Shrewsbury’s crushing 127 run victory over 2012 Champions Walsall secured their second Premier Division title in four years with three games still to play.
A stand of 105 for the fourth wicket between Steven Leach (65) and Rob Foster (58) followed by a quick-fire 41 from Anthony Parker took the London Road outfit to 223 all out with David Powles (3-55) and Paul Wicker (3-59) taking three wickets apiece for Walsall.
Any hopes of a Walsall victory were soon dispelled by a superb spell of seam bowling from Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach, who took 5-29, and Michael Barnard, who finished with 3-38, which left the Walsall innings in tatters at 57 for nine.
Josh Bowker (32) provided some resistance but he was unable to deny the inevitable as Shrewsbury emphasised the domination they have shown in all forms of cricket this season.
The battle for runners-up spot is still alive with five clubs retaining hopes of silverware, including Himley, who inflicted a six wicket defeat on Wolverhampton, who have slipped into the relegation zone due to Walmley’s three wicket win over Berkswell.
Despite a fighting 77 from James Hammond, Wolverhampton stumbled to 174 for nine with Danny Smith (3-20) and Nathan Round (3-13) the pick of the Himley attack.
A half century from Sergio Fedee and 44 from Nathan Round set up an easy win for Himley who will be looking to finish the season strongly. Walmley restricted Berkswell to 200 all out at Eldon Drive, with Dominic Ostler scoring 41 and James Neale adding 34 before 92 from Chris Booth and an unbeaten 70 from Andrew Hendry saw Walmley to a victory.
The win takes them above Wolverhampton and Berkswell and one point behind West Bromwich Dartmouth whose alarming loss of form continued with a 48 run defeat at Kidderminster Victoria.
Neil Pinner (65) and Craig Wood (55) scored half-centuries in Kidderminster’s total of 219 for eight with Junead Zaman taking 3-28 for Dartmouth who collapsed to 172 all out after being strongly placed at 109 for one.
This was due to a second wicket partnership between Rawlston Tappin (62) and Basit Zaman (55) but the middle and lower order fell to the spin of Matt Pardoe (3-12) and Pinner (3-34).
Wombourne’s relegation from the Premier Division, after only one season, was confirmed by their defeat at Brockhampton, although they put up a terrific fight before going down by 57 runs.
Chris Boroughs (142) and Henry Langford (88) were, chiefly, responsible for Brockhampton’s mammoth total of 343 for four but Michael Hill (98) and Mark Grant (61) showed plenty of spirit before Ben Stebbings stepped up to take 4-66 to dismiss Wombourne for 286.
Barnt Green’s five wicket defeat at Knowle & Dorridge leaves them looking over their shoulders just 21 points in front of Wolverhampton, who occupy the second relegation slot.
They won’t feel comfortable until they achieve one more victory which never seemed likely at K & D. Skipper Andy Sutton hit an unbeaten 58 to propel Barnt Green to 205 for nine after Will Mottram (4-45) and Ben Coley (3-39) had caused problems early in the innings.
An undefeated 97 from Sam Reddish and 41 not out from David Myers eased K & D into contention for the runners-up spot if Brockhampton slip up at Shrewsbury, next week.
Should that happen, wins for Walsall, K & D, Kidderminster and Himley will bring them all back into the equation but the main focus for the rest of the season will be on the fight to avoid relegation.