A SPLENDID century from Max Young almost led Droitwich Spa to an improbable victory at second placed Coombs Wood as the underdogs eventually held on for a well-deserved losing draw in Worcestershire County League Division Two.
Opening the batting, Young stood firm as the visitors slipped to 21-3 in response to the imposing 295-5 posted by their opponents.
A fourth wicket stand of 85 with skipper Ian Cottrill (42) put Spa back in the hunt before two more wickets swung the game in Coombs Wood’s favour once more.
At 123-6 off 30 overs, 15-year-old Matt Gurr entered the fray and provided the perfect foil to support Young, who was now starting to dominate the bowling.
With Gurr rotating the strike as well as finding the boundary himself, Spa sensed a remarkable win was achievable if Young could stay in to the end but he fell in the 42nd over for a brilliant 113 – his second ton of the summer.
Gurr was dismissed with three overs left for an excellent 41, but the last pair held firm as Droitwich closed on 253-9.
Earlier, in benign batting conditions, Coombs Wood’s initial assault on the new ball was halted by Young and Martyn Davies picking up a key wicket apiece.
Dan Jones then joined opener Nathan Langford and the pair added 111 for the third wicket as Spa’s bowling offered little threat.
Jones looked set for a big score and it was a surprise when he fell for a powerful 69 and Langford soon followed for a steady 66.
Any chance of gaining control though was quickly extinguished as Ijaz Riaz raced to 75 and was well supported by Stuart Baker as 88 brisk sixth wicket runs took Coombs Wood to 295-5 – 35 extras not helping the Spa cause.
In the reverse fixture in Division One Second XI, Spa sunk their high-flying opponents by six wickets, thanks to a superb bowling display which shot out their opponents for a meagre 122.
Coombs Wood had no answer to Ajay Kumar who picked up three wickets and was well supported by Oli Sankey and Jonny Keen – the latter claiming two scalps in his first over.
There were one or two alarms in the Spa reply before the experienced pair of Martin Keen and Rhys John saw their side home in the 34th over.
In the penultimate round of fixtures on Saturday, the Firsts will be looking to help secure a top-five finish when they entertain sixth-placed Enville.
The Seconds travel to Feckenham.