Beacon miss out on glorious opportunity
Beacon missed out on a glorious chance to significantly close the gap on leaders Pelsall at the top of the South Staffs County League Premier Division.
With Pelsall’s match at Cannock abandoned without a ball being bowled – and just five points awarded to each side – Beacon hosted relegation-threatened Lichfield, knowing victory would put them within a point of their title rivals.
However, Beacon’s batting let them down and they actually lost ground on Pelsall after picking up only four points in their four-wicket defeat.
Beacon lost their top three of James Fildes (8), Jake Cartwright (15) and Oliver Walker (0) with just 27 runs on the board.
Though Jason Swan (33) led a minor recovery in the middle-order to top score, wickets continued to tumble.
Seven batsmen made it into double figures, but it was just Swann who made it past 20.
Extras was Beacon’s second top scorer with 25, who were eventually bowled out for 157 after 42.4 overs.
Lichfield started the day nine points above the bottom two, but gave themselves a huge boost with some assured batting – in the face of the best efforts of Daniel Vernon.
Will Davies (30) and Rich Taylor-Tibbott (43) got Lichfield off to a decent start, putting on 60 for the first wicket.
Vernon fought back for Beacon by removing their top four – including the two openers – as the visitors were reduced to 120-4.
However, Adam Bradbrook (37) held his nerve as Lichfield made sure they got over the line to send beacon to their fifth defeat of the season.
Third-placed Milford Hall moved within five points of Beacon after another star turn from Ibbadat Thaman with the bat and an excellent bowling display by Ejaz Nawaz against fifth-placed Brewood.
Thaman is closing in on 1,000 South Staffs County League runs for the season after hitting 15 fours and five sixes for 122 not out from 85 balls in Hall’s 204-4 from 31 overs.
He has now struck 906 runs in 15 matches this season, averaging 75.50.
Sahal Malvernkar (44no) and James Davis (27) provided chief support.
Nawaz then took 6-18 as Hall skittled Brewood for 132 in 28.3 overs, while Rob Evans also snared himself a couple of wickets.
Fourth-placed Cannock & Rugeley Hawks posted an away win at Hammerwich, thanks to the bowling efforts of cousins Kabir Ali and Omar Ali.
Openers Valeed Butt (45) and Mubeen Rashid (39) top-scored for Hawks as they were bowled out for 185.
Kabir Ali also struck 36 in the middle-order, while Johar Ahmed (19) was the only other player into double figures in the innings.
Craig Jennings and Nathan Howell took three wickets apiece.
Hammerwich’s reply was going along strong at 120-2, but once the Ali cousins got rolling there was no stopping them.
Kabir took 4-23 and Omar 4-30 as they saw their side home.
Fordhouses left it to the penultimate ball to see off Penkridge in a tight mid-table encounter.
Abdullah Awan (50) struck a half-century in Penkridge’s 201 all out, while Harjivan Dhinsay (4-28) was the pick of the bowlers for Fordhouses.
In reply, Alex McChristie held the hosts’ innings together as they snuck home at the death to remain fourth-bottom, but open up a 39-point gap over second-bottom Whittington.
Wombourne handed Whittington their eight defeat of the season after Basit Zaman struck 120 in their 251-8.
David Hemming, Ben Thomas and Ben Hudson then took three wickets apiece as Whittington were bundled out for 99.