In the Worcestershire County League, all divisions are shaping up to be tight contests at the top and at the bottom

In the Premier Division Captain Bilal Hassan (4-27 & 69 not out) led Old Hill 1st XI to a five wicket win against his previous club Chaddesley Corbett 1st X at Longmore, a win which kept them just three points ahead of Stourbridge 1st XI who beat Worcester Nomads 1st XI by the same margin at the War Memorial Ground thanks largely to the efforts of H Ahmad (81*) who orchestrated the win with an excellent second innings performance.

Third placed Astwood Bank 1st XI were beaten by Old Elizabethans 1st XI where Amar Jawanda (5-35) and Shameer Ahmed (71*) proved to be the main protagonists in a five wicket triumph at the Memorial Ground which in turn gave early season leaders Stourport-on-Severn 1st XI the opportunity to move back in to third place which they took when Craig Wood (106*) returned in style to post an undefeated second innings century which helped chase down the visitors first innings target in which overseas amateur star Matthew Van Dyk (117*) posted his third century in as many weeks.

In other matches, Chris Ridings (98*) was left unbeaten just two runs short of a century when overs ran out in the first innings for Pershore 1st XI who were forced to settle for a winning draw as Ian Bullock (84*) carried his bat to ensure the visitors left with a losing draw and finally Jamie Burgess (5-51 & 60 not out) produced a fine all round performance in Brockhampton 1st XI's win against basement side Droitwich Spa 1st XI at the parks.

Lye 1st XI remain top of Division One but had their wings well and truly clipped by second placed Pedmore 1st XI who closed the gap to just three points after recording a fifty seven run win against their local rivals at Pedmore Hall Lane. Third placed Ombersley made the most of this result when Tom Oakley (84*) led them to a six wicket win against visiting Barnt Green 2nd XI who in turn find themselves in the relegation zone after William Dallaway (6-30) returned excellent second innings bowling figures for Bromsgrove 2nd XI in a maximum point winning draw at St. Godwalds Park against Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 2nd XI.

Elsewhere in the division, Halesowen 2nd XI bowled out Colwall 1st XI in the second innings to earn a maximum points win and move to within thirty points of the promotion places. In-form Worcester CC 1st XI recorded their third win in a row this time against Hagley 1st XI after fifteen year old Seth Essenhigh (87*) steered them to an eight wicket win at Norton Barracks and finally Alex Chappell (5-30) bowled Combs Wood 1st XI to a welcome victory against Bewdley 1st XI at Lower Park.

In Division Two Himley 2nd XI became the third team to top the table in the past three weeks after travelling to former leaders Bartestree & Lugwardine 1st XI and walking away with a twenty three run victory in a low scoring game which enabled them to leapfrog their opponents and move seven points clear at the top. Third placed Alvechurch & Hopwood 1st XI beat Cookley 1st XI by seven wickets to move within a point of the promotion zone, whilst Zaheer Suliman (96*) helped Netherton 1st XI post a first innings total that proved too many for Harborne 3rd XI to chase which helped them keep up with the pace in fourth place.

The top four are now nearly two wins (38 points) ahead of Astwood Bank 2nd XI in fifth place after the East Worcestershire outfit were beaten at home by Bredon 1st XI (for whom Haleem Basharat top scored with 98 in the first innings). Oldswinford 1st XI occupy mid division after Captain Tom Slater (89) and Muhammad Mustafa (4-12) proved to be the main contributors in a comprehensive home win against Redditch 2nd XI who remain bottom and beginning to be cast adrift and finally George Roberts (90) top scored for Enville 1st X in an impressive eight wicket win against Kidderminster 2nd XI.

n Division Three Oliver Hallion (126*) fired an undefeated first innings century for leaders Barnards Green 2nd XI who were left frustrated at the end as visiting Old Elizabethans 2nd XI showed some dogged determination to hang on for a losing draw, nine wickets down well short of the target when the overs ran out. This result helped second placed Belbroughton 1st XI close the gap by five points as they secured a workmanlike two wicket win against Brockhampton 2nd XI.

