Report submitted by Worcestershire County League

As we enter the second half of the season, in the Premier Division Old Hill produced an excellent team bowling performance in the first innings to help beat third placed Old Elizabethans by six wickets at Haden Hill and Tom Underhill (102) fired a first innings century for Astwood Bank to help post a challenging first innings total that proved too many for fourth placed Bromyard to chase at Sambourne Lane.

These results, added to the news that leaders Stourbridge easily cast aside Bewdley at the War Memorial Ground by ten wickets and second placed Stourport-on-Severn enjoyed a similar type of victory against Worcester by eight wickets at Norton  Barracks the first noticeable break has happened at the top with the top form horses now thirty-seven and fifty four points ahead of the chasing pack.

On current form this will be a tough task for the other pretenders to overcome as the race for the play-off place begins more and more to look like a two horse race.

In other matches in the division Stephen Miles’ (5-20) first innings performance set up a win for Pershore against Colwall at Stowe Lane which closed the gap to fourth placed Bromyard to just one point and Brockhampton made the trip to Bromsgrove Road and walked away with a welcome thirty run victory against Redditch thanks largely to contributions from Will Tanner (77) in the first innings and an excellent second innings bowling performance by Sebastian Allison (7-37).

Results could not have gone any better for leaders Droitwich Spa on Saturday as they extended their lead at the top of Division One by winning a close encounter against Hagley by just one wicket at Hagley Hall.

Second placed Feckenham were beaten by Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social thanks largely to an excellent first innings bowling performance by Rhys Williams (5-33) and third placed Worcester Nomads also lost by seventy three runs against Lye for whom Nasar Ali (83*) made an excellent first innings contribution.

Elsewhere, Ombersley 2nd XI took the opportunity to move back in to third place after Ben Hallam (5-19) helped dismiss Belbroughton cheaply in the first innings to set up an eight wicket win at Hackman’s Gate Lane.

Coombs Wood moved in to mid division by beating Chaddesley Corbett by thirteen runs in a low scoring game at Longmore and Harry Sockett (79) scored a first innings half century in Burghill, Tillington & Weobley’s win against  Pedmore which closed the gap to safety at the foot of the table.

In Division Two Barnt Green 2nd XI were conceded to by Cookley, a result that consequently extended their lead to thirty one points over Himley 2nd XI who moved back in to second position after Adam Passmore (72) made a telling second innings contribution to help beat Netherton by five wickets at Highbridge Road and both of last weeks joint second placed teams Kidderminster 2nd XI lost by thirty eight runs to Bromsgrove 2nd XI and Astwood Bank 2nd XI lost to Bredon by seven wickets.

In other matches in the division, Enville beat Himbleton by ten wickets at Enville Hall and Halesowen 2nd XI beat Barnards Green 2nd XI by four wickets at Seth Somers Park to move in to eight just thirty points behind the promotion places with all still, to play for in a division that is proving one of the closest of all.

In Division Three Alvechurch & Hopwood moved thirteen points clear at the top after beating Rushwick by eight wickets at the Alf Tolley Memorial Ground and Harborne 3rd XI were replaced in second position by Bartestree & Lugwardine who beat the Birmingham based outfit by eighty runs following excellent first innings contributions from Andy Jones (83) and Ryan Trattell (56).

Elsewhere, despite excellent match contributions by Alex Richardson (5-19) in the first innings and Dan Elliott (62) who struck a second innings half century Avoncroft were beaten by twenty one runs at the Jewry Field by Martley who are fourth. Ed Burgoyne (70) bludgeoned a quickfire half century at the top of the innings four other Old Vigornians batsmen contributed half centuries in a big win against Worcester 2nd XI at the Kings School. Old Hill 2nd XI grabbed an important two wicket win against Old Elizabethans 2nd XI at Neel Park and Brockhampton 2nd XI beat Redditch 2nd XI by seven wickets to keep it cosy at the bottom as just seventeen points cover teams in six to eleventh place with Worcester 2nd XI a further twenty four points adrift at the bottom in need of an about turn in form.

Netherton 2nd XI continue to lead the way in Division Four after beating Five Ways Old Edwardians by eight wickets at the Masshouse. They remain twenty eight points clear of Stourbridge 2nd XI for whom Ali Rashid (123*) scored an undefeated first innings century in a comprehensive win against Bewdley 2nd XI at Lower Park with Coombs Wood 2nd XI a further nine points adrift in third after Naeem Abbas’ (134) telling first innings contribution helped set up a win against Chaddesley Corbett 2nd XI.

In other matches in the division, Stourport-on-Severn 2nd XI beat Lye 2nd XI convincingly to move in to mid division, Romsley & Hunnington secured a welcome six wicket win against Bromsgrove 3rd XI at the Hedges Ground and Imran Wahid (81*) compiled an undefeated second innings half century to lead Pershore 2nd XI home to a much needed victory by eight wickets against Eastnor at the Bottoms.