ED Pollock starred in Barnt Green’s 21-run victory against Kidderminster to keep within sight of second-placed Shrewsbury in the battle for runners-up spot in Birmingham & District Premier Division One.
Pollock’s half-century was the difference in a closely-fought encounter at Cherry Hill Road, with the hosts’ win leaving them 32 points behind Shrewsbury. Runaway title favourites Berkswell sit 76 points clear at the top of the table.
Having reached 212-7, the Green then dismissed Kidderminster for 191, thanks to Andrew Sutton (4-32) and Adam Hines (3-34).
Batting first after Kidderminster elected to field, Warwickshire batsman Pollock (55) and Matthew Lamb (37) opened with 71 to get the hosts off to a strong start before the former was caught.
Jacques Banton fell for 13, but Dominic Harding (43) struck up a third-wicket partnership of 39 with Lamb.
George Hargrave (3) and Rheedyi Amin (0) were both lost in the space of an over as the Green’s run rate faltered, until Tom Brown (18), Sutton (16no) and Darrel Williams (17) added the runs to get over 200.
Kidderminster struggled at the start of their reply, slipping to 21-3 after a couple of early wickets for Hines.
A fourth-wicket partnership of 104 between Sam Beadsworth (32) and Neil Pinner (77) threatened to spark a comeback, but the dismissal of the pair in the space of nine balls dealt the visitors a big setback.
Barney Morgan (20) and Simon Greenall (28) hit 42 between them before the sixth wicket fell.
The dismissal of Morgan, who was caught by Pollock off Sutton’s delivery from the last ball of the 43rd over, was a turning point, however.
It led to the quickfire dismissals of Greenall and Charlie Stainforth (0), both from Sutton deliveries, to leave the visitors 176-8.
It left the final batsmen needing 37 for victory but Barnt Green claimed the match in the space of two balls to open the 47th over.
First running out Liam Weston (13) was run out before Hines bowled Gomez Vincent (0) first ball to wrap up The Green’s seventh victory of the campaign.
A trip to sixth-placed Walsall now awaits them on Saturday (noon).