Netherton 2nd XI moved to within one point of third placed Old Elizabethans 1st XI after securing a maximum point winning draw against basement side Old Vigornians 1st XI who were another team that held out for a losing draw thanks largely to the all-round efforts of Mohammed Ibrar Munir (5-80 & 57).

In other matches in the division, Stourbridge 2nd XI gained a winning draw against Lye 2nd XI who missed the chance of closing the gap at the top, Martley 1st XI beat Feckenham 1st XI by twenty eight runs in a high scoring match at Mill Lane and finally Avoncroft 1st XI beat Himbleton 1st XI by four wickets to keep themselves in the hunt for promotion.

Gavin Bryan (91), Ryan Delo (80), Sam Foley (62) and Neil Bailey (52) all posted first innings half centuries for Division Four leaders Stourport-on-Severn 2nd XI who were forced to settle for a winning draw as Harborne 4th XI held out in the second innings at the Knotts Ground. However, this result helped the leaders extend their lead at the top to double figures as second placed Rushwick 1st XI were forced to settle for a losing draw against Worcester Nomads 2nd XI at Whitegates Farm. Rushwick 1st XI, after leading the way for the most part now find themselves just twenty points clear of Old Hill 2nd XI who moved in to third place after dismantling Chaddesley Corbett 2nd XI by two hundred runs largely thanks to the second innings efforts of Mo Javaid (6-13).

Elsewhere, West Malvern 1st XI recorded a nine wicket win against Romsley & Hunnington 1st XI to remain fifth, Claverley 1st XI gained a winning draw by just four runs in a high scoring match at Stewarts Road to stay in mid division and finally James Hamilton (122*) fired an unbeaten second innings century to steer Five Ways Old Edwardians 1st XI to a five wicket win against Bromsgrove 3rd XI at the Hedges Ground.

In the Win/Lose mid divisions the top three all won in Division Five to consolidate their positions. Table toppers Droitwich Spa 2nd XI beat Bewdley 2nd XI by six wickets at St. Peter’s Field to stay twenty three points clear of second placed Worcester 2nd XI for whom fifteen year old Finn Goodman (109) scored a second innings century in a six wicket win against Hagley 2nd XI at Hagley Park whilst Imran Wahid (159) ensured third placed Pershore 2nd XI kept up with the pace setters after smashing a blistering first innings century which helped post too many for Astwood Bank 3rd XI to chase.

Elsewhere, Kevin McMillan (112*) did all he could to help Malvern 1st XI stay in touch with the leaders in fifth, James Jon Febery (135) posted a first innings hundred for Eastnor in a welcome win against Stourbridge 3rd XI and Joe Baker 5-21 helped set up a comfortable win for Pedmore 2nd XI against Barnt Green 3rd XI at the Douglas Ground.

In Division Six, Cutnall Green 1st XI won the battle of the top two by thirty five runs in a low scoring match against Tenbury Wells 1st XI at Penlu. This result helped both Hanley Castle & Upton 1st XI move in to second place after securing a four wicket win against Alveley 1st XI and Bromyard 2nd XI to move in to third place after securing an eight wicket win against Enville 2nd XI at Flagonners Green. Halesowen 3rd XI stayed in touch just twenty one points of the promotion places in fifth by beating Old Vigornians 2nd XI by four wickets at Earls High. Belbroughton 2nd XI moved into mid division following a nine wicket win against Claverley 2nd XI and finally Nazaqat Ali (118*) fired a second innings century to help Kempsey 1st XI to a 3 wicket win against Kidderminster 3rd XI.

In Regional Division Seven (North Group) only three matches from five survived as Bromsgrove 4th XI conceded to Five Ways Old Edwardians 2nd XI and Kidderminster 4th XI conceded to Harborne 5th XI.

