FOUR teams enjoyed maximum point wins on the first day of the Worcestershire County League Premier Division season.

Following the changes to the league structure within the West Midlands region, the new linear divisional format meant an early start to fixtures to ensure a the new promotional play-off competition between the four County Premier Division Champions from across the region can be incorporated in mid-September, which in turn will produce the two teams who gain promotion to the new Birmingham & District Regional Premier Cricket League.

Chaddesley Corbett find themselves being first week leaders on runs per wicket differential after they made the short trip to Worcester to play former Birmingham League side Old Elizabethans and came away with a convincing 138 run victory.

After losing the toss and being put into bat. the visitors thanks to a man of the match performance from Waqas Ahmed (75 & 5-24) and fine contributions from Bilal Hassan (57* & 3-22) and Mohammad Sajid (54) posted an excellent 263-5 in the first innings, a total which proved to be beyond the home teams reach as the visitors attack took control of the innings following a bright 49 run opening partnership by the home team to eventually seal a hard earned win off the penultimate ball of the innings when Bilal Hassan castled last man Rowan Upton.

Highly fancied Pershore lie second after an excellent bowling performance secured a comfortable win in the South Worcestershire derby against local rivals Evesham at the Bottoms. After being inserted the home team battled hard in bowler friendly conditions (in which Adnan Sagheer impressed for the visitors with 5-32) to post a challenging first innings total of 205-9 which proved far too many for Evesham to chase as the home teams opening bowling partnership Stephen Miles (4-26) and Andrew Hill (4-35) produced a sustained twenty over spell at the beginning of the second innings to secure a comfortable maximum point win.

In a battle of former Birmingham League clubs, Redditch earned what could be a crucial maximum point win at highly-fancied Old Hill.

After losing the toss and being inserted at Haden Hill, the visitors struggled to cope with ex-Warwickshire seamer Naqaash Tahir who picked up an excellent 6-37 to restrict the visitors to what looked like a gettable total of 150. However, the Old Hill second innings never really got going as Waqas Ali (6-25) led a spirited Redditch bowling performance which saw the home team slump to 30-7 before eventually being dismissed sixty three runs short of the target.

The final maximum points win came at Norton Barracks where Luke Deeprose (6-49) helped Worcester eventually skittle visitors Astwood Bank after an excellent 10th wicket partnership between Dan Taylor and Dan Thomas held up proceedings by lifting the visitors from 51-9 to 126 all out. The final wicket pair then continued the fight in the second innings as they shared four wickets to reduce the home team to 60-7 but could not stop a determined Worcester from getting over the line following a fine unbroken 8th wicket partnership between Clark Knapton and Zain Hussain led the home side to a hard fought victory in a low scoring chase on what would have been a slow and tricky early season pitch to score on.

Two other teams enjoyed victories on the opening day. Last year’s Worcestershire County League Champions Bewdley were the first team to actually post a win in the new competition. After winning the toss at Lower Park and deciding to bowl first, again in bowler friendly conditions, their impressive bowling attack led by new recruit Luke Courtney (5-11) ensured the home team wrapped the game up by 4:15 pm as they routed visitors Feckenham for a meagre sixty three in the first innings to gain a twenty point victory by a comfortable seven wicket margin.

Stourport were the final team to post victory in a nail biter at Walshes Meadow. After winning the toss and inserting another fancied side Stourbridge the home team bowled and fielded well throughout the first innings to eventually dismiss the visitors for 158 all out. Stourbridge led by Dan Wale (4-37) then fought hard to defend the total in the second innings which ebbed and flowed as wickets fell regularly and would have thought themselves to be slight favourites when they reduced the home team to 121-8 on a typical English early season surface that proved challenging to score on. However, in the final twist of a topsy-turvy match, home captain Craig Siwicki and eighteen year old Charlie Foley produced a fine forty-two run ninth wicket partnership to frustrate the visitors and seal a hard earned twenty point victory with an over to spare.