Stratford-upon-Avon Cricket Club

Stratford-upon-Avon Cricket Club

Incorporating Stratford Bards

Category: Seniors (page 2 of 4)

News about the senior teams

1st XI win promotion

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.

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2nd XI relegated

Stratford’s 2nd XI suffered a frustrating season ultimately resulting in their relegation back to the Birmingham League Division Two South. Having been promoted as champions the season before, they missed key players throughout the season and, already faced with a difficult task due to four teams being relegated from the 12-team league, finished bottom.

Wins were few and far between, however possibly the most memorable performance of the season came against Kenilworth Wardens. The hosts had reached 273-2 after 45 overs when they surprisingly declared. However Kenilworth’s captain, former Stratford player Mark Pidgeon, was left with egg on his face when Josh Hickman’s 103 led Stratford to a remarkable victory.

Despite this season’s setback, the team can look forward to next season season. They will be bolstered by winter signings and will surely face fewer selection issues next summer, allowing them to field a more consistent XI through the season.

Many thanks to skipper Rich Sykes plus Adam Joseph, who filled in as captain on several occasion. Thanks also go to David Troughton, our umpire, to Brian Webb, our head groundsman and umpire, and to main sponsors REPL.

Read on for final table plus batting/bowling statistics.

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Bards win promotion

With their seventh consecutive victory, Stratford’s 3rd XI, the Bards, clinched promotion last week in the final fixture of the season. The Bards started the day joint level on points with Henley-in-Arden, but outside the promotion places due to an inferior net run rate.

John Paton’s team beat Great Alne at home, restricting the visitors to 171-5, before knocking off the runs for the loss of just one wicket, with an unbeaten century for Adam Clegg. Meanwhile, Henley bowled out Earlswood for just 122 – a total they reached 7 wickets down, but the small target meant fewer batting points, which ultimately made the difference as the Bards leapfrogged them in the table.

Congratulations to all players involved. Many thanks to John Paton for his work captaining the team, and also to Brian Webb and others involved in preparing and maintaining the Alscot Park wicket and ground.

Read on for final table plus batting/bowling statistics.

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June Update

1st XI

Since the last season update, the 1st XI have consolidated their position at the top of the Third Division of the Birmingham League with an unbeaten run of games.

On 23rd May, they beat Streetly with an impressive chase of 239 away from home. Stratford’s bowlers had forced a middle-order collapse, with Streetly moving from 140-2 to 183-7, before an eight wicket partnership of 54. However the target was reached inside just 36 overs thanks to Ben Cooper’s second century of the season. He struck an unbeaten 133 from just 87 balls to guide Stratford to a 5 wicket win.

Back at Swans Nest Lane, 66 for Chris Whelan and 4 wickets for Tom Grundy helped Stratford to a comfortable 75 run victory over Worfield. The total of 228 was always beyond the visitors who found themselves 70-8, including 3 wickets in a matter of minutes for Grundy, before being bowled out for 153.

A fourth consecutive victory was secured away to Water Orton. 3 wickets each for Grundy and captain Mike Brown bowled the hosts out for just 164. An ankle injury to Ben Cooper meant he was unable to bat, however Stratford put aside that distraction to reach their total for the loss of 6 wickets, with 30+ scores from Adams, Calcott and Whelan.

The weather forced an abandonment versus Aston Manor without a ball bowled, before shortening the following week’s fixture against Kings Heath. The visitors set a target of 226, despite 4 wickets for Grundy and 3 for spinner James Urquhart. However rain reduced Stratford’s reply to just 20 overs, with a winning draw the only positive outcome available. The winning draw target was reached with easy, with opener Harry Adams striking 72 from 66 balls.

Scorecard – 1st beat Streetly by 5 wickets
Scorecard – 1st beat Worfield by 75 runs
Scorecard – 1st beat Water Orton by 4 wickets
Scorecard – 1st drew with Kings Heath (winning draw)

2nd XI

The second team currently find themselves second from bottom in the 2nd XI 1st Division.

Hosting Kenilworth Wardens on 23rd May, two early wickets for Lee Clarke plus three for Iain Lythall weren’t enough to prevent Kenilworth setting a challenging target of 245, with 41 extras not helping the cause. In reply, the top order didn’t contribute enough runs – Lythall top-scored with 34 at #10 as Stratford batted out their overs for 189-8, coming up 55 runs short.

Stratford made amends the following week away to Tamworth. Their score of 194-8 owed much to 54 from Josh Hickman and an unbeaten 48-run partnership between him and Lythall to close the innings. Hickman and Sam Douthwaite took regular wickets during the chase, before spinner Steve Cootes mopped up the last three wickets to secure a 49 run victory.

