SKIPPER Mike Brown ripped through Astwood Bank’s batting order with a magnificent seven-wicket haul as Stratford strengthened their promotion charge.
Brown finished with 7-39 off 13.5 overs as hosts Bank were skittled for 153 in Saturday’s Birmingham League Division Three fixture.
Dutch one-day international Ben Cooper then top scored with a quickfire 41 to steer the Panthers to a six-wicket win.
Stratford, who are at home to Streetly on Saturday, remain second in the table, 13 points behind leaders C&R Hawks but 30 clear of third placed Fordhouses.
Brown was man of the match but fellow opening bowler Tom Grundy sparked the winning performance by taking two wickets in the first over, leaving Bank 0-2 after snapping up the wickets of Alex Robinson and Matt MacDonald.
Brown then sent back Ryan Blakemore and Bank captain Steve Adshead to leave Bank 32-4 before Tom Pedley set about a recovery act.
He was unbeaten with 70 off 142 balls but only Joel Haslam (25) stayed with him for any period, sharing a 69-run stand for the fifth wicket, before Brown tore through the lower order batsmen to end the innings on 153 in the 48th over.
An opening partnership of 50 between Dexter Purser (32) and Harry Adams (26) provided a solid platform for Stratford’s reply and, although Rob West (17) and Adams fell with the score on 82, Cooper was soon in dominant form.
Chris Whelan departed for 5 to leave the Panthers 99-4 but Ben Pigott (26no) joined Cooper to steer the visitors home in the 42nd over.