Report submitted by Worcestershire County League

Following the first two weeks of bright sunshine and warm conditions some localised heavy overnight downpours and unpredictable squally showers throughout the day meant that week three was the first week to be influenced by the change in weather pattern and temperatures.

Dan Wale (7-21) ensured he made the most of the helpful bowling conditions as he helped Stourbridge take full advantage of last week’s leaders Stourport’s misfortune of having their match cancelled due to a Covid-19 occurrence at Brockhampton last week, as his first innings haul helped the Glassboys beat local rivals Old Hill by three wickets at Haden Hill, a win that catapulted them to the top of the Premier Division level on points with Bromyard who made the short trip to Stowe Lane to play Colwall and edged home in a low scoring match after Gregory Leighton (5-49) & David Taylor (4-51) shared nine second innings wickets in a twenty three run victory.

Sam Harn (6-39) made sure Old Elizabethans kept up with the early season pace setters as his first innings return laid the foundations for a comfortable seven wicket win at Sambourne Lane against Astwood Bank. The win takes them in to third place level, four points behind the leaders and level on points with Stourport who picked up twelve points for their cancelled match. Elsewhere, Paddy Thompson (4-26 & 46*) starred with bat and ball for Pershore in their eight-wicket win at Redditch which saw them move in to fifth spot and Worcester grabbed their first win of the season at Lower Park against Bewdley who are still looking for that elusive first win.

In Division One Kamran Abbasi (79* & 5-29) produced the individual performance of the day for Feckenham as his all -round contribution led the East Worcestershire outfit to their third victory in a row, a comfortable nine wicket win at Mill Lane against visiting Coombs Wood. This win helped them march to the top of the table level on points with Worcester Nomads who continued their early season good form by picking up their third win of the season when they beat visiting Burghill, Tillington & Weobley by fifty two runs at Whitegates Farm and last week’s table toppers Droitwich Spa ensured they kept up the pace by bowling out Chaddesley Corbett cheaply in the first innings to set up a routine five wicket win in a low scoring match at Longmore.

In other matches in the division three teams secured their second victories of the season in varying ways. Ombersley 2nd XI moved into fourth place after winning the toss and inserting Hagley and chasing down their first innings total for the loss of five wickets at Hagley Park. Pedmore are next in fifth thanks largely to the experienced Jonathan Smith (63*) who led his team to a three wicket win over Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social at Pedmore Hall Lane as he carried his bat throughout the second innings as wickets regularly fell around him to finish undefeated with his son Jacob at the other end and Lye jumped in to mid division after making the short journey to Hackmans Gate Lane where they beat Belbroughton by three wickets in another low scoring contest.

In Division Two Bredon remain at the summit after securing a winning draw against Himley 2nd XI in a rain affected match at Hill Close. The South Worcestershire outfit are just one point ahead of Cookley who beat Netherton by nine wickets after bowling the home team out cheaply at Highbridge Road.

Barnt Green 2nd XI are third after getting the better of Bromsgrove 2nd XI at Cherry Hill Road, Kidderminster 2nd XI moved in to fourth spot after recovering quickly from their narrow defeat last week by beating Barnards Green 2nd XI at Chester Road thanks to an unbeaten second innings half century from captain James Williams (51*). Astwood Bank 2nd XI climbed in to fifth after securing a win against Enville by six wickets at Enville Hall and Jack Myers (60) fired a second innings half century to ensure Halesowen 2nd XI finished on the winning side as they beat visitors Himbleton by a four wicket margin at Seth Somers Park.

In Division Three newly promoted Alvechurch & Hopwood made it three wins out of three by beating Worcester 2nd XI by two wickets at Norton Barracks in what looked on paper to be an excellent match. They remain the only side in the division to win their first three games which means they now twenty points clear at the summit.

Another promoted team, Harborne 3rd XI sit in second position after winning a tight affair at the Memorial Ground against Old Elizabethans 2nd XI who were bowled out in the second innings just six runs short of the required total , Martley sit in third just two points behind Harborne 3rd XI after scoring their third winning draw of the season, this time against Redditch 2nd XI at the Jewry Field. In a rain reduced match Martley posted an excellent first innings total thanks to a fine first innings half century from Simon Van Tongeren (80), then after the second innings was shortened by a heavy downpour Redditch clung on to the losing draw finishing eight wickets down well short of the target finishing eight wickets down well short of the first innings target.

Elsewhere in the division, in another rain affected match Joe Pritchard (83) fired a first innings half century that eventually earned Brockhampton 2nd XI a winning draw at the Parks against Old Vigornians for whom Ivan Campbell-Ferguson (7-45) returned excellent first innings figures for the visitors. Avoncroft made the long trip to Bartestree & Lugwardine and came away with a winning draw thanks to solid contributions from Nicholas Moczadlo (64) in the first innings and Daniel Elliott (4-39) in the second which included the important wicket of home captain Ryan Trattell (92) who was going well at the time and finally Rushwick gained a much welcome first maximum points win of the season as important contributions Jamie Oliver (76) & Lewis Hooper (62 & 3-35) led them to a forty one run victory against Old Hill 2nd XI (for whom Amar Nagra 5-50) at the Alf Tolley Memorial Ground.

