ASTWOOD Bank successfully maintained their slender advantage in the Worcestershire County League Division One title battle after they saw off relegated Droitwich by 51 runs on Saturday.

A tenth victory of the season ensured they kept their one point lead over second-placed Hagley, who rose their luck to beat Redditch by a single run.

Victory was inspired by captain Steve Adshead, who struck 150 runs off 119 balls.

The home side started steadily before losing Sam Thomas with the score on 28 caught at cover after the ball stuck in the wicket.

Adshead and number three Tom Pedley then went about building the score, capitalizing on anything lose and running hard between the wickets moving the total to 123 before Pedley was caught for a well played 35.

Vince Valente added 61 with the skipper before he fell LBW for 21 in leg spinner Jake Youngs first over.

In the 41st over Adshead passed 100 at which point he decided to move up a gear before also falling to Young caught on the boundary for 150 off 119 balls having struck 19 fours and four sixes and taking only 17 deliveries to register the last 50 runs.

Andy Alexander struck two boundaries before being stumped of Young for 11 which brought brother Pete to the crease who raced to 20 of only 10 balls before ending up Young’s fourth victim.

After only 46 overs and at 258-6 the Bank declared knowing they may need more time to dismiss the visitors on a rapidly drying surface.

Droitwich started brightly with South African overseas player Mauritz Van Straten taking the attack to the bowlers moving the score to 42 before Tom Harris removed his partner Gary Cartwright for nine.

The introduction of Adam Watsons extra pace turned things in the Banks favour as he pushed Van Straten back before bowling him through the gate for his maiden Saturday first team scalp.

With the experienced Jon Summers joining the attack at the other end the runs started to dry up and it wasn’t long before he pinned Jake Young lbw plumb in front for 17 soon followed by bowling captain Max Young for a well played 58.

With the score at 143-4 and Droitwich stalwart Paul Bryan at the crease the game was still in the balance but when off spinner Andrzej Jagielski bolwed him for one the home team sensed things swing their way.

Rhys John held things up with 34 but Summers removed Ash Fearnall for a duck before three excellent catches killed the visitors off.

First Adshead dived one handed to catch Mike Rogers inches from the floor off the bowling of Watson, next Summers finally removed John with Jagielski taking the chance over his shoulder, followed by a fine one-handed catch by Watson off his own bowling as Adam Crowle smashed it back at him.

With the score 207 Watson bowled Karl Goddard to seal the win by 51 runs and secure the 24 points finishing with 4-39 while Summers collected 4-53.

On Saturday, Bank travel to mid-table Worcester and will be looking to extend their lead at the top (1.30pm start).