By Liam Moakes 31/05 Updated: 31/05 11:06
ASTWOOD BANK had to settle for a losing draw in a thrilling, high-scoring Worcestershire League Division One encounter at Worcester on Saturday.
The hosts made 307-5 in their 50 overs and in reply Bank fell agonisingly short of their victory target as they closed on 305-9, leaving them with eight points and in sixth place - 18 points off top spot - heading into tomorrow's visit of Oldswinford.
Having won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which looked full of runs, Worcester set about the Astwood Bank bowling attack as openers Andrew Robertson and Oliver Peppiatt build a partnership of 144 for the first wicket.
Peppiatt's dismissal for a classy 67 brought overseas star Jeff Case (37) to the crease before the pick of the visitors' bowlers Jon Summers (2-54) removed Robertson for 73.
A flurry of wickets fell as the home side stuttered to 213-5 but this served to bring captain and vice-captain partnership Liam Kelleher and Liam Weston to the crease and they were belligerent in the final eight overs, adding nearly 100 runs.
Kelleher struck a 27-ball unbeaten 62 and Weston 33 not out from only 14 in a vicious onslaught which saw the ball dispatched to all parts.
The innings closed on 307-5 but, with the wicket playing so well and the dangerous Steve Adshead at the top of the order, Astwood Bank felt the target was well within reach.
Adshead started positively in scoring a quickfire 45 before the introduction of leg-spinner James Wagstaff brought about his vital dismissal.
Sam Thomas and Alex Robinson steadied the ship in a partnership worth 70 before Thomas fell for a well constructed 72.
Robinson, aided by Tom Pedley (24), moved the score on to 214-3, making Bank slight favourites going into the last ten overs, but it was at this point Worcester began to take regular wickets including some superb fielding by Case, responsible for two run outs and two catches in the deep.
Robertson (3-69) and the returning Weston bowled well at the death but Tom Harris struck a brutal 38 from only 13 balls to swing the game back in Bank's favour.
Requiring six from the last five balls the game seemed gone for the hosts, but three wickets in the final five balls saw the innings finish at 305-9 and earned Worcester a winning draw.
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