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Great Form Continues

The scene was set for cricket to take the front-seat on FA Cup Final day, with the sun shining to give us the best weather thus far this season, and the two teams placed at the top of the table to battle it out on a glorious day at Church Road. The visitors from Herefordshire had made the long journey up, and the first battle was lost with Evans winning his fourth toss in a row, and taking a risk by electing to bat first. Manor got off to the worst possible start following some tight bowling from Boroughs (4-56) and Parker (4-55) reduced the home side to 56-4 and then 79-5. Overseas star Christi Viljoen stepped up to the plate with a patient, but aggressive at times knock of 45, who was superbly supported by Iffy Latif (25), making his first appearance of the season. Manor found themselves on the brink of being bowled out for a below par score on 143-8 before the stylish Jason Furnell (28) was joined by young prospect Adam Rana (21) at the crease. The pair put on an impressive partnership of 51 before being out in the final two overs, to see the Squirrels to a competitive 194 all out. Manor dug in extremely well and grafted against an experienced bowling attack, and showed the depth we have in our ranks, but would it be a winning total!?

Brockhamptons reply started strongly, before Viljoen dimissed opener Stebbings with the score at 43-1. The game was in the balance, but everything appeared to be going in the visitors favour until Shozab Haider removed their star man, Chris Boroughs, with a sensational one-handed caught and bowled just millimetres off the ground. Wickets steadily fell, but the visitors score was creeping up towards the Squirrels 194, with opener Nahorniak still at the crease, it took a fine catch from Imran Jamiel to dismiss him to leave the nervy visitors requiring another 109 with 6 wickets remaining. Further wickets from Viljoen (3-52) and two in his first over from Hassan Ansari (2-28) saw the visitors wobble, but the boundaries were still flowing on a quick outfield at Church Road. A first wicket for the club for Mani Sehmbi (1-20) left the visitors on 151-8 with plenty of overs left. Tom Austwick was in fine form for the visitors (35*), but he eventually ran out of partners, with Haider cleaning up the tail with some excellent swing bowling to finish with impressive figures of 15.5 – 4 – 45 – 4.

There were great scenes at the end of the match, with a huge crowd in bouyant mood cheering off the home side, who recorded an impressive 24 point victory to close the gap at the top of the table to 19 points. However, we must not get carried away as third placed Wombourne recorded a huge vistory over Water Orton and are only 3 points behind the Manor. We go away from Church Road for the next two games, away at Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield, and would be great to get some visiting fans along, and keep up the momentum we have steadily built up so far this season.