BARNT Green booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Kingfisher Beer National Knockout Cup with a nine-run win over Brentwood.
A fine bowling and fielding performance ensured Green bagged victory against the Essex outfit and set-up a clash with winners of Havant versus Teddington at Cherry Hill Road on Sunday, July 29.
Put into bat by the hosts, Barnt Green made a solid start on a tricky wicket, with Thomas Brown (29), Jack Williams (24) and Nathan Newport (12) contributing.
However, after losing Craig Crowe (2) and Nicholas Powell (6), captain Dougie Brown and Keiran Rees steadied the ship with a solid middle order partnership.
Brown hit 28 off 44 balls before being bowled by Joe Buttleman, while Rees’ unbeaten 32 helped guided Green to 180 all out.
The away side’s bowlers then took control. The quartet of Nicholas Powell (3-41), Andy Sutton (1-29), Alastair Pollock (3-38) and Stephen Bevan (2-21) ensured Brentwood’s wickets fell steadily through the innings.
The hosts rallied through Buttleman (27) and James Redwood (34) but Williams and Pollock removed them respectively as Brentwood were bowled out for 171 in the 45th over.
“It was a great performance by the team,” said Brown.
“We thought at first 200 was a good score on that surface, but it was taking spin very well and after we lost a couple of wickets we thought reaching 180 was a good effort.
“Our four bowlers all bowled well and Brentwood lost wickets regularly, they were struggling to meet the run-rate.
“It was also a great fielding performance. The team looked very sharp and Andy Sutton and Jack Williams took some particularly good catches.
“We’ve had a frustrating season with the rain but we’ve made good progression in the cup.
“The club’s got a great track record in this competition, it has been at this stage six times, reached the semi-final four and the final twice.
“Now we’ve got a home game to reach the last four and I hope the village get excited about this run and really back us.”
Victory on Sunday rounded off a satisfying weekend for Green, who also picked up 12 points with a winning draw over Kidderminster Victoria in the Birmingham and District League Premier Division on Saturday in a rain-reduced match.
With the rest of the division rained off again, this allowed the mid-table side to close the gap on teams above.
Powell was the dangerman for Green, taking 5-37 as the hosts made 182-7 in 47 overs, while Worcestershire pair Ben Cox (38) and Neil Pinner (59) top-scored for KVCC.
In reply, James Ord’s 62 not out provided the back bone of Green’s success as the wickets tumbled around him.
After another break for rain, Green needed a revised total of 127 to take the lion’s share of the points, with Brown (25) and Powell (15) adding important late runs.
Barnt Green will be hoping to keep the pressure on leaders Walsall when they welcome them home on Saturday (noon start).
The Black Country side boast a 48-point lead over the 2011 champions but Brown wants his team to take their chance to reel them in.