STRATFORD are closing in on promotion from Birmingham League Division Three after Saturday’s 140-run win over visitors Water Orton kept their 40-point cushion over third placed Aston Manor intact.
The second placed Panthers were unable to make up any ground on leaders C&R Hawks who also picked up 20 points from their win over Worcester but, with the top two to rise into Division Two, Stratford are very handily placed with four matches remaining, the first of which is the crucial visit of Aston Manor to Swans Nest Lane on Saturday.
Victory in that game will all but clinch promotion for Stratford, who then face a visit to current basement boys Kings Heath on Bank Holiday Monday.
Stratford were restricted to 191-9 off their 50 overs after choosing to bat on Saturday as only Ben Cooper and Ben Pigott, who both made 34, posted scores of note, but the hosts’ total proved more than sufficient as relegation-haunted Water Orton were skittled for just 51 in reply.
Opening bowler Tom Grundy took a superb 4-18 off ten overs and his fellow bowlers Mike Brown, Adrian Witts and James Urquhart all took two wickets apiece as only two visiting batsmen reached double figures in a Water Orton innings which lasted just 22.2 overs.