HIMBLETON continued their impressive start to the new Worcestershire County League Division Three campaign with a winning draw at Rushwick.
The Meadow Boys showed their positivity by batting first but started poorly as Ricky Pretty (7) and Harry Stokes (5) were quickly dismissed by the hosts’ opening attack of Chris Davies (2-46) and Ben Bromage (1-11).
But Alistair Pretty (104) once again showed the importance to the side as he was the architect of the rebuild, but as further wickets around him fell, Himbleton found themselves in trouble at 80-4 from 25 overs.
Both Sean Jenkins (14) and Jamie Alford (10) failed once more as both fell to poor shot selection as it looked like the visitors to post a competitive total.
However, Pretty produced his best innings for many seasons as his chanceless century, which included 17 boundaries with 3 maximums, pushed the Meadow Boys towards the 200 mark.
He was fantastically supported by captain Stu Dickenson (54) whose quick-fire half century contributed heavily in the fifth wicket stand of 113.
Himbleton’s strength in depth was evident as the dismissal of Dickenson brought Mike Rogers (33) to the crease and he took little time in punishing a tiring Rushwick attack as the Meadow Boys finished their innings on 256-7.
Rushwick’s sluggish reply saw Rogers (1-7) remove John Ingles (5) in the fifth before the home side were pegged back even more by a reduced Himbleton bowling attack.
Sammy Jenkins was brilliant in his efforts and deserved more than his single wicket in his 12 over contribution while Jamie Alford bowled with real grit in his two spells which saw him pick up two wickets for 43 runs from his 15 overs.
George Clifton also picked up two wickets, including Niwantha Indima with the ball of the day which nipped back to remove his leg stump.
Rushwick remained stubborn and Himbleton were unable to bowl them out with the home side comfortably finishing on 154-7.
Stu Tipper made the biggest contribution of the innings with an unbeaten 30.
Himbleton skipper Dickenson said: “We’ve had a confident start to the new season and I’m pleased with the response from the players to the new regime.
“We dominated the game and I’m frustrated we didn’t get the win we deserved.
“Fair play to Rushwick though, they were resilient but it made for a dull game.”
Next up for Himbleton is a home clash against Alvechurch & Hopwood on Saturday afternoon.
“They are odds-on favourites for promotion but if the lads keep performing as they have done we can provide a stern challenge,” Dickenson added.
“We’re pretty much at full strength. However, we’ll miss the consistency of Sam Jenkins but I know the likes of George Clifton will step up.”