HALESOWEN slipped a place to fifth in Birmingham League Division One following a losing draw against Water Orton.

But it could all have been so different as the hosts came close to taking victory after a thrilling run chase.

The visitors won the toss and took the bold decision to bat first in a game reduced to 44 overs because of overnight rain.

It was a move which paid off, with opener and skipper Ed Harris hitting 55 to give the innings solid foundation, before 63 from Grant Roscoria helped Water Orton to a total of 244-9 from their allotted overs.

Asif Khan and Dan Jeavons were the pick of the Hales bowling as both took three wickets.

Home openers Khan (8) and Hassan Quami (18) failed to make much of an impression as Hales set about the chase but strong middle order hitting from Shafiq Ahmed (49), Mo Shauib (58) and Phil Croft (44) kept them well in contention.

Skipper Wes Griffiths also struck 25 but in the end the hosts just couldn’t quite keep up with the rate and finished on 237-7, eight runs short of victory.

Dan Jones struck 116 as Coombs Wood picked up a much-needed winning draw at Hagley in Worcestershire League Division One.

In another high-scoring game, Coombs Wood recovered from 28-3 thanks to Jones and Jon MacDonall.

When they latter was out for 43, Jones was joined by Dave Moorcroft who recorded an unbeaten 71 to help the visitors to an impressive 271-5 from 50 overs.

Andy Farmer then gave them the perfect start in the field when he removed Hagley opener Simon James without scoring.

But Joe Lennon (70) and Paul Morgan (40) put on a 115-run stand for the second wicket with some big hitting, before Coombs Wood skipper Mike Langford (4-72) introduced himself into the attack and removed Lennon.

When Stuart Baker (3-40) dismissed Morgan, Hagley’s reply began to falter despite a determined knock from Ben Wooldridge (52) and with late hitting from Bernard Erasmus (20 not out), Hagley finished on 251-8.