EASTNOR dealt an unexpected blow to Stourbridge's hopes climbing the Birmingham and District Premier League ladder last Saturday.

They beat home side Stour by six wickets in a match that went right to the wire.

Eastnor put Stour in on a good batting track and faced a challenging total.

Stourbridge openers Alex Bingham (20) and Steve Game (14) were both dismissed by Sajid Ali. The mantle was then taken up by skipper Richard Bradley and overseas star Audy Alexander from the 18th over.

They took the score from 48 for 2 to 148 for 3 when Bradley nicked behind off the bowling of Tareq Jamil with 15 overs remaining.

Thoughts of accelerating the run rate receded as Eastnor took the wickets of Josh Banks and Matt Bradley in quick succession.

Banks fell to Shameer Ahmed for nine and Matt Bradley was out lbw for two with 47 of the 55 overs used up.

Alexander and Jitesh Jivan-Patel took the score past 200 and regained some of the initiative. Alexander was caught on 100 taking the Stour score to 236 in the 53rd over off the bowling of Atiq Ur Rehman.

He had batted for two and half hours, posted 12 fours and reached the ton off 109 balls. Patel (35) and Greg Jones (4) remained not out as Stour posted 250. Sajid Ali ended with three for 72 off his full 17 over spell.

In Eastnor’s knock, pace man Ali Shah struck the first blow by deceiving Andrew Fisher to have him caught for 12. From the other end, Matt Bradley had Sunil Rahi brilliantly caught in the gully for 11 with Jitesh Jivan-Patel holding on to a tough chance.

Stour were on top with the opposition two down for 29 off six overs. When Arshad Hussain retired hurt, Eastnor were left with a mountain to climb.

Number four Atiq Ur Rehman and number five Faisal Khalid formed a stubborn partnership taking the score to 119. The left and right combination resisted all that Stour threw at them until finally Jitesh Jivan-Patel had Khalid caught in the covers for 44 in the 30th over. Relieved at breaking a winning combination Stour faced another challenge, this time from well in and cautious Rehman and Shahid Ahmed.

Shahid took on the role of the aggressor smashing boundaries at will. Alexander’s leg spin was treated with some respect and it was he who took the wicket of Rehman caught on the boundary for 96 taking his team to a score of 211 with the Belligerent Shahid still at the crease.

Rehman batted for nearly three hours and displayed a master class in survival. The window of opportunity for Stour at getting rid of Rehman was soon shut down by Shahid smashing 71 to ensure his side strolled home with two balls to spare.