CAPTAIN Ryan Tongue will make a welcome return for Barnards Green’s trip to Worcestershire rivals Bromsgrove on Saturday (noon).

The influential opener missed their losing draw against Brockhampton last weekend in Birmingham League Premier Division Two and the previous win over Oswestry. 

With just one place and two points separating Green and Bromsgrove it will be a hotly-contested fixture at St Godwald’s Park. 

In Tongue’s absence, fourth-from-bottom Green gathered 29 out of a possible 44 points.

After a hard-fought, last-over one-wicket victory over Oswestry the Malvern side were unlucky to come up against an in-form former Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell whose 156 helped Brockhampton secure the winning draw.

But Tongue said: “While I was away I was really impressed with the performances.

“They showed the strength and depth of our squad, especially when we beat Oswestry when missing more than half of the first XI.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Saturday against Bromsgrove.

“Both sides have outstanding players so I’m sure it will be a good game.

“There is all to play for as it’s a massive game in terms of positions in the table.”

Brockhampton amassed 279-9 from 55 overs with Param Uppal adding 51.

Phil Harris claimed 2-29 and County professional George Rhodes 2-62.

Rhodes hit 77 in reply and fellow County ace Josh Tongue 42 batting at number five alongside 38 from Harris but Green fell well short on 246-7 from 55 overs.

The second XI host second-placed Netherton at North End Lane in Worcestershire League Division Three on Saturday.

This follows their second victory of the season last weekend at Kempsey when Ben Sutton took 4-53.

Green scored 187-8 from 50 overs with Rob Wilson hitting 40 and Callum Morris 30.

Despite 68 from skipper Chris Jones, Kempsey were bowled out for 164 in 45.4 overs thanks to Sutton and Monzur Ahmed’s 3-32.

The third XI travel to Bromyard in Division 12 South West on Saturday after narrowly failing to reach their target in a close game against Rushwick thirds.

Richard Tolley (122) and Matt Davies (75 not out) starred in Rushwick’s daunting total of 214-1 before Green finished on 205-9 in reply.

Openers Chris Hill (54) and Ollie Davies (63) gave them a solid start but no one could build on the partnership.