In the matches that were played table toppers Himley 3rd XI secured a four wicket win against Oldswinford 2nd XI and now lead proceedings by thirty six points over Stone 1st XI who went second after securing a five wicket win against Halesowen 4th XI at Shenstone. Whilst in the only other match played Muhammad Tahir Mirza (123) and Matthew Grubb (107*) both posted first innings centuries for Feckenham 2nd XI in a big win against Romsley & Hunnington 2nd XI.

Birlingham 1st XI put the cat amongst In the South Group when Richard Gardiner (127*) compiled an undefeated second innings century to hand Harvington 1st XI their first defeat of the season. This result closed the gap to twenty eight points at the top with Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 2nd XI a further fourteen points adrift in third place after beating Old Elizabethan 3rd XI by four wickets.

Elsewhere, Harry Annable (74*) and James Hathaway (5-65) helped fast improving Ombersley 3rd XI seal a comfortable win against Stourport-on-Severn 3rd XI. Bartestree & Lugwardine 2nd XI beat Martley 2nd XI by seven wickets and Worcester 3rd XI scrambled over the line to seal an important three wicket win against Rushwick 2nd XI who are now havering just above the relegation zone.

In Regional Division Eight North Group the defeat of table toppers Halesowen 5th XI by third placed Lye 3rd XI helped Himley 4th XI reduce the gap at the top to just four points after recording an eight wicket win against Netherton 3rd XI. Pedmore 3rd XI slip to fourth place after missing the opportunity to close in on the leaders after losing to Oldswinford 3rd XI for whom Jamie Smith (73*) and Harry Nightingale (73*) finished unbeaten in the second innings.

Elsewhere, in the division Stourbridge 4th XI beat Enville 3rd XI by a ten wicket margin to keep themselves in the hunt for a play-off place and Bhargava Venna (81) helped Harborne 6th to a two wicket win against Avoncroft 3rd XI.

Pershore 3rd XI continue to lead the way in the East Group after beating Astwood Bank 4th XI by thirty runs in a low scoring match. They are now thirty one points ahead of second placed Avoncroft 2nd XI who beat Himbleton 2nd XI by just two runs in a close encounter at Hanbury Road in which Pratik Taker (103) scored a second innings century in a losing cause. Five points further back in third places sit Droitwich Spa 4th XI who lost ground after being beaten by Inkberrow 1st XI who are now fourth just nine points off the play-off places.

In other matches in the division, Old Halesonians 1st XI beat Hagley 3rd XI and second from bottom Redditch Entaco 3rd XI extended the gap to the bottom when they beat Belbroughton 3rd XI who are now nineteen points adrift at the foot of the table.

Jacob Evans (4-17 & 73*) had a day out for leaders Ledbury 1st XI who continue to lead the way in the South Group after they posted another comprehensive win, this time against Worcester Nomads 3rd XI. The Herefordshire outfit are now forty two points clear of second placed Brockhampton 3rd XI who tied with Malvern 2nd XI in a what looked like a fantastic contest at the Ramblers Ground where Robin Holgate (96) fell four runs short of a second innings century for the visitors.

Elsewhere in the division, Bosbury 1st XI enjoyed an emphatic win against Bromyard 3rd XI to keep themselves in the play-off hunt. Tim Fenney (117) top scored for Bredon 2nd XI in a comprehensive win against Eastnor 2nd XI and Colwall 3rd XI beat West Malvern 2nd XI by seven wickets at Ghost Meadow.

Rinu Mathew (102) hit a first innings century for Worcester Amigos 1st XI who won the game of the day in the West Group when they beat table toppers Hallow Taverners 1st XI by twenty six runs in a high scoring match at the Hallow Recreation Ground despite an excellent effort from Lee Shuck (132) for the home team in the second innings. The Taverners lead has now been reduced to fifteen points to Droitwich Spa 3rd XI for whom Tom Hodgson (132) helped set up a comprehensive win against Highley 1st XI at St. Peter’s Field (second ground).

In other matches in the Group, Alveley 2nd XI beat Cookley 2nd XI by one wicket in a close encounter despite the best efforts of Michael Wood (97*) who finished the first innings just three runs short of a century. Old Elizabethans 4th XI beat Bewdley 3rd XI by a fairly wide margin and Chaddesley Corbett 3rd XI conceded to Tenbury Wells 2nd XI.

