RUN-MACHINE Matt James has struck back-to-back centuries and is urging his Knighton-on-Teme colleagues to seal promotion to the top flight of the GB Liners Marches League.
Scorer Dave Pullen says Knighton face a season-defining trip to Division Two champions Ledbury this Saturday.
Knighton are fourth in the table with just two promotion spots up for grabs after recording a three-wicket home success over third-placed Almeley.
The villagers head to Ledbury this weekend, with Dan Pullen and John Griffiths available, and then play second-placed Woolhope in their final match of the season.
James has followed up his club-recorded innings of 153 with a match-winning 118 not out last weekend and has told his team-mates ‘to bring it on’.
Dave Pullen said: “We knew Division Two would be a much harder division from last season when we started in Division Three and the lads have played very well.
“The lads are quite happy to stay in Division Two but Matt has told the players that he wants to challenge himself in the top flight and to bring on Ledbury and the other big match.”
Sam Siviter snapped up 3-33 and Andy Hipkiss, 3-38 as Matt Jones (68) helped Almeley to 174 all out in last Saturday’s match.
Knighton slipped to 26-4 and appeared in deep trouble until a superb 118 not out from James, with support from Jack Kitchen (10) and Rob Farrar (10) took the villagers home in the 41st over.
“Almeley did not like it very much,” admitted Dave Pullen.
“We were struggling at 2-1 in reply and then 26-4 and we were in deep trouble.
“We knew that Matt James was the only chance we had of winning the match. He batted throughout and talked to all the batsmen when they were out in the middle.
“Tim Gasch used to be an opening batsman but he’s a solid player now and has dropped down the order.
“He put on a 50-run partnership for the eighth wicket with James but just blocked and scored 0 not out. “