OMBERSLEY continued their relentless pursuit of promotion to the Birmingham and District Cricket League Premier Division.

The Division One leaders Ombersley extended their lead at the top of the table to a daunting 48 points following an eight-wicket win at Smethwick.

Closest challengers Wolverhampton hung on for a draw at Harborne and third-placed Bromsgrove slipped to defeat at Worcestershire rivals Barnards Green.

The results enabled Wellington to close the gap on second-placed Wolverhampton to eight points and, on current form, look the likeliest side to accompany Ombersley into the top tier.

Smethwick won the toss and decided to bat at Broomfield but may have regretted that decision after Ted Bayliss took 5-22 as they were dismissed for 112.

In reply, an unbeaten 42 for Ollie Steele and 40 from Freddie Wynn saw the title favourites canter to victory and they need three more wins from their final six games to secure the title.

Ash Newdick hit 75 and Jayden Levitt scored 54 in a Bromsgrove total of 243-8 at Barnards Green but the home side cruised to a six-wicket win after Andrew Curtis scored 104 and former Gloucestershire all-rounder Mark Hardinges finished unbeaten on 88.

With 120 points up for grabs when the 50-over win or lose format returns this weekend, the chase for the Premier Division title has developed into a three-horse race.

West Bromwich Dartmouth’s failure to defeat struggling Walsall left them vulnerable to a strong challenge from Berkswell and Barnt Green, who earned 24-point wins against Brockhampton and Dorridge respectively.

After slipping to 93-4 against Brockhampton, second-placed Berkswell recovered to finish on 273-7 thanks to former Warwickshire duo Darren Maddy (106) and Dominic Ostler (42).

Maddy’s century came from 99 balls and he took two wickets as Brockhampton crumbled to 116 all out.

David Brignull (3-39) and Nick James (3-28) did most of the damage and Tanvir Ahmed also took two wickets to add to his 30 in the Berkswell innings.

Chris Powell top-scored with 39 for Brockhampton, who slipped to fifth place in the table.

Although Barnt Green remain outsiders for the title, they remained in contention thanks to a five-wicket win over Dorridge, who were dismissed for 149 after electing to bat first.

Oli Haley scored 60 for Dorridge but their attack had no answer to an onslaught from Ed Pollock, who crashed an unbeaten 72 as Barnt Green raced to victory in the 24th over of their response. Nathan Myers took 3-57 for Dorridge.

Kenilworth Wardens moved three places up the table following an easy eight-wicket success over Kidderminster Victoria, who have still not thrown off the threat of relegation.

Worcestershire’s Matt Pardoe hit 85 but Kidderminster were bowled out for 177 by Sitanshu Kotak (4-45) and Anthony Wilkinson (4-55) before an unbeaten 68 from Scott Stenning and 42 from Keith Bell eased Wardens away from immediate danger. Leamington Spa remain firm favourites to take the Division Two title but second-placed Penkridge have been unable to shake off the challenge of Stourbridge and Attock, who earned wins over Old Elizabethans and Water Orton.

Stourbridge completed an impressive eight-wicket win over Worcester side Old Elizabethans, who were helped to 226-8 by 80 from Joe Taylor and 59 from Johann Smit.

Bilal Hassan took 6-58 for Stourbridge before they were steered to victory by Steve Game (95), Audy Alexander (65 not out) and Alex Bingham (61).

Although Halesowen and Water Orton occupy the bottom two places, Tamworth, Coventry and NW and Eastnor remain within reach with the latter two involved in a high-scoring draw at Binley Road.

Atiq Ur Rehman stroked 132 for Eastnor and he received good support from David Waters (62) in a total of 297-8.

Matt Pickering (4-62) and Harry Horsley (4-66) posed the main threat for Coventry and NW, who came back with 267-9 in an innings reduced to 48 overs after a storm during the tea interval.

Pickering (53) and Chris Ngoepe (50) recorded half-centuries with Suleyman Shah taking 4-40 for Eastnor.

In Division Three, victories for Astwood Bank and Milford Hall plus a losing draw for Fordhouses means the last relegation place will almost certainly come from those three clubs after the bottom three all suffered defeats.

Basement boys Penn were dismissed for 109 at fifth-from-bottom Astwood Bank with Dan Taylor taking 4-28 before his side completed a routine seven-wicket win to move within seven points of Fordhouses, who were involved in a high-scoring draw at Hawkins C and R.