A BATTLING last-wicket stand proved in vain as Stratford fell just short of victory against Old Hill on Saturday.
Having stuttered to 99-9 in pursuit of just 145 to win the Birmingham League Division Three contest at Swans Nest Lane, last pair James Urquhart and Tom Whitting rallied the innings with the best Stratford partnership of the match.
They added 42 runs to edge the score to within one shot of victory, but then Whitting was trapped lbw by Hasan Ahmed to end the innings on 141.
Old Hill’s openers Zain Ahmed (32) and Harry Baddams (34) had made steady progress after being put into bat before the wickets tumbled.
They had moved to 86 without loss before Dexter Purser struck with the first of his three wickets and then the bowlers dominated proceedings.
Old Hill collapsed to 144 all out with the assistance of 30 extras as Purser took 3-17, with two wickets apiece for Harry Abell (2-6), Gareth Langman (2-17), and Urquhart (2-21).
Purser followed his batting exploits with the highest individual total of the match with 38 off 37 balls and at 68-2 the Panthers would have fancied their chances.
However, Shafiq Ahmed (4-16) and Naqaash Tahir (3-30) showed their experience to reduce Stratford to 99-9.
Urquhart (28 not out off 75 balls) and Tom Whitting (11 off 43 balls) eked out the runs for the Panthers, before Hasan Ahmed stepped up to grab the final wicket.
Stratford, who have slipped to fifth in the table and four points behind Old Hill, entertain Handsworth on Saturday in their final home of the season before they travel to potential champions Stourbridge the following weekend.
Stratford seconds fell to a seven-wicket defeat at Berkswell in 2nd XI Division Two South.
Openers Adam Joseph (36) and Charlie Blake (28) led the visitors’ batting, with Richard Smith chipping in with 25, as Stratford reached 146 all out.
However, Berkswell got to their target in 25 overs, with skipper Jonathan Coleman top-scoring with 69 not out.