SENSATIONAL Cookley booked their place in the national stages of the Davidstow Village Knockout as they beat Bredon on Sunday.

The Wyre Forest outfit produced their best run since winning the cup in 1977.

After taking the scalps of Astwood Bank and Rushwick in previous rounds, they lost the toss and were put in on a slow wicket, making 150-7 from their 40 overs.

Losing the first three batsmen in the order for only 18 runs put the hosts on top but a half-century partnership between Adam Nicholls (32) and Mark Bennett steadied the ship for Cookley.

Bennett continued to take the attack to the Bredon bowlers and managed to find the boundary around a well-drilled fielding side.

He was well-supported by Ben Quinlan (14) and Adam Matthews (14 no) and when he finally perished after a superb 81-ball knock of 70, Cookley had a competitive total to bowl at.

The visitors had a dream start with seamer Gary Mills removing both openers cheaply and reducing Bredon to 3-2.

A half-century partnership then swung the pendulum back in the hosts’ favour, but after a short rain delay, Cookley got themselves back in the match thanks to the introduction of Bennett and stood at 69-3 of 25 overs.

Skipper Paul Thomas claimed the crucial wicket of top-scorer Martin Hill (50) but the hosts kept chipping away at the low total either side of a longer rain delay. However, when play re-started the tail panicked and Bredon only added 20 runs for the final six wickets, collapsing from 111-4 to 137 all out to give Cookley victory.

Bennett (3-44) and Thomas (3-23) were the pick of the bowling attack while opener Dan Soley returned to bowl the final batsman to spark the celebrations after a fine bowling and fielding display.

Cookley now move into the national stages of the competition and will now entertain Weekley and Warkton of Northamptonshire on Sunday, June 22 at Lea Lane, with a place in the last eight in the country at stake and sight of a dream final at Lord’s in September.

l Cookley entertain Coombs Wood in Worcestershire Division Two on Saturday (1pm start). Last weekend’s clash against Bewdley was rained off.

National stage: Astood Bank. Back Row left to right: Mark Bennett, Alex Roden, Adam Matthews, Jack Taylor, Gary Mills, Dan Soley, Nigel Ferrington. Front row: Charlie Barton, Stuart Nicholls, Paul Thomas (Captain), Adam Nicholls, Ben Quinlan.