In Division Four, Netherton 2nd XI moved to the top of the division and remained the only team to win all of their first three matches when they beat Stourbridge 2nd XI (who stay second) by just five runs in what must have been an enthralling game at the War Memorial Ground. Nabeel Ali (4-56 & 41) produced an excellent all round performance for the home team but unfortunately ended up on the losing side as another Ali, Taimur proved the match winner for the visitors as his excellent all round contribution was capped off when he dismissed Nabeel off the first ball of the final over with the home team requiring just six to win.

Elsewhere, Stephen Yarsley (4-51 & 74) helped Stourport-on-Severn 2nd XI bounce back from their defeat last week to move in to third place as they beat fourth placed Bromsgrove 3rd XI at St. Godwalds Park by eight wickets. First innings half contributions from Sajjad Hussain (83) and Gulham Abbas (58) helped Coombs Wood 2nd XI move in to fifth spot by compiling a big first innings total that proved afar too many for visiting Eastnor to chase. Dave Potter (84) & Usmaan Mahmood (78) heled Five Ways Old Edwardians seal their first win of the season as they comfortably pushed aside Chaddesley Corbett 2nd XI at the Masshouse. Tom O’Dell (8-48) excellent first innings return helped Bewdley 2nd XI to their first victory of the season against Lye 2nd XI and despite half centuries from Michael Hines (78) and Jonathan Stickler (75), (David Quigley (4-47) and Charlie Durrell (4-49) took eight first innings wickets between them to help Romsley & Hunnington secure their first win of the season against Pershore 2nd XIs in a high scoring match on what must have been a good surface at the Bottoms.

In Division Five Harborne 4th XI and Claverley remain the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the division and as such are level on points at the top.

Imran Sharif scored a second innings half century to help Harborne 4th XI to a comfortable victory against visiting Colwall 2nd XI and in form Tom Grainger (104*) scored his second century in three matches in Claverley’ s win against Kidderminster 3rd XI.

Charles Bevan (108*) scored an excellent second innings century to help West Malvern leap frog visiting Halesowen 3rd XI in to third place, four points clear of their opponents. Rory Mathews (87*) helped Hanley Castle & Upton secure their first win of the season, a comfortable eight wicket win against Worcester Nomads who had won their first two but drop to fifth after defeat. Tom Fairclough (103) compiled an excellent second innings century to steer Malvern to their second win and up in to sixth spot and finally Droitwich Spa 2nd XI chased down Kempsey’s first innings total to ensure they record their first win of the season.

Division Six is also shaping up the same as the division above as two teams remain undefeated at the summit.

Bromyard 2nd XI are at the top after chasing down visiting Enville 2nd XIs huge first innings total in a rain affected match at Flagonners Green. Alex Craven (203*) blasted a fantastic first innings double century for Enville 2nd XI before the rain came early in the second innings leaving the home team to score around one hundred and fifty five runs of nineteen overs. A stiff task that Michael Reece (109*) and George Godsall (76) accomplished to ensure the Herefordshire outfit stayed at the summit. Second placed Barnt Green 3rd XI also had a second innings centurion Joe McGovern (103*) to thank along with his fellow opening partner Elliott Evans (83) who fell just one short of a double century opening partnership in their comprehensive win at Alveley (for whom Jamie Lawrence scored 93 in the first innings).

Elsewhere in the division Jack McDonnell (68*) scored an undefeated second innings half century to guide Pedmore 2nd XI to victory against Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social 2nd XI for whom Tim Griffiths (4-40) took a hat-trick in his second innings return. Old Vigornians 2nd XI beat Belbroughton by three wickets to move in to fourth place. Daniel Newman (76) scored a first innings half century in Himley 3rd XIs win against Stourport-on-Severn 3rd XI and finally, despite the best efforts of Minoth Kanagaratnam’s (82) Hagley 2nd XI fell ten short of chasing Stourbridge 3rd XI first innings total at the Green Field which ensured the home team gained their first win of the season.

In Division Seven three teams remain unbeaten after the first three matches.

Kieran Hall (5-20) bagged a first innings 5fer and Sam Evans (96) fell just four runs short of a century in Cleobury Mortimer’s nine wickets win against Bromsgrove 4th XI. The win ensured them top spot, level on points with second placed Burghill Tillington & Weobley 2nd XI for whom Alex Powell (103*) compiled a first innings century in their seven run win against Kidderminster 4th XI (for whom Tom Powell, 83 and Simon Trickett 78 just fell short in the second innings). The third team level on points at the top are Cutnall Green who thanks to Zabair Hussain (77) posted enough in the first innings to beat visiting Rushwick 2nd XI by thirteen runs after the visitors looked in good shape to contest halfway through the second innings.

In other matches, Ashley Damm (215) compiled a brilliant double century for Ombersley 3rd XI in their comprehensive win against Cookley 2nd XI. Muhammad Tahir-Miraa (160*) hit a big first innings century for Evesham to set up a victory against Bartestree & Lugwardine 2nd XI which moved them in to fifth place and Birlingham earned their first win of the season at home against Feckenham 2nd XI.

