WEST Malvern lost to Avoncroft by 13 runs in Worcestershire Cricket Board Indoor League Division Two at Royal Grammar School Worcester.
Without most onlookers realising, Avoncroft posted a challenging total of 139-3 with only five players present.
Mark Whitehead (42 not out) and Tom Murray (24) produced an opening partnership that set the tone with the former retiring in the sixth over with the score already on 50-0.
Murray was run-out just short of retiring but, although Ben Warwick (6) was soon lbw to Rowan Dakin, another partnership between Paul Athey (13) and Adam Rodway (30no) developed.
Athey was run-out to bring Whitehead back to the crease and further add to the useful total.
It was then discovered Avoncroft were a man short which must have encouraged West Malvern, who have a history of chasing down big totals to win.
A good start was made by Pete O’Connell (21) and Kevin Gilbert (21) but both departed on the cusp of the sixth over with the score on 51 and up with the rate.
The next two kept the runs ticking over through Will Jones (31no) and Ben Tanner (16) with Dakin (13no) chipping in.
On 108 at the end of the 10th over, exactly the same as Avoncroft, West looked in a position to take advantage of their opponents’ missing fielder but, in contrast, scored only four in the 11th over to Avoncroft’s 13 and the seal was set as they finished on 126-4. Meanwhile, Old Vigornians (59 all out) lost to Rushwick (60-0) in the seventh over as the Worcester side’s batting folded.
Steve Emson picked up 2-21 and Ian Turner bowled Chris Drew following a couple of unnecessary run-outs, including Osman Fiaz (13).
Rushwick’s target of 60 was achieved without fuss against opponents resigned to their fate with nearly six overs remaining.
Ian Turner retired with 25, Jo Davies ended on 11no and Jo Blain 12no.
In Division One, Old Elizabethans (126-4) beat Cutnall Green (125 all out) by one run with two balls remaining.
Green again ended an exciting game without the points, losing by the smallest margin.
Worcester Dominies (127-4) beat Martley (89 all out) by 38 runs with two overs remaining in the other Division One clash.