Oswestry’s bid to win the Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League Division Two is in danger of faltering as just seven points separate the top three after they lost a last-over thriller.
The Morda Road outfit could have taken a huge leap towards promotion but were beaten at home by second-placed Pershore, who are now just five points behind Oswestry, who remain in top spot.
Halesowen are just seven points behind in third while former leaders Fordhouses are 17 points behind Oswestry in fourth spot.
Robbe Clarke decided to have first go of the track and would have been happy with his side’s first inning efforts as they set a challenging target for Pershore after they finished with 226-9 from their 50 overs.
It was Clarke who set the tone as he scored a fine 61 at number three in a partnership with Alun Morris (58).
Warrick Fynn’s 34 at the top of the innings also added excellent support but the Oswestry score needed one or two more contributions to bat the game out of sight, but no one else scored higher than 12.
Taylor Pugh (5-39) was the standout bowler for Pershore.
In reply, visiting skipper Liam Ridings was the anchor for Pershore’s run chase as he engineered a fine 78 at the top of the order before he was dismissed by Mark Robinson.
While Ridings plugged away for Pershore, Roman Walker did his bit for Oswestry as he took three of the top four wickets including an excellent caught and bowled.
When Fynn dismissed William Green for five and then produced a fine run-out to get rid of Pugh, Oswestry must have begun to dream of the title and promotion.
However, Stephen Miles’s fine 42no came to give Ridings vital support and despite Sadaf Hussain’s three quick wickets giving Oswestry false hope, the visitors reached 228-9 with a ball to spare.
Hussain finished with figures of 3-54 and Walker with 3-48 while Robinson grabbed 1-30 and Fynn 1-41.
The 2nd XI also lost on Saturday as were beaten heavily at Newport’s 2nd XI, losing by 125 runs.
The hosts decided to bat first, a decision which proved to be correct as they finished on 293 all out from their 45 overs.
Thomas Newnes’s 75 was the highlight of the innings. Matthew Davies's 3-52 from eight overs was the pick of the Oswestry bowlers.
In reply, opener Joshua Darley’s 64 was the highlight of the Oswestry innings but he couldn’t prevent them slipping to 168-8 with only nine men.
Defeat for Oswestry’s 3rd XI capped a less-than-illustrious weekend for the Morda Road men as they were beaten by Quayside’s 3rd XI.
The hosts decided to bowl and justified that decision by bowling Oswestry out for 104 in 36 overs.
Jim Phillips’s 34 at the top of the order was the standout batting performance for the visitors before he was dismissed by Ian Plant, while Dave Shaw’s 24 helped Oswestry past the 100. In reply, Quayside relied on Steve Hosking’s 47 before he was bowled by Ben Wilson. Plant’s 12no just about saw them over the line despite another wicket for Wilson and two for Ivor Pearsall, with Ryan Boyd also grabbing one.
n The 1st XI will travel to Fordhouses on Saturday, hoping for the win to pull them over the line and achieve deserved promotion (12pm).
The 2nd XI will host the reverse fixture at Morda Road at 12.30pm and the 3rd XI host Llanidoes, also at home (1pm), while the fourths will host Pontesbury 3rd XI on Sunday at 1pm.