Following the successful delivery of district based divisions due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Worcestershire County League at the bequest of the teams lower down its competition structure re-aligned its former linear divisions 8 to 12 in to more local district/zonal groups with the top forty teams being allocated positions in either Division (North, East, South or West) and a further twenty eight teams being placed in to Division Nine (North, East, South & West).

Competitive match play in all zonal divisions got underway on Saturday 1st May.

In Division Eight (North) excellent performances were recorded from Vinny Abercrombie (115) who started the season well with a century for Enville 3rd XI in their win against Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social, Umar Ijaz (4-8) and Kamran Choudhary (4-14) who shared eight first innings wickets for Claverley in their win against Stourbridge 4th XI, William Collumbell (4-28) for Halesowen 4th XI in their win against Netherton 3rd XI and Edward Jones (5-13) who helped Romsley & Hunnington to their first win against Alveley 2nd XI the other team to win in the group were Himley 4th XI who beat Harborne 5th XI by five wickets.

In Division Eight (East) Alvechurch & Hopwood 2nd XI beat Astwood Bank 4th XI by four wickets. John Brunt (85) top scored for Avoncroft 2nd XI in their win against Harborne 6th XI. Old Halesonians compiled a first innings total that Buffalo Barnstormers (for whom Kit Thornton scored 77) could not chase as Maddali Vamsi Krishna (5-15) showed his class in the second innings. Matt Stanczyszyn (98) led Five Ways Old Edwardians 2nd XI to a five wicket win at Himbleton and Geoff Eley (84) and Warren Bisp (4-29) were the main protagonists for Redditch Entaco 3rd XI in their comfortable win against Cookhill.

In Division Eight (South) Max Middlebrooke (84) and Roger Thompson (77*) led Barnards Green 3rd XI home in a high scoring match against Bosbury for whom Alex Tyrer (89) top scored. Craig Witheford (194*) and Alex Reynolds (76*) carried their bats for Harvington to amass a huge first innings total of (323-0) which proved far too many for Malvern 2nd XI to chase. Martyn Draper (169*) and Max Ellis (131*) did the same for Bredon 2nd XI to compile a first innings total or (346-0) in their win against Kempsey 2nd XI. Steve Wright (68*) scored an unbeaten half century for West Malvern 2nd XI in their ten wicket win against Hanley Castle & Upton 2nd XI and finally Old Elizabethans 3rd XI beat Worcester 3rd XI by two wickets despite S D’Oliveira (4-21) in the second innings.

In Division Eight (West) Alexander Roden scored 103* in the second innings to help Chaddesley Corbett 3rd XI to a seven wicket win against Old Elizabethans 4th XI at Neel Park. Martley 2nd XI beat Bewdley 3rd XI by a wide margin at Moffats School, Kinlet. Highley got off to a winnings start against Droitwich Spa 3rd XI. Half centuries in the second innings from Tom Newell (62*) and Henry Deacy (53) led Hagley 3rd XI home against Stone (for whom Mark Stride scored a first innings (90) and Tom Gloster (70) started with a bang for Tenbury Wells as they beat Hallow Taverners by thirty three runs on the opening day.

The lower zonal divisions have seven teams in each, therefore there will be three matches in each group per week with one team resting in each group every week. Each team shall play each other twice with twelve matches to be played by each team during the divisional season which end on Saturday 31st July.

In Division Nine (North) there were opening day wins for Himley 5th Xi who beat Old Hill 3rd XI thanks to a swift century from Ben Hopkins (112) and able support form youngster Ali Latif (85). Halesowen 5th XI who beat Belbroughton 3rd XI by a narrow 5 run margin and Coombs Wood 3rd XI for whom Ian Hatton (69*) compiled an undefeated second innings half century to ease his side home.

In Division Nine (East) Old Halesonians 2nd XI started with a win against Five Ways Old Edwardians 3rd XI thanks to excellent first innings contributions from Liaqat Hussain (73), Ghulam Shabbir (59) and Rana Rizwan Ahmed (52). Archie Davies (64) scored a first innings half century and Adam Hunt (4-18) took four wickets in the second innings to help Astwood Bank 5th XI get off to a winning start against Cookhill 2nd XI and twelve year old debutant Mathew Burroughs (4-13) bowled Himley 6th XI to victory against Feckenham 3rd XI.

In Division Nine (South) Bromyard 3rd XI beat Worcester Nomads 3rd XI by a comfortable margin, Ollie Davies (67) helped Barnards Green 3rd XI compile what proved to be too many for Eastnor 2nd XI to chase and Colwall 4th XI beat Tenbury Wells 2nd XI by three wickets at Penlu.

And finally in Division Nine (West) the matches between Avoncroft 3rd XI and Worcester 4th XI and Stourport-on-Severn 4th XI and Pershore 4th XI were both abandoned due to heavy downpours whilst in the other match Rushwick 3rd XI beat Bredon 3rd XI at the Cinderella Ground by nine wickets.