HIMBLETON’S bid to secure an historic promotion to Worcestershire County League Division Two will have to wait another week after they stumbled to a heavy loss at relegation-threatened Martley.
The defeat means the Meadow Boys still need six points from the final two games to go up.
Martley put Himbleton’s weakened bowling attack to the sword as they amassed 315-8 in their 50 overs having been asked to bat first.
Tom Vale (128) and Alex Basford (102) each hit personal bests as their partnership of 240 not only meant the home side were able to post an impressive total but also denied Himbleton the opportunity to attack the fragile middle and lower order.
Once both batsmen were dismissed, Himbleton picked up four quick wickets with Paul Guy (3-107) and Sean Jenkins (2-63) the only bowling figures of note.
In reply, Himbleton never got going and were quickly reduced to 40-3 before Sean Jenkins (94) and Stuart Dickenson (26) restored some semblance of order.
After Dickenson was dismissed, Jenkins motored on with some brilliant stroke play and with Jamie Alford (34), the pair moved the league leaders to a position from where they could launch a final attack for the win.
Unfortunately, Jenkins fell six short of a deserved century and Alford followed soon after.
Rob Perrins (20) and Luke Brace (17 not out) batted sensibly with the tail to secure maximum batting points.
Captain Dickenson said: “It was a horribly frustrating day.
“The bowlers did a great job on a flat track but on another day the incredible number of half-chances would have gone to hand and we’d have been chasing 150.
“The two centurions made the most of the conditions and batted very well.
“Sean Jenkins batted superbly for us and it was a real shame he didn’t get his hundred.
“I’m confident we can pick up the remaining six points on Saturday.
“Obviously I’d rather do it with a win and not have to rely on bonus points and that would set up a cracking title decider against Kempsey on the last day.”
In the reverse Seconds fixture, the Meadow Boys inched closer to securing the Division Four Second XI crown following a winning draw.
Steve Beavan smashed a stylish 116 not out as the hosts posted 225-6 from their allocated 45 overs.
Martyn Preece then picked up six wickets in reply as Martley were limited to 221-9, despite half centuries from Ashley Jones (52) and Rob Ganderton (60).
The Firsts will look to finally secure promotion on Saturday when they entertain Five Ways Old Edwardians while the Seconds travel to Kidderminster.