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16th Jun, 2021

Panthers dig deep to continue title chase

Ben Tyler 9th Jun, 2021

WARWICKSHIRE League Premier Division leaders Stratford-upon-Avon maintained their standing with a two-wicket win over visitors Attock with just four balls remaining after a tantalising finale.

Dexter Purser’s side were given a real test by the visitors from Birmingham in both innings at Swans Nest Lane.

Batting first after winning the toss, Attock hit 238-6, and it looked a step too far for Stratford – until a winning intervention by Archie Walker.

The hosts’ number eight hit 15 runs from 18 balls, including three strikes into the boundary, to see his side over the line when all hope appeared lost.

Attock started confidently and gave an indication of what was to follow for the remainder of the innings when Arsalaan Mahmood (25) and Mohin Khan (55) put together an opening partnership of 88 runs.

While both were eventually removed in quick succession by Walker (2-26), the third-wicket stand of 100 runs between Mohammed Ishtiaq and Daniyal Khan (both 51) was even more impressive to continue the visitors’ momentum.

After both talismen fell to the bowling of Josh Colwell (2-56), the visitors’ run rate slowed considerably, albeit not enough for Stratford to escape without a big batting challenge come the end of the innings.

The reply from Stratford was initially a laboured one, for while the hosts’ batsmen were able to record respectable figures, the lack of any big-scoring partnerships hindered their progress at the crease.

With wickets falling, a notable contribution from Gareth Langman (45), and a stand of 51 between Josh Hickman (25) and Luke Nardone (40) helped the Panthers shift into a higher gear.

Nick Pepper (35) and Colwell (40) then combined for 59 runs for the sixth wicket in rapid time to take the hosts close to their target score. Colwell’s 40 came off just 29 deliveries, with four boundaries.

With both gone, Stratford stood at 225-7 and that became 236-8 when James Urquhart (2) was run out.

But Walker and Tom Grundy (0no) were able to secure victory in the final over and break Attock hearts.

Stratford, who sit 24 points clear of second-placed Walmley after eight matches, will hope for a more straightforward affair away to Moseley Ashfield, who are fourth, on Saturday. Ashfield went down to Walmley by 91 runs last weekend.

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