SKIPPER Richard Sugden says his side never gave up hope, as Himbleton chased down Astwood Bank Second’s total of 309 with five balls to spare to win a 600-run thriller in Worcestershire County League Division Two.
James Pyatt (94) and Adam Warbrick (52) hit fine totals for the visitors, but were ultimately condemned by the big-hitting Jamie Alford (90no) who built on the early runs of Sugden (65) to guide the Meadow Boys to victory.
Sugden paid tribute to the impact of Alford, and was thankful to have his batsmen on top form.
“It was a special run chase to be involved in,” he said.
“I knew at the halfway stage that we had the fire power to chase over 300 – it was just a case of believing that we could do it.
“Jamie’s knock was absolutely outstanding and shows what a talent he is.
“I felt we left 30 or 40 runs in the field but thankfully the batsmen played to their full potential, but now all eyes are on our next game.”
Batting first, Astwood Bank slipped to 13-2 after losing opener Jake Browning (12), caught by Alford off a Jeremy Pilgrim (4-66) delivery, and Michael Desmond (0), before recovering to reach 57-3.
A stand of 72 then followed before the fourth wicket, with Pyatt accumulating the bulk of the runs alongside the departing Alex Robinson – who was bowled by Jon Critchlow (3-50).
Pyatt was next to go for the fifth wicket when caught by Alastair Pretty from a Critchlow ball, preventing him from reaching a century.
Number seven Tom Shepherd (6) was lost cheaply, but a partnership of 59 between Warbrick and Joel Haslam (39) followed.
Warbrick’s dismissal preceded two cheap wickets as Astwood Bank fell to 267-9 with five overs remaining, though the unbeaten partnership of 42 between Daniel Brookes (11) and George Haslam (31) took the visitors over the seemingly unassailable 300-run-mark.
The dismissals of Critchlow (12) and Alastair Pretty (0) put Himbleton under pressure at 31-2, so a stand of 84 between Tom Godwin (25) and Sugden was welcomed.
Tom Godwin was gone at the third wicket, with Sugden next to follow at 128-4, though the run chase was resumed by a partnership of 52 from Sean Jenkins (23) and Alford.
William Godwin (1) lasted a short spell after being run out, but Richard Pretty (27) helped take Himbleton to 240-7 before he was dismissed.
It was then up to Alford to find the necessary runs, doing just that alongside Jeremy Pilgrim (10no) to earn the Meadow Boys a memorable victory with five balls remaining.
Himbleton next visit Brockhampton Seconds on Saturday (noon), with hopes of furthering their ascent up the table.