A STUNNING century from skipper Chris Whelan proved in vain as Stratford’s title challenge suffered a setback with defeat at home to Newport.
Whelan hit 103 in a powerful batting display in their Birmingham League Division Three contest at Swans Nest Lane but Newport edged home on DLS.
When the players left the field due to a downpour, Newport had reached 175-5 from 32.2 overs, in reply to an imposing total of 271 by the home side. The poor weather made it impossible to restart the game and the DLS par score was 174, meaning Newport were five-wicket winners by a single run on DLS.
As a result, the Panthers dropped to fourth place in the table and now lie 39 points behind leaders Stourbridge.
They will need to bounce back on Saturday when they head to Shropshire to face basement side Whitchurch. The hosts, however, chalked up only their second win of the season at the weekend after skittling Redditch for 137.
Having won the toss and batted against Newport, Stratford quickly lost Luke Nardone but an 80-run second-wicket stand between Whelan and Dexter Purser provided a solid foundation.
Purser fell for 42 off 56 balls and two more wickets followed to leave Stratford 92-4 but Whelan and Gareth Langman again rebooted the innings with a 121-run partnership before Whelan fell for a run-a-ball 103, with ten fours.
Langman finished with 66 and Will Noble added 22 as Stratford were finally dismissed for 271 in 49.3 overs. Shabbir Khan was the key wicket-taker with 4-35 off ten overs.
Newport knew quick scoring was essential but they also lost wickets to slip to 97-4.
However, a rapid 60 from Sam Davies off just 27 balls featuring seven fours and four sixes blasted Newport to 167-5 in a 70-run partnership with Khan (10no) and this proved crucial. James Urquhart took 2-57 for Stratford.
Stratford seconds also stuttered as they went down by 37 runs in a low-scoring contest in Second XI Division Two South at Sutton Coldfield.
The hosts were shot out for 108 in 26 overs but Stratford’s innings lasted only 20 overs as they were skittled for 71.
The seconds, who lie fifth, are at home to Streetly on Saturday.
Stratford Bards were crushed by ten wickets at home to Leamington IV in Cotswold Hills League Division Three.
Only openers Nicholas Jones (19) and Barnaby Bos (12) got into double figures as Bards were dismissed for 58 in 24.5 overs, with Antony Sunny taking 4-10 and Rahul Sudkakaran 3-12.
Title-chasing Leamington raced to their target in just 7.2 overs, with Lee Credgington leading the way with 41 not out.
Bottom side Bards head to leaders Adlestrop, who are four points ahead of second-placed Leamington, on Saturday.