STUART Bate says a Pedmore title charge cannot be ruled out in what he calls a “bizarre season.”

With the season approaching the halfway stage, Pedmore are well placed in sixth in Worcester League Division One after a three-game winning run which includes last Saturday’s 102-run demolition of rivals Oldswinford.

Skipper Bate believes the league is wide-open this year and says his side have as good a chance as anyone.

He said: “I think anybody in the top seven could win it.

“There is no standout side this year, there is no-one like Stourbridge who ran away with it last year.

“I actually think the standard of cricket has dropped a bit.

“If you look at some of the scores, teams have been getting bowled out for 70 and lower which you don’t expect at this level.

“Maybe the weather has played a factor but it’s been a bizarre season in many ways, everybody is capable of beating everybody else.

“We’ll keep taking it game-by-game but I feel we have as good a chance as anybody else.”

Pedmore’s win at Oldswinford featured a fine batting performance in which the visitors, batting first, amassed 226 on a difficult pitch.

Opener Danny McDonnell top scored with 48 but there were also solid contributions from Paul Pickering (43) and James Burgoyne (47).

Oldswinford’s talented top-order were then blown away by the Pedmore opening pair of Asif Iqbal (3-43) and Dave Skelding (2-19).

Number six Edward Atkins fired a defiant 41 but the next highest score was in the extras column (34) as the hosts were skittled out for just 124.

Bate added: “It’s always nice to get a win in a derby game and we gave a really strong performance with the bat.

“You often get the best result at Oldswinford by batting first but to get 226 was a great effort. We felt 180 would be a winning score.

“Once we had taken three wickets in the first five overs they were always going to be up against it.

“We have bowled really well this year and not always got our rewards.”

Pedmore host Droitwich this Saturday while Oldswinford, who are fifth in the table, entertain Worcester.