakedown.

In other matches in the division Old Elizabethans 4th XI grabbed their first win of the season at Moffatts School against basement side Bewdley 3rd XI and Droitwich Spa 3rd XI moved out of the relegation zone with a win at Hallow Taverners.

Himley 5th XI are top of Regional Division Nine (North) after beating Lye 3rd XI by six wickets. They are now fifteen points clear of Coombs Wood 3rd XI for whom Andy Price (79*) scored a second innings undefeated half century in their victory against Halesowen 5th XI, whilst in the other match in the group Old Hill 3rd XI moved in to third place after beating Belbroughton by seventy runs.

Himley 6th XI have also started the season well enough to be the current leaders in Division Nine (East). Keane Gutteridge (111) was the hero at the weekend as his fine first innings century helped set up the win at home against a spirited Redditch Entaco 4th XI who fell just seventeen runs short of the target as Richard Turley-Salmons (5-27) finished with excellent figures for the home team.

Two teams level on points just five points behind the leaders are Old Halesonians 2nd XI who picked up their second win in four matches against Feckenham 3rd XI and Astwood Bank 5th XI who lost by concession to Five Ways Old Edwardians 3rd XI.

In Division Nine (South) Bromyard 3rd XI lead the way on fifty points after sealing a comfortable eight wicket win against Malvern 3rd XI. Sam Jones (65) ensured Worcester Nomads 3rd XI stayed up with the pace as his first innings half century helped the Nomads to compile a first innings score which proved too many for Colwall 4th XI to chase at the Cinderella Ground and in the other match in the division Eastnor 2nd XI beat Tenbury Wells 2nd XI at home to secure their first win of the season which helped them move in to fourth place.

In Division Nine (West) last week’s leaders Rushwick 3rd XI were forced to concede to Stourport-on-Severn 4th XI due to lack of numbers during holiday week which means the later leap frogged the former to the top of the table. Droitwich Spa 4th XI beat Bredon 3rd XI by 10 wickets to move into third place and the match against Pershore 4th XI and Worcester 4th XI was abandoned because the ground at Spetchley Park is still waterlogged and unfit to play.