SKIPPER Sam Evans put in a captain’s performance as he starred with both bat and ball to lead Cleobury Mortimer to an opening-day win in the Worcestershire League.

Cleobury, returning to the Worcestershire set-up after two seasons in the Marches League, claimed a 73-run over Astwood Bank fourths in their Division Eight curtain-raiser.

The victory owed much to the efforts of Evans (70), who hit almost half of Cleobury’s total of 147 after the early dismissals of opening pair Harry Booton (6) and Gareth Layton (8).

Ben Griffiths (28) played the chief supporting role but Cleobury were all out inside 23 overs, giving themselves a fairly low total to defend.

In the end, they managed that task comfortably with Evans and Booton bagging identical figures of 4-8 as Astwood, whose openers both went for ducks, were skittled for just 74.

Matt Cockbill (49) was the only home batsman to reach double figures, making more than half of his side’s total as Cleobury claimed a comfortable 24-point victory.

Cleobury’s first home game of the season is this Saturday (April 27) when they host Birlingham.

Elsewhere, Tenbury Wells had to settle for a losing draw from their Division Nine opener at home to Ombersley thirds.

After the visitors won the toss and elected to bat, Marcus Griffiths (1-40) removed Ombersley opener and skipper Rob Lightfoot for a duck.

However, George Baldwin (80no) then put on a patient stand with the other opener, Lee Shuck (32), to frustrate Tenbury for a long spell.

Shuck’s dismissal, to Maty Clent’s second catch of the day off the bowling of Jamie Farrar (1-40), triggered an Ombersley blip as Ian Bowkett (2-21) struck twice.

However, Baldwin and Edward McCabe (32no) guided Ombersley to 190-5 from their 45 overs.

That target looked out of reach for Tenbury once they lost their opening three batsmen – Chris Giles (4), Griffiths (2) and Alfie Watts (6) – for just 12 runs between them.

But Bowkett (29), skipper Ben Thompson (18) and Darren Thompson (14) played patiently to earn Tenbury – who visit Himley seconds this Saturday – a losing draw at 96-8 off their 45 overs.