Stratford’s 1st XI won promotion from Birmingham League Division Three this season. After last season’s heartbreak, where they missed out on the last day of the season, they finished as runners-up thanks to impressive bowling performances throughout the season.

Opening bowlers Tom Grundy and Mike Brown plus spinner James Urquhart shared 128 wickets between them. All three featured in the top 10 wicket takers for the division, with Grundy leading the division in overs bowled (233) and maidens (55). Brown was one of just three players in the division to take a 7-wicket haul, having taken 7-39 against Astwood Bank. Grundy and Brown combined to devastating effect against Pelsall, bowling unchanged to bowl out their opponents for just 73 in 20 overs, whilst a team bowling performance skittled Water Orton for just 51 in a 141-run victory.

The batting was led by overseas player and current Dutch international Ben Cooper. He hit centuries against Streetly (where 239 was chased with 15 overs remaining) and Pelsall. His average of 52 was the second highest in the division.

Other batsmen also made vital contributions during the season – Chris Whelan made three half-centuries whilst Ben Pigott, Dex Purser, Rob West and Harry Adams all passed 300 runs. Meanwhile, Pigott’s unbeaten 30 in a 2-wicket win versus Astwood Bank and Witt’s unbeaten 20 in a nervy 1-wicket win at home to Fordhouses both proved vital in the final standings.

Their promotion was sealed in their penultimate game away to Fordhouses. Their previous game was a wash out and had enabled Fordhouses to close the gap in the league table. After a 87-run opening partnership, the hosts lost 10 wickets for 37 runs to be bowled out for 124. A quick-fire half-century from Cooper saw home by 6 wickets.

Congratulations to all players involved during the campaign. Many thanks to Mike Brown for captaining the team to promotion. Thanks also go to Brian Webb and the rest of the team who helped prepare the Swans Nest Lane ground, to Ben Cooper our overseas player, to Andy Flower for his coaching and advice, main sponsor REPL, and to Matt Wilson at the Herald for the great coverage we received during the season.

Read on for final table plus batting/bowling statistics.

Birmingham League 2nd XI Division One – Final Table

# Club Played Won Points
1 Cannock & Rugeley Hawks 22 16 372
2 Stratford-upon-Avon 22 13 339
3 Worfield 22 12 296
4 Aston Manor 22 10 290
5 Fordhouses 22 10 287
6 Streetly 22 10 282
7 Pelsall 22 9 259
8 Whitchurch 22 9 258
9 Astwood Bank 22 9 234
10 Worcester 22 6 233
11 Water Orton 22 6 194
12 Kings Heath 22 3 168

2015 top wicket takers

# Bowler Wickets Average Best Bowling
1 Tom Grundy 44 15.05 6/28
2 Mike Brown 43 21.74 7/39
3 James Urquhart 41 25.37 4/21
4 Adi Witts 21 22.52 4/29
5 Sam Douthwaite 11 17.36 3/26

2015 highest run scorers

# Batsman Runs Average 50/100 High Score
1 Ben Cooper 575 52.27 2/2 133*
2 Ben Pigott 356 27.38 1/0 71
3 Dex Purser 346 19.22 1/0 63
4 Rob West 311 17.28 2/0 50
5 Harry Adams 308 34.22 2/0 72*