ASTWOOD Bank took an important step towards securing mid-table security in the Birmingham and District Football League on Saturday with a five-wicket win over Shropshire-based Newport.
With all of Bank Holiday Monday's games rained off, Bank moved up one spot to seventh in the table, widening the gap over fourth from bottom Milford Hall to 23 points.
Even more importantly, Fordhouses have slipped to fifth from bottom, so are an important buffer against the relegation spots for Astwood.
Victory on Saturday also saw a timely return to form for Brandon Miller, who scored a match winning innings of 78.
Newport had won the toss and elected to bat first. Amardeep Sonkar hit 127 runs off 112 balls as the home side made 234-5 in 50 overs.
After a delay for rain, Bank were given a smaller target for victory and they steady made 191-5 in the 32nd over.
Captain Stephen Adshead got them off to a strong start with 69, forging a 105 run partnership with Miller.
Miller has taken time to settle in but a steady 78 from 69 balls guided Astwood to victory.
"Brandon's got a bit of stick from the lads but it was good to see him score a big innings," commented Adshead.
"Hopefully it will give him a big boost in his confidence and he can score runs late in the season."
Astwood now face mid-table Hawkings C&R on Saturday (noon start).
Adshead added: "The mid-table is getting a bit congested. It would have been better if Fordhouses had beaten Millford because we would have had a 40 point gap over the bottom four.
"But hopefully we can beat Hawkins and drag them into the battle."
Meanwhile in Worcestershire Division One, Redditch were edged out by one wicket by leaders Worceste on Saturday.
Batting first, the Kingfishers made 232-6 in 50 over, with Russell Southwick smashing 137 runs off 132 balls.
After a delay for rain, Worcester had a reduced target for victory but Redditch's bowlers did their best to bowl them out.
Thomas Phelan took four wickets and Gregg Chinn three but Worcester reached 219-9 in 41 overs.
Redditch, who saw Monday's clash against Belbroughton rained off, entertain relegation rivals Bromyard on Saturday (1pm start).
In Division Two, Feckenham got the better of Enville by 76 runs in Division Two.
Enville put the Millers into bat and they made 212 all out in 46 overs, with Jamie Reddish (55), Josh Stacey (32) and Matt Henning (34) among the runs.
Feckenham dismissed Enville for 136, with Henning (3-26) and Matt Grubb (3-36) in good form.
Monday's clash against Worcester Dominies was abandoned without a ball being bowled in anger.
They entertain Lye on Saurday (1pm start).
In Division Three, Alvechurch and Hopwood edged out Netherton by two wickets.
John Pinsent took four wickets and there was two each for Mike Reuben, Edd Rodgers and Anthony Grinty as Netherton were dismissed for 147.
Rodgers then struck 71 runs as Feckenham made 120-8 in a rain affected 29 overs.
Alvechurch, who saw their clash against Ross abandoned on Monday, tackle Stourport at home on Saturday (1pm start).