CAPTAIN Alexei Kervezee praised his players after Halesowen CC secured victory over Himley.

Hales bagged an eight-wicket home success in Birmingham and District League Division Two last Saturday.

A much higher target that Himley's eventual 210 looked in prospect when they reached 176-3. The dismissal of Nipun Karunanayake (44) at 181 heralded a collapse which lead to their demise. Opening batsmen Greg Wright (77) and Oliver Westbury (36) played their part but Himley’s middle-order, with the exception of Karunanayake, proved fragile.

Despite the early loss of Harry Baddams, Halesowen cruised to victory thanks to a second wicket stand of 134 between Hassan Qaumi (97 not out) and Ryan Lockley (61), as well as an unbroken third wicket stand of 77 between Qaumi and Kervezee (32 not out).

Kervezee said: "That’s the way we can play, that’s the way we should be playing and that’s the way we need to play.

"It was clinical and impressive all round and I am really pleased for the likes of Hassan and Ryan who shone today. Without Jamie Harris, Jamie Harrison and Charlie Hartley, that was impressive whichever way you look at it and this is now our opportunity to climb the ladder again."

Meanwhile, in the latest Worcestershire County League action, the second team ended up on the wrong side of Lye with a losing draw.

Division Two table toppers Lye batted first to clock up 260 all out thanks to a century from Nadeem Hussain (102).

For Hales, Scott Jones was the pick of the bowlers with 4-61 from his 12 overs but the fielding and catching left something to be desired as the total proved too many for the young outfit. Plenty of the Hales batsmen got starts but no-one was able to go on to provide the impetus to chase down the total, with Jack Roberson (36) Joe Tromans (31) and Hayden Evans Charlie Greening and Richard Cox (all 29) being the main run scorers.

The third team continue to struggle after a euphoric 2018 season and this time Harborne were the beneficiaries of a young Halesowen outfit. Harborne totted up a mighty 329-4 in their innings as Hales struggled to stem the tide. In reply the team could only muster 95 all out but were indebted to Alex Davis (42) as they went down by 234 runs.

Finally, the fourth XI restricted Hallow to 125-9 in their 45 overs and knocked the runs with consummate ease thanks to Vinny O’Grady (62*) but the star of the day was 13-year-old Charlie Egerton with 4-7 in his five overs.

Meanwhile in the Worcestershire Cricket Board Grays County Cup played in midweek Halesowen 2nd XI were defeated by Old Hill's 1st XI at Seth Somers Park. Old Hill totted up a quick fire 183 in their 20 overs and a young Halesowen team fought manfully to match the total but fell 60 runs short as Old Hill progress to the next round against Lye.

An interesting set of fixtures align next weekend when the new league structure starts to test the club.

In an unusual week, Halesowen’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd XIs will all be playing oppositions first XIs as part of the new merit-based structure.

Halesowen's firsts go to Tamworth, the seconds welcome Himbleton, the thirds are at Five Ways Old Eds and the fourths host Malvern.