LUKE Brace made the most of being promoted to the top of the order with a career-best 171 for Himbleton.

The 26-year-old, whose knock included 18 fours and three sixes, stepped up from the middle order to help lead the villagers to a 104-run win over Old Hill in Worcestershire League Division Four.

Having top-scored with just 31 this term, it was a remarkable change of fortune for the wicketkeeper-batsman, who also took two catches and a stumping as Hill thirds were reduced to 253 all out.

Brace, who wins a £25 Fearnley Factory Shop voucher as our latest player-of-the-week, said: “I was determined to get runs this week.

“It’s the first time I have opened the batting. They said my style was suited to being an opener so they gave me an opportunity and it worked out.

“I was there to build an innings, stay in and be an anchorman because that’s the way I bat and it paid off.

“I just seemed to see the ball very well, it didn’t seem like they were going to get me out and I kept on going for the ball.

“I was more attacking than usual and I was more positive in my game.

“It went really well and I was happy with it. I have made a few 50s but not many centuries.”

Brace, who has been at the club for five years after a spell with Worcester Dominies, added: “I have kept quite well but batting-wise my average was only 20.

“Hopefully, my average will be a lot more after this score and boost my confidence ready for the next game.”

Himbleton climbed to second in the table, 56 points behind Bartestree and Lugwardine but on track for promotion.

Brace helped post an imposing 357-3 after captain Jon Critchlow made the bold decision to declare after 42 overs with Ali Pretty unbeaten on 112.

In reply, Sam Jenkins took four wickets alongside two apiece for Critchlow and George Clifton, while Ronnie Guy took one. Stuart Dickenson ran out the last man.