Given home advantage due to Evesham’s pitch being unfit as a result of the recent drought, a below-strength Colwall side just failed to take advantage as they slipped to a narrow 23-run defeat in a close Worcestershire League Division 1 clash at Ghost Meadow on Saturday.
Third-placed Evesham chose to bat on a firm pitch but struggled early on, Mike Gooch picking up two wickets and Fergus Cameron one as the visitors were reduced to 42-3 from 14 overs.
Leg-spinner James Wagstaffe then came on to concede just 23 runs from his ten overs, but runs came freely at the other end as Asghar (54) and Chohan (42) put on 105 for the third wicket before Nick Brown came on to remove both batsmen.
At 161-5 with ten overs left, Colwall were still hopeful of a decisive breakthrough, but Shah (30) and Maan (28) added 52 for the sixth wicket and a flurry of runs in the closing overs took Evesham to 249-9, Brown finishing with 3-63 and Ben Febery 2-50, while Mike Gooch came off with 3-32.
Cameron and Joe Blight then added 65 in 18 overs as Colwall made a solid start to their reply, but Cameron was then bowled by Chohan and when Blight (51) was caught with the total on 88 in the 22nd over the run rate slowed.
Brown (26) and Febery (21) consolidated before they were run out and leg-before respectively, but Ben Cooke (19) and PJ Recorden took the score to 184 before Cooke was bowled and Jack Hughes trapped leg-before by Maan to put Eveham back in the driving seat. Recorden went on to reach an unbeaten 22, but once Dan Brierley was bowled Colwall just ran out of overs, closing on 226-9.
In contrast on the adjoining Stowe Lane pitch, Colwall 2nds secured a comfortable 101-run victory over Droitwich to move into the top half of the Second X1 Section Division 1 table. Batting first Colwall were indebted to a masterly unbeaten century from the experienced Richard Howitt who finished unbeaten on 107 in their total of 256-6, Adam Greaves lending solid support as the visiting bowlers struggled. Droitwich never looked like challenging the target against a determined Colwall attack and could only manage 155-9 in reply.
A ten-man Colwall 3rd team went down by 79 runs at Almeley in a high-scoring Marches League encounter after their hosts elected to bat and used the short boundaries to maximum effect to rattle up a daunting total of 328-5 from their 45 overs.
Chris Conlon took 2-48 in his ten-over opening spell and Steve Wright (2-60) raised hopes briefly with two wickets in his first over, but building on a solid 54 from Nick Evans, Liam Evans, having survived a confident appeal for caught behind, went on to smash a superb unbeaten 165 as the hosts ran riot in the closing overs, Rob Williams joining in the spree with 49 not out.
Despite losing three cheap wickets in reply, Colwall replied in kind as Wright carved his way to a splendid 101, while Conlon hammered a powerful 50 and Andy Heath (45no) and Harry Evans (20) helped push the final total to 249 before the last wicket fell with two overs left.
Colwall 4ths just failed to snatch victory in their Division 4 clash with Bartestree and Lugwardine 4ths, the visitors edging home by one wicket in a tense finish which saw their last pair adding 47 to edge home with 11 balls remaining.
Simon Oliver (59), Ben Recorden (46) Phil Steers (29) and Cam Smith (18) scored the bulk of the runs as Colwall ran up 220-9 off their 40 overs, but opener Andy Evans hit 102 when Bartestree replied and although Simon Oliver took 4-8 in four overs to reduce them from 173-4 to 186-9, the final wicket proved elusive as Ian Strangwood’s unbeaten 36 saw the visitors home on 223-9.