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Cricket: Bradford leads the way for Wolves; BIRMINGHAM LEAGUE.

Byline: Ged Scott

Wolverhampton have been looking increasingly doomed to relegation for most of the season - but the 1998 Birmingham League champions gave themselves hope of avoiding a second successive drop with an encouraging victory.

It took until the last ball at Danescourt to achieve success against Bromsgrove, with just two wickets to spare, but Richard Bradford's excellent unbeaten 93 earned Wolves a timely first win of the season. Bradford's efforts, well supported by Ben Maddox (64), leaves Wolves still 35 points adrift of safety. But, although the fixture list has not done them any favours by throwing up games against promotion-chasing pair Kenilworth Wardens and Leamington as their next two fixtures, they then face the crux of their season - successive trips to their two main relegation rivals Aston Unity and Smethwick.

Unity and Smethwick were both in action against top three sides on Saturday, showing Wolves how hard it will be, with mixed success.

Smethwick were easily beaten at home to Kenilworth Wardens, for whom Anthony Wilkinson top-scored with an unbeaten 88 in their eight-wicket win, James Jordan (six for 59) having earlier done the damage with the ball.

But Unity, for whom Alex Perkins made 55, did well to hold on for a draw at home to Kidderminster Victoria, Will Gifford (63) and former captain Mark Mansell (60) both hitting half centuries for the leaders.

Luke Parker hit 73 for Stratford to help them move up into fourth place as a result of their two-wicket win at Dorridge, for whom Abdul Hafeez had earlier top scored with 55.

In the day's other Division One game, Simon Gear led the way with 84, supported by 53 from Dillon Dupreez and Stephen Moreton's 48, as Harborne piled up 261 for six at London Road against Shrewsbury.

But, despite all-rounder Moreton performing with the ball too, taking six for 49, young Shropshire duo Jon Whitney (52) and Ed Foster (46) were then the main accumulators as Shrewsbury, still under threat of a second successive relegation themselves, managed to hang on to avoid defeat.

Mike Dean's six-wicket haul helped runaway leaders Sutton Coldfield to a 103-run win at Fordhouses to maintain a storming pace in Division Two. Earlier, Tim Groenewald had top scored with 65 for pace-setting Sutton as the visitors ran up 221 for eight. Nick Breakspeare hit an unbeaten 11 and Danny Bromley made 55 as Walmley won with ease by seven wickets at home to Tamworth to stay second.

Pelsall are third, after Ejaz Yousuf (109), Leigh Parsons (66) and Simon Stevens (57 not out) were all on top form in the 138-run win over Worcester.

It was not a day for the top half sides in Division Three. Veteran Errol Simms, with four for 24, was the key performer as bottom club Olton pulled off one of the shocks of the season, claiming their first win of the campaign after bowling out leaders Penn for just 69.

But second-placed Lichfield could not take advantage, losing by six wickets at home to Evesham, for whom an inspired Neal Radford, the former Worcestershire and England fast bowler, took six for 15. And third-placed Kings Heath also slipped up with a losing draw at Coleshill.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 26, 2004
Words:534
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