STRATFORD’S hopes of preserving their Division Two status in the Birmingham League faltered at the last hurdle after defeat away to Coventry & NW.
The Panthers needed to beat Coventry at Swans Nest Lane to have any chance of avoiding relegation, 12 months after promotion, but they went down by three wickets and so Oswestry escaped despite their defeat to Penkridge.
Having been put into bat, Stratford were indebted to 58 from David Bailey for reached 158 all out.
Only opener Dane Kirby (24) and John Price (23) managed double figures in a disappointing show with the bat.
Jonathan Miles led the Cov bowlers to take 4-14 and the starred with the bat.
Miles (60) and Jack Horsley (51) put together a third-wicket partnership of 110 after Mike Brown took the wicket of James Silk and Tom Whitting cleanbowled Zuhaib Akhlaque to leave the visitors 15-2.
The loss of three more wickets for six runs as Perry Derrick ripped through the innings meant Stratford had a chance of victory for Stratford at 135-6 but they were unable to make any further inroads to put Oswestry’s place in the division in jeopardy.
Derrick was the pick to the Panthers bowlers with 4-33, with Brown taking 2-29.
<b>Stratford Seconds</b> finished fourth in the 2nd XI Division Two, losing their final game by 49 runs at Bromsgrove Seconds.
Bromsgrove, having been put into bat, reached 231-5 in 45 overs, with Ryan Pedley starring with a run-a-ball 93, aided by 43 from Alistair Hickman.
Harry Williams took 3-18 for the Panthers.
Stratford had a decent start with Yasser Sirdar hitting 58 and Sam Douthwaite 27 but Mark Meacham’s five wickets and four wickets for Alex Wilkinson dismissed them for 182.