THE next four weeks could be crucial to Tenbury Wells’ promotion push in Worcestershire League Division Nine, admits stand-in skipper Tom Pugh.

Fourth-placed Tenbury, winners by five wickets at Ombersley thirds last Saturday, face the division’s bottom four teams – Himley, Alveley, Himbleton and Stourbridge – in their next four fixtures.

In a tight promotion race, in which the top five teams are separated by just 15 points, Tenbury could steal a march on their rivals over the next month.

Pugh said: “We know we are playing some sides towards the bottom and we are really hoping we can get ahead of the game.

“If we can get four wins out of four with these games being win/loss then it puts pressure on the other teams around us.

“We have been frustrated by a couple of these teams in the win, lose or draw scenario previously – there have been a couple we couldn’t bowl out.”

Tenbury once again displayed their bowling brilliance on Saturday, despite the continued absence of skipper Rob Farrar, as they bowled Ombersley out for 112.

Jonathan Duce (2-29) took two early wickets, aided by catches from Nigel Payne and Jim Yeomans, before Jamie Farrar (2-10) and Ian Bowkett, with stunning figures of 4-5, demolished the hosts.

In reply, Tenbury batted patiently in the face of an excellent Ombersley attack and although Pugh fell for 11, Chris Giles (33) and Bowkett (29) took them to the brink of victory.

David Hunt (8no) then dispatched boundaries off successive balls to see Tenbury home at 113-5 but having only passed 200 once all season Pugh knows improvements with the bat are needed.

Tenbury have been indebted to individual performances in recent weeks and Pugh said: “We are quite lucky that even though we have been suffering with inconsistency, we have players who can pull something out of the bag.

“We haven’t been as strong with our batting as our bowling and it’s an area of concern.

“We have been very fortunate our bowlers have restricted the opposition to very low, chaseable totals, or managed to limit them so they can’t chase down whatever score we have put on the board.

“We have missed Rob Farrar and to think we have him to come back makes me more confident we will continue to restrict any team to a low total.”

Cleobury Mortimer will be equally bullish about their promotion hopes in Worcestershire League Division Eight after an eight-wicket win over Astwood Bank fourths.

Skipper Sam Evans (4-41) and Oliver Green (3-27) dismissed Astwood for 122, a total that would have been far fewer if not for all-rounder Edward Johnson’s 44.

Ed Kemp (36no), Michael Green (27no) and James Manley (26) ensured Cleobury cruised home at 124-2 inside 19 overs in reply.