KNIGHTON climbed clear of the Marches League Division Two drop zone following their brilliant nine-wicket demolition job on Eastnor.

And it was strike bowler Jack Brain who proved the match winner, taking 7-27 from 12 excellent overs to put his side firmly on course for victory.

Eastnor skipper Sam Beale was the only man to offer any resistance but also fell to Brain having scored a vital 75 out of his side’s total of 118. Richard Smith (3-10) was also among the wickets as he cleared out the tail-end.

Smith also played a key role with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 22 as the home side eased their way to 124 with the loss of just one wicket.

But it was opener Matt James who led the charge with his unbeaten 78 ensuring he carried his bat throughout.

At the other end of the table, Cleobury Mortimer had to settle for a winning draw at Ledbury even though opener Nick Griffiths handed them the perfect start with a majestic 135 including 17 fours and 5 sixes. Skipper Ed Kemp added 56 as the visitors chalked up 285-5 from their 45 overs.

Kemp (3-60) and Oliver Rowland (3-43) then kept the wickets tumbling as Ledbury looked to claw their way into contention.

Josh Evans led the way with a resolute 91 and Tom Wills (63) and Paddy Merryman (32) also chipped in for the home side until a handful of wickets looked like securing the win for Cleobury.

But the hosts held on for a draw, rooted on 234-9 at the close.

Cleobury and Knighton go head-to-head on Saturday with the hosts looking for revenge after Knighton claimed an 18-run victory when the sides met in May.