By Liam Moakes 13/06 Updated: 25/06 09:56
DESPITE dominating proceedings Astwood Bank had to settle for a winning draw in Saturday's Worcestershire League Division One encounter at Droitwich.
Bank posted what was an excellent 225-8 off their 50 overs on a pitch which offered assistance to the bowlers, but fell four wickets short of clinching victory.
However, their 16 points lifted them into second place and they are six points behind new leaders Pershore heading into tomorrow's local derby at home to Redditch.
Returning Droitwich captain Martyn Davies won the toss and inserted the visitors on a damp pitch at St Peter's Fields but, led by Jon Summers (27), Bank got off to a solid start, despite a promising opening spell from debutant Calvin Van Vuuren.
Two quick wickets then fell and the game was finely poised as Adam Crowle and Martin Woodward bowled with control against the aggressive Steve Adshead and steady Alex Robinson.
The pair had taken the score to 148 with 15 overs to go, but the persevering Woodward dismissed Robinson for 41 and the return of opening bowler Matt Biggs brought the crucial wicket of Adshead for 48.
Spa continued to pick up regular wickets, but Tom Harris with a quickfire 23 led Bank to 225-8, which was always going to be a daunting score to chase.
Woodward finished with four wickets and Van Vuuren with two as Spa showed their bowling depth with four regular bowlers missing.
The home side got off to their customary fluent start, but an opening partnership of 37 between Stuart Bryan and Davies (21) quickly became 51-3 against some probing bowling.
Runs were particularly hard to gather off the two spinners Summers (3-34) and Dan Thomas (1-18), both of whom spun the ball sharply on a drying wicket.
Droitwich threatened briefly when David Lane and Ian Cottrill (22) scored a flurry of boundaries but, when Lane was dismissed by the return of seamer Harris for a well made 34, Spa sensibly batted out for a draw.
Biggs led Droitwich to safety with a composed 17 not out as they finished on 155-6.
Credit must go to head groundsman Paul Bryan and supporting groundstaff for producing a good surface after two days of torrential rain.
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