JACK Donovan was stopped just six runs shorts of 150 as Ross returned to the top of Division Two of the Marches Cricket League.

Donovan could not have chosen a better for such an incredible knock as Ross faced Almeley in a first against second game.

The leaders won the toss and put Ross into bat in Saturday’s game at The Park.

Ross did not get off to the best of starts, finding themselves two wickets down with just 14 runs on the board.

Stuart Mair was bowled by Brian Dyer for three to make it 9-1 and then Ben Element was caught leg before by the same bowler and Ross were 14-2.

That brought together what turned out to be a match-winning partnership between Angus McIntyre and Donovan.

They put on a massive 203 for the third wicket.

Donovan would also have a massive impact with the ball as the top wicket taker of the afternoon.

The first to go was McIntyre and by that time, the home side had amassed 217 runs

He was caught and bowled by Oliver Huighes for a 68 that included 10 fours.

Donovan was the fourth Ross wicket to fall the score having only advanced by eight runs.

His innings of 144 included 21 boundaries and three sixes and left Ross on 225-4.

Although an impressive figure, Donovan’s 144 is not the highest by a Ross player this season.

That honour goes to Saturday strike partner Angus McIntyre who hit 173 – including 24 fours – in the win over Ledbury last month.

Thomas Edwards and Josh Element saw out the remaining overs to set Almeley a target of 229.

The visitors could not get any rhythm as they lost wickets in tandem.

Two for one became 2-2 and then 45-3 became 45-4.

The fifth wicket fell on 63 but six and seven both went on 68.

The last three wickets could only manage 29 runs between them and the visitors had been dismissed for 107, some 121 runs short of the target.

Donovan took five wickets, conceding just 18 runs from his spell of 10 overs, half of which were maidens.

Josh Element claimed two wickets, returning with 2-22 off 8.1 overs.

Chloe Tingle was not far behind Donovan in terms of economy.

Half her 10 overs were maidens and her figures were 1-19.

Adam Parkes also claimed a wicket and returned 1-35.

There were catches for Angus McIntyre, Adam Parkes and Jim Lewis while Josh Element caught one of his own deliveries.

Stuart Mair was on target for a run out and there were successful shouts for lbw from Donovan and Parkes.

Ross picked up 20 points against two for the visitors which means Ross are now on 244 points overall.

Almeley are 10 points behind Ross with just one match to go.

With Ross 26 points ahead of third-placed Hay-on-Wye, it means the Herefordshire side are guaranteed promotion and could seal the championship on Saturday.

Ross travel to Builth Wells Seconds, who are in seventh, while Almeley entertain fifth-placed Knighton-on-Teme.