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Tense finale in store

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Ben Smith

Ben Smith's 86 ruins K & D's day

The 2010 Birmingham Premier Division season is heading for a tense and exciting finish after a fascinating set of results saw Knowle & Dorridge dislodged from pole position with just one week remaining.

K & D's demise followed their losing draw to Himley while Walsall clung on to their dwindling survival hopes with a winning draw against Kenilworth Wardens.

Even bottom club Walmley could escape the trap-door if they beat Wolverhampton next week and Walsall take less than eight points at Himley.

At the top, Shrewsbury lead Kidderminster Victoria and K & D by a single point and the Shropshire side travel to Vics next week for a showdown that will almost certainly decide who takes the title.

Reigning Champions K & D travel to Wellington, where they will have to gamble on taking 24 points to retain their crown.

Even then, they may be disappointed if either Kidderminster or Shrewsbury equal their points total on the day.

Worcestershire’s Ben Smith hit 86 and Dan Bassett added 44 as much improved Himley took the K & D attack for 254 for nine at Station Road.

Cobus Pienaar (4-36) and Will Mottram (3-90) were the successful bowlers for K & D but their batsmen were unable to respond finishing on 202 for nine thanks to 48 from former Warwickshire batsman Luke Parker and 40 from Pienaar.

Tejinder Pal Singh (4-35) and Chris Tranter (4-58) did the damage for Himley who dispelled any lingering relegation fears but they will remain in the thick of the action next week when they attempt to turn the tables on Walsall who defeated them by 10 wickets earlier in the season.

Shrewsbury’s win over Wolverhampton took them to the top of the table but their opponents will need to defeat Walmley next week to ensure their safety.

Stalwarts Dave Manning (70) and Simon Lycett (56) hit half-centuries as Wolverhampton made a competitive 226 for seven but Shrewsbury were hampered by the loss of Overseas Player Paul Donaldson to injury, in his fourth over.

Elliot Green took 3-50 while Ed Foster, restricted by an injured toe, stepped in to take 2-23 in place of Donaldson.

In reply, a splendid 116 from 159 balls by Ryan Bishop and an unbeaten 72 from Joe Leach saw Shrewsbury to victory by six wickets with nine balls remaining.

Kidderminster were inserted at Smethwick, and fought their way to 187 all out thanks to Craig Wood (54) with his third half-century in three innings, and Matt Pardoe (42).

Former Kiddi man Vishal Bhatia returned to haunt his old team-mates with 6-42 but fellow left-armer Mark Mansell proved to be the Worcestershire outfit’s trump card with
6-18 as Smethwick, who could still be relegated, were tumbled out for 105.

Moseley, who face Smethwick at home next week are still not mathematically safe from relegation even though they returned from Walmley with 24 points.

Jason Robinson top scored with 31 as Moseley struggled to 156 for eight but Walmley had no answer to Usman Awan who spun his way to 6-15 as Walmley collapsed to 114 all out.

Walsall appeared to be heading for the exit door when they struggled to 57 for four against Wardens but a magnificent stand of 142 for the fifth wicket between skipper Paul Wicker (101) and 17 year-old Alex McChristie (57) took them to a more than respectable 217 for six, Wicker falling to the last ball of the innings after completing his maiden League century.

In reply, James Ord hit 62, but Wardens, who could still go down if Walsall and Wolverhampton win next week and they fail to pick up more than four points, showed little inclination to chase and finished on 149 for six, with Wicker adding 2-32 from 15 overs to add to his sterling effort with the bat.

Barnt Green and Wellington, who are both comfortably placed in the top half of the table clashed at Cherry Hill Road and it was the home team who came out on top after Wellington were dismissed for 124.

Wendell Wagner (48) helped them recover from 21 for four but Steve Wheeler (4-31) was not to be denied.

Nathan Newport hit an unbeaten 65 as Barnt Green romped to a seven wicket success and all six games next week have something on them which will affect either the top or the bottom of the table.