STRATFORD played their part in two roller-coaster bank holiday contests in Birmingham League Division Three – losing one and winning one to end the extended weekend in fourth place.
However, with just three matches remaining, their hopes of a top two finish and promotion are all but over as they sit 40 points adrift of second place heading into Saturday’s visit of Old Hill.
Fortunes swayed to and forth against visitors Milford Hall on Saturday. At 33-7, in reply to Stratford’s 146-6 from 34 overs, the game looked as though it had gone for Milford Hall but an unbeaten 64 from skipper Kevin Royce and 34 from Chris Dean saw the Staffordshire club to a two-wicket victory.
They put on 93 for the eighth wicket after a superb opening spell from Archie Walker had produced figures of 5-23.
Dexter Purser hit 52 for Stratford, while Mark Thompson picked up 3-14 for Milford.
Stratford were made to work extremely hard for their two-wicket victory over Lichfield on Monday despite removing the home side for 86.
Home openers Will Davies (22) and Rich Taylor-Tibbott (15), shared a 49-run opening stand but once the first wicket fell the innings collapsed completely.
Tom Whitting took 4-18 for the Panthers and there were two wickets apiece for James Urquhart, Sam Douthwaite and Purser.
However, a devastating spell of 7-30 from James Wilkinson reduced the former Premier Division champions to 64-8 in reply.
When his ten-over spell was complete though, the Stratford tail wagged hard enough to see them to victory without further loss.
Stratford seconds suffered successive bank holiday defeats in Second XI Division Two South.
On Monday they were beaten by six wickets at home to Barnards Green, who got past the hosts’ 181 all out, to follow a 117-run defeat against Dorridge on Saturday.
Dorridge finished on 235-9 in their 45 overs, with Nathan Myers (51) and Grant Harrison (44) leading the way. Whitting and Jolly snapped up two wickets apiece.
Stratford, however, were skittled for 118 in 35 overs, with Richard Smith top-scoring with 25 not out and James Harcourt hit 24.
Nicholas Jones hit a century for Stratford Bards but it failed to save them from a 28-run defeat to Mickleton in Cotswold Hills League Division Three.
Mickleton reached 269-5 in their 45 overs, but opener Richard Sykes (55) and No 3 batsman Jones led the charge, only for the lower order to fall away as they were dismissed for 241 off 43.1 overs.