5th Dec, 2016

Valiant Stratford are beaten by promotion-chasers

Liam Moakes 3rd Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

STRATFORD threatened to secure an impressive victory at promotion-chasing Harborne on Saturday but the home side held their nerve to bag a four-wicket Birmingham League Division Two win.

The Panthers remain second bottom after the defeat, three points behind Coventry & North Warwickshire, although they now trail fourth from bottom C&R Hawks by 24 points following the latter’s victory over Old Elizabethans.

The bid to escape the bottom two does not get any easier for Mike Brown’s side this Saturday as they welcome second placed Shifnal to Swans Nest Lane.

Stratford were put into bat by their Birmingham hosts and it looked a good decision as Humais Butt (4-56) struck twice early on to help reduce the visitors to 26-3.

However, Stratford recovered well as Rob West (65) and Dane Kirby (62) put on 20 for the fourth wicket and they eventually mustered a competitive 210 all out off 52.2 overs despite Alex Pyecroft taking 5-60.

Harborne’s reply got off to an excellent start as openers Guriq Randhawa (48) and Warwick Paul (44) put on 97 for the first wicket at a brisk pace and there appeared little way back into the game for Stratford.

Skipper Brown (3-79), though, led by example as he took three quickfire wickets to reduce the hosts to 102-4 to leave the match hanging in the balance.

This became 151-6 as spinner Perry Derrick (2-45) and James Urquhart struck, but Gary Crouch (28no) and Darren Franklin (36no off just 38 balls) guided the third placed home side to 211-6 in the 54th over to secure 20 points.