NEWLAND and Hewell met in their final Worcestershire Cricket League division five game of the season both knowing that outright victory for either side meant promotion.


Unbelievably for such an important fixture Freeman struggled to field 11 players and had to call upon scorer Dick Hinds to fill the 11th spot. In a tense, if not exciting, match it was Hewell who secured a winning draw but Newland who grabbed the final promotion spot as skipper Freeman guided his side to the higher division ensuring Newland gained sufficient bonus points to pip their opponents.

On winning the toss Freeman asked Hewell to have first use of a damp Newland strip. Progress was slow as Newland immediately found a nagging line and length. Runs were hard to come by wit nine off the first ten overs until Leech struck, still Hewell were circumspect and the second wicket fell in the 22nd over when Blackburn ducked under a Churchill bouncer only for the ball to land on top of the stumps.

Hill lost his off stump to Tenney and at 45 for 3 in the 28th over Newland were on top. Gill walked to the crease and announced his arrival with three successive boundaries but a fourth wicket fell when Freeman took a fine slip catch to dismiss Williams for 17.

Gill and Cooke added much needed impetus before Tenney 4-38 had Gill trapped lbw for 36. Jones (19) and Cooke (26) added 30 rapid runs but the return of Leech (4-41) accounted for both and the rest of the innings fell away to 160 all out with Churchill (2-48) again bowling superbly with little reward.

Newland started off confidently with Birch peppering the boundary until he was caught and bowled to one that popped off Gill who was to bowl unchanged throughout.

Leech, promoted up the order due to work commitments, and Brewer too the score to 42 until Brewer holed out quickly followed by Leech. Tenney took the attack back to the bowlers but the fall of the fourth wicket brought skipper Freeman to the crease and he knew how tight the situation was for his side.

Tenney (24) continued to blast away taking the score to 97 until he was brilliantly caught at cover giving Piper (2-60) his reward. Churchill supported his captain admirably making his best score of the season. The pair had the biggest stand of the innings (37) until Churchill (22) swept across a straight one.

Freeman now knew that a losing draw was good enough for Newland and protected a very fragile tail. Though the score was creeping ever closer to the victory target, Hewell appealed for everything as the atmosphere was turning from tense to ugly. The fall of the seventh wicket meant Newland needed to reach 150, Freeman struck two boundaries off Gill taking Newland to within four runs of victory with four overs to go.

Still refusing to jeopardise his side's promotion gaining position he kept out the dangerous Piper leaving Addison to face Gill. He doggedly kept him out but with promotion assured he was unable to score the winning runs leaving Newland on 157 for 7.

Freeman remained undefeated on 35, whilst Gill had figures of 5 for 69 off 23 overs, both had given their all for their side but it was skipper Freeman who was jubilant.