In the Worcestershire County League Premier Division, after beating Stourbridge CC 1st XI last week, second placed Stourport-on-Severn CC 1st XI again showed the inconsistency that has troubled them throughout the season as they lost at home to Astwood Bank 1st XI, a result that helped Stourbridge CC 1st XI move back in to second position after Jujhar Johal (137) continued his fine season to help post too many for Brockhampton 1st XI to chase at the Parks.

This all meant that leaders Old Hill 1st XI were able to extend their lead to what looks like being an insurmountable twenty five points after Aamir Manzoor (5-25) helped set up a comfortable victory with an excellent opening spell in the first innings against Redditch CC 1st XI at their Bromsgrove Road ground.

Elsewhere in the division, Pershore CC 1st XI beat Old Elizabethans CC 1st XI at the Bottoms but are too far behind now to mount a serious challenge, however with Bromsgrove CC 1st XI looking odds on to be relegated from the Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League, Premier Division Two into teh Worcestershire Premier League there will be a scenario that means three teams will need to be relegated if our Play Off representatives (potential favourites Old Hill 1st XI) fail to qualify.

With this in mind, basement side Droitwich Spa 1st XI although recording a positive result against Bromyard 1st XI on Saturday will need a miracle to survive and the other team in the relegation zone, Chaddesley Corbett 1st XI also look doomed after losing a crucial game to Worcester Nomads 1st XI. Whilst it would be cruel if any of the other teams sitting above the relegation zone were also to be relegated it now becomes a real possibility which means teams like Brockhampton 1st XI who are currently tenth (160 pts), Redditch 1st XI who are currently ninth (164 pts), Worcester Nomads, eighth (164 pts) and even Bromyard 1st XI who are seventh with 180 pts will need to apply full steam ahead for the remaining matches of the season to ensure they are not the unlucky ones when all is said and done.

The top four teams in Division One all posted wins, but it now looks like the top two will be extremely difficult to catch as they are forty three points ahead of third placed Ombersley 2nd XI who brushed aside bottom side Bromsgrove 3rd XI by 5 wickets with Worcester 1st XI a further four points behind in fourth after recording a four wicket win against Barnt Green 3rd XI.

Raja Jahanzeb (123*) helped leaders Lye 1st XI guarantee promotion as they posted too many in the first innings for Halesowen 2nd XI to chase, a win that took them sixty one points clear of third place with just three matches remaining. Pedmore 1st XI remained less than a win away in second when Paul Taylor (4-20) and Dan Hickman (4-34) shared eight second innings wickets between them to help record a comfortable win against Bewdley 1st XI to keep their title hopes alive and kicking.

Elsewhere, Rhodri Jones (79*) helped steer Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 1st XI to a nine wicket win against Coombs Wood 1st XI, who will need another win to be safe and Hagley 1st XI beat Colwall 1st XI by a wide margin which maintained their mid division status and left Colwall battling for survival in tenth place, twenty points clear of Barnt Green with just three matches to go.

It was all change at the top of Division Two as leaders Alvechurch & Hopwood 1st XI were well beaten by a seven wicket margin by Netherton 1st XI, a result that enabled both Himley 2nd XI who comfortably beat Harborne 3rd XI thanks to healthy contributions from Matt Bowen (94) and Chad Brandrick (65) move back to the top and Bartestree & Lugwardine 1st XI move back in to second after beating visitors Oldswinford 1st XI in a low scoring match. The top three are clear of the chasing pack, and now, separated by just fifteen points the title and promotion race will be between these three. An enthralling climax awaits.

In other matches in the division Bredon 1st XI beat Kidderminster 2nd XI by four wickets. Jamie Brighton (94) led Cookley1st XI to a comfortable win against Enville 1st XI and basement side Redditch 2nd XI left it too late as they beat Astwood Bank 2nd XI by seven wicket but will still be relegated alongside one other from three which include Enville 1st XI, Kidderminster 2nd XI and most probably Harborne 3rd XI who need to win all three and hope the other two slip up.

Division Three leaders Barnards Green 2nd XI continued on their path of consistency by recording a nine wicket victory against Old Vigornians 1st XI which means they need one more win to guarantee promotion and Old Vigornians will most probably need to win all three remaining matches to survive. However, last week’s second placed team Belbroughton 1st XI chose the wrong time of the season to have a wobble as they were comprehensively beaten by Himbleton 1st XI which in turn helped both Lye 2nd XI (who beat Brockhampton 2nd XI by a wide margin at home) to leap frog them in to the promotion places and the dangerous Netherton 2nd XI who draw level on points in fourth after beating Feckenham 1st XI in a high scoring match at Highbridge Road in which Artesham Waqar (101) scored a first innings century for Netherton 2nd XI.

