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Whitchurch win by 2 wickets

1st XI
Birmingham League Division Three
Aston Manor 186 all out (48.5 overs)
Whitchurch 187-8 (60.4 overs)

Aston Manor’s promotion hopes were further dented by defeat in a tense and controversial encounter in Shropshire.

There had been no suggestion of the drama to follow as Manor openers Kamran Zaman (41) and Tom Caulfield (18) gave the visitors a solid start reaching 53 before the first wicket fell. Manor’s innings then collapsed to 126-8 in the face of some fine bowling from Yaqoob Yousof (4-36) and former Manor professional Mohammad Hasnain (4-39) coupled with some unfortunate Umpiring decisions. At least four Manor batsmen had reason to be disappointed by their dismissals, and it required some fine late resistance from Shozab Haider (27) and Imran Khan (20no) to see their side through to a reasonable total of 186.

The hosts were able to claim Manor’s unused overs, meaning that they had a full 61 overs to reach their target rather than the normal 55. Whitchurch batsmen would also have felt aggrieved about two of their dismissals as excellent bowling from Masood Iqbal (17-4-42-3) and Imran Khan (17-5-51-2) had them reduced to 62-5 at one stage. Andy Jones (45) steadied the ship, but Manor still looked favourites to gain at least a winning draw as tight bowling and keen fielding meant that the hosts still required in excess of 50 from the last 5 overs to win. Ijaz Yousaf (56no), who had earlier retired after being hit by a new ball delivery, came back to bat against the old ball and saw his side to an unexpected victory with two balls to spare taking 14 runs from the last over.

This was a hard pill for the Manor players to accept after their earlier grievances, but it must all be put behind them as they need to return to winning ways quickly after two successive defeats.