STRATFORD had to settle for a losing draw in Saturday’s key Birmingham League Division Two fixture at Oswestry.
The visitors lost the toss and were put into the field and found themselves on the end of a fine innings from opener Warrick Fynn, who carried his bat for an unbeaten 154.
The 157-ball innings featured 14 fours and six sixes and was ably supported by Joe Carrasco’s 80 as 177 was put on for the first wicket.
The Panthers did well to keep the hosts’ score below 300 as Dane Kirby took 3-38 off eight overs and Perry Derrick 2-68 off 17 to limit Oswestry to 280-5 off their 55 overs.
Stratford’s reply began poorly as openers Yasser Sirdar and Rob West fell cheaply, but John Price (78) and David Bailey (57) then dug in to put on 107 for the third wicket.
However, the visitors were never up with the required run rate to chase victory despite a fluent unbeaten 43 off 52 balls from Derrick and their innings closed on 215-6.
Stratford earned seven points for their efforts but dropped back to second bottom below Coventry & North Warwickshire, who are now third from bottom and nine points above the Panthers following their winning draw at Old Elizabethans.
Oswestry and C&R Hawks sit 19 and 20 points respectively above Stratford with six matches remaining as the sides battle to avoid joining the seemingly doomed Stourbridge in suffering relegation.
Stratford have a fine chance to improve their survival chances on Saturday when they host Stourbridge, who have won just one league game this season.