In other matches in the division, Old Elizabethans 2nd XI also remained in the promotion race just eleven points off second place after recording a three wicket win against Avoncroft 1st XI and Martley 1st XI moved further away from danger after beating Stourbridge 2nd XI who now find themselves in the relegation zone, three points behind Feckenham with it all to do to avoid the drop.

The race for the title and promotion is still very much alive in Division Four with favourites Stourport-on-Severn 2nd XI, after beating West Malvern 1st XI, holding a twenty eight point lead over second placed Worcester Nomads 2nd XI who maintained their position with a win against Claverley 1st XI (who dropped to fifth place as a result). Rushwick 1st XI are just six points adrift in third place after they continued their challenge by beating Romsley & Hunnington 1ss XI in a high scoring match at the Alf Tolley Memorial Ground in which Chris Moberley (93) helped the home team post a big first innings total which Charlie Tromans (127) threatened whilst he was at the crease for the visitors in an enthralling game that was in the balance for the most part.

Elsewhere, Old Hill 2nd XI moved in to fourth place, just five points behind Rushwick and eleven points off the promotion places after beating Coombs Wood 2nd XI by thirteen runs at Haden Hill. Five Ways Old Edwardians 1st XI beat Chaddesley Corbett 2nd XI by a ten wicket margin to leave Chaddesley in serious danger of the drop and Bromsgrove 3rd XI recorded an important win against Harborne 4th XI who are in tenth position just seventeen points ahead of Chaddesley.

In Division Five It continues to look like Droitwich Spa 2nd XI (who beat Colwall 1st XI) and Worcester 2nd XI (who comprehensively beat Astwood Bank 2nd XI) will be the two teams promoted as they now retain a forty one point gap over third placed Hagley 2nd XI who chased down Eastnor 1st XIs first innings total to win by five wickets despite the best efforts of Josh Emery (194) who fell just six short of double century in the first innings for Eastnor and Pershore 2nd XI who sit a further four points adrift in fourth position after beating Pedmore 2nd XI by a wide margin.

In other matches in the division, Kevin McMillan (96) helped Malvern 1st XI post too many for Stourbridge to chase in their match at the War Memorial Ground, a result that leaves Stourbridge 2nd XI in the relegation zone after Barnt Green 3rd XI found an important eight wicket win against Bewdley 2nd XI.

In Division Six the top three sides, Hanley Castle & Upton 1st XI, Tenbury Wells 1st XI and Bromyard 2nd XI all suffered defeats against Kempsey 1st XI, Claverley 2nd XI and Cutnall Green 1st XI respectively which means that the status quo at the top remains but with less of a gap to fourth placed Belbroughton 2nd XI who beat Kidderminster 3rd XI by sixty runs to retain the faint hope of a promotion place despite being over thirty points behind.

Elsewhere in the division, Harry Byrne (5-12) helped Halesowen 3rd XI beat Alveley 1st XI who remain thirty points clear of Enville 2nd XI who are now in a real battle just one point above the relegation zone after losing by five wickets to bottom side Old Vigornians 2nd XI who are level on points with Kempsey after their unexpected win against leaders Hanley Castle & Upton.

After recording their thirteenth win of the season against Harborne 5th XI on Saturday, Himley CC 3rd XI need to win just one of their remaining three matches to secure the Division Seven (North) title and promotion.

The Black Country outfit currently hold what must be an unassailable forty six point lead over Cookhill 1st XI for whom Oliver Hills (105) scored a first innings century in their comprehensive win against Feckenham 2nd XI.

Elsewhere in the division, there were wins for Halesowen 4th XI who beat Kidderminster 4th XI, Romsley & Hunnington 2nd XI who beat Five Ways Old Edwardians 2nd XI, Bromsgrove 4th XI who beat Oldswinford 2nd XI and finally, Alvechurch & Hopwood 2nd XI who beat Stone 1st XI by a seven wicket margin.

In Division Seven (South) leaders Harvington 1st XI require just one more win from their three remaining matches to win the title after seeing off Bartestree & Lugwardine 2nd XI by a wide margin on Saturday. Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 2nd XI remain in second pace after sealing a convincing win against Worcester 3rd XI at Brick House Farm.

In other matches in the division there were victories for third placed Birlingham 1st XI who beat Rushwick 2nd XI by seven wickets, Ombersley 3rd XI who beat Barnards Green 3rd XI by over one hundred runs and Stourport-on-Severn 3rd XI who beat Old Elizabethans 3rd XI to move thirty seven points clear of Martley 2nd XI who had a free week and need to return in top form next week if they are to avoid the drop.

Report submitted by Worcestershire County League