With seven matches left in the Regional Group Eight set up a reminder to all that the winners of each Group plus the best three second placed finishers will qualify for the play-offs which will be played in a Quarter-Final to Final format with the best four winners gaining the Home tie in the Quarter Finals and the Semi-Finals being hosted by the highest ranked team.

In the Marches League Division One the top three teams all recorded victories to open up an eighteen point gap to fourth place.

James Snow (73*) compiled an unbeaten second innings half century to guide leaders Wormelow 1st XI to a six wicket win against Builth Wells 1st XI who remain in fourth place. Sarvesh Kotian (119*) struck an undefeated second innings century to ensure Canon Frome 1st XI maintain the eighteen point gap to the leaders and Chris Tookey (135*) ensured Goodrich 1st XI are ready to take advantage of any slip up by the top two as his second innings undefeated century helped his team across the line by a narrow one wicket margin against Woolhope 1st XI.

In the other two matches that took place in the division, Alan Jones (114) posed a first innings in Garnons 1st XIs win over Almeley 1st XI and Tom Williams (82*) ensured Luctonians 1st XI grabbed the win points at Ross-on-Wye 1st XI.

Kington 1st XI continue to lead the way in Marches Division Two after recording a comfortable win against Builth Wells 2nd XI. Wormelow 2nd XI sit just fourteen points adrift after keeping up with the pace setters by recording a six wickets win against Woolhope 2nd thanks largely to Matthew Thomas (94*) who finished unbeaten six runs short of a second innings century.

In other matches in the division, Mike Reece (165*) ensured Dales 1st XI walked away with the honours against Canon Frome 2nd XI and remain thirty points off the pace in third place. Luke Bowen (107*) compiled a second innings century in a Hay-on-Wye 1st XI win against Knighton-on-Teme 1st XI and finally Stephen Jones (103*) posted a first innings century for Almeley 2nd XI but ended up on the losing side against Presteigne 1st XI for whom Alan Stocker (84*) finished undefeated to secure a five wicket win.

In Marches Division Three Sam Charles (155) helped Moccas 2nd XI extend their lead at the top of the table after posting a first innings century which led to a comfortable ninety eight run victory against Bartestree & Lugwardine 3rd XI whilst at the same time second placed Kington 2nd XI suffered a twenty six run defeat against Burghill, Tillington & Weobley 3rd XI for whom Charlie Reid (110*) struck an undefeated first innings century which helped to post a total that proved too many for Kington 2nd XI to chase.

Elsewhere, Herefordians 1st XI beat Dales 2nd XI in a low scoring match by nine runs and Luctonians 2ND XI grabbed an away victory in the bottom of the table clash against Ross-on-Wye 2nd XI.

in Division Nine (North Group), all six teams contested matches against each other.

Coombs Wood 3rd XI continue to top the table after Dean Goodway (70*) steered them to a six wicket win against Pedmore 4th XI. Old Hill 3rd XI are just four points adrift after beating Cookhill 2nd XI thanks to a first innings half centuries from Shaan Nagra (64*) and Sam Tudor 63 and finally Five Ways Old Edwardians 3rd XI conceded to Redditch Entaco 4th XI..

In Division Nine (South Group) Harvington 2nd XI and Pershore 4th XI continue to share top spot after recording wins against Malvern 3rd XI and Droitwich Spa 5th XI respectively which opened up a twenty four point gap to Droitwich Spa 5th XI who are third. Fourth placed Barnards Green 4th XI, who beat Hanley Castle & Upton 2nd XI (for whom Grant Mathews - 84) top scored in the second innings, sit a further six points behind and are probably the only other team that can make the play offs as Ledbury 2nd XI (who beat Rushwick 3rd XI) by six wickets sit a further five points adrift and Brockhampton 4th XI who were conceded to by Feckenham 3rd XI) are the bottom two with a lot to do.

Report submitted by Worcestershire County League