STUART Wedge admits Himley’s defeat to Barnt Green was “hard to swallow” as their title hopes were all but extinguished.

After weeks of closing the gap on long-time Birmingham League leaders Walsall, Himley let them off the leash at the worst possible time as they crashed to a nine wicket defeat.

Walsall now require two points from their final game against Brockhampton and Wedge, whose side host Knowle and Dorridge, knows they now need a miracle.

He said: “In reality we know it is all over.

“All in all you look at the way Walsall have played and you have to say they are deserving champions.

“They have lost both their opening batsmen in recent weeks but others have stepped up and hit the runs.

“For us it’s so frustrating because the guys have worked so hard to keep clawing back the gap.

“It’s a really tough one to swallow. We have been playing so well and seemed to have the momentum.

“In that respect Saturday could not have gone any worse.”

Wedge was honest in his assessment of the defeat.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat in order to target a 24-point win, Himley lost opener Chris Tranter to the first ball of the match before crashing to 10-3.

Greg Wright (47) and Ben Smith (58 not out) led a recovery mission and some late hitting from Ashfak Hussain (36) got them up to a total of 186-8.

But Himley’s bowling attack failed to make any real impact as James Ord’s unbeaten 102 saw the hosts to victory.

Wedge added: “In all honesty I would have liked to have lost the toss and not had to decide.

“It’s not something we can think about too much, had I decided to bowl they might have gone on to score 300, you just don’t know.”