At home to Old Hill, Stratford were undone by 123 from opener Mohammad Shauib, whose 123 contributed over half of their 240-run total. In reply Stratford lost 3 quick wickets, but Adam Joseph carried his bat for 79 runs as Stratford picked up the consolation of a losing draw, reaching 177-5 off their 50 overs.

Away to Penkridge, the hosts were bowled out for 209 with 4 wickets each for spinners Cootes and Abell. In reply, Stratford’s chase was frustrated by rain and a middle order collapse. They reached 155-7 from 31 overs, a losing draw, with opener Sam Bishop falling one short of a half-century.

Scorecard – 2nd lost to Kenilworth Wardens by 55 runs
Scorecard – 2nd beat Tamworth by 49 runs
Scorecard – 2nd drew with Old Hill (losing draw)
Scorecard – 2nd drew with Penkridge (losing draw)

3rd XI (Bards)

The Bards currently sit in the middle of the Cotswold Hills Fifth Division, bouncing back from back-to-back losses with two well-earned victories.

Hosts Henley-in-Arden set a formidable 262 from their 45 overs, including a brutal half-century from one of their middle-order batsmen, containing numerous sixes. A make-shift batting line-up lost regular wickets, with only keeper Dan Hayward passing 20. The Bards limped to 101, a 161 run defeat.

A second challenging chase followed the week after, with visitors Welford setting 203. Opener Seb May made an impressive 81, after a quick fire 28 from Ed Cunynghame, the lower order couldn’t find the last 22 runs required.

The chase was more straightforward away to Rowington. 3 wickets for George Dick plus a sharp run-out by Josh Emery restricted the hosts to 125-7 from their 45 overs. In contrast to the hosts’ slow scoring rate, Stratford’s reply saw them hit the boundary almost every over and they reached their target inside just 22 overs. Tom Emery made an unbeaten 40, whilst Martin Malone and Josh Emery also made important scores.

A second win on the bounce was achieved away to Great Alne. Batting first, the Bards made 158 – Charlie Middleton made 49 whilst Will Pethick took 5-27. In response, the hosts crumbled from 26-1 to 80 all out inside 30 overs. There were 3 wickets each for John Paton, Lee Clarke and Thadius Kaminski-Gaze.

Scorecard – 3rd XI lost to Henley by 161 runs
Scorecard – 3rd XI lost to Welford by 21 runs
Scorecard – 3rd XI beat Rowington by 5 wickets
Scorecard – 3rd XI beat Great Alne by 78 runs

Season Update

Here is an update for the past four rounds of matches.

The 1st XI have won two of their first four games, including a nail-bitting chase at home to Astwood Bank. The 2nd XI have found life back in 1st Division challenging, with consecutive 96-run losses following their first win of the season. Meanwhile the Bards have started with two wins from their opening three games, including back-to-back hundreds from Ed Cunynghame.

1st XI

After opening the season with victory against Worcester, Stratford 1st XI travelled to Pelsall and soon had the hosts in trouble, reduced to 54-4 and later 136-7, with Aidy Witts taking three wickets. However a eighth wicket stand of exactly 100 frustrated Stratford and although captain Mike Brown ended the partnership and also finished with 3 wickets, a target of 245 was larger than they would have liked.

Much is expected of Ben Cooper, Stratford’s overseas player and current Dutch international, and he didn’t disappoint with an impressive century including 15 fours and 2 sixes. His 109 should have been the foundation of Stratford’s chase, however he couldn’t find a willing partner – Stratford only made one fifty partnership, and once Cooper fell the last four wickets could only add 9 to the total as Stratford were bowled out for 205 and a 39 run loss.

The following week, they hosted Whitchurch who batted first. 7 batsmen fell for single figures, however Maisam Hasnain Jaffri was playing a different game, hitting 123 from 149 balls to set a target of 220 from 50 overs. Spinner James Urquhart took 3 wickets and Mike Brown 2.

Stratford’s reply got off to a poor start, with both openers falling with the score on 14. Cooper hit four early boundaries but fell for 16 as Stratford lost frequent wickets. 44 from Dexter Purser and 40 from Ben Pigott were encouraging however the 1st XI were bowled out for 188, their second consecutive loss.

A third chase in three weeks followed at home to Astwood Bank. The visitors were restricted to 189-8, with no batsman passing fifty. Urquhart impressed with 27-3, ripping out the middle order, whilst all-rounder Ben Pigott took 2-52.

The chase got off to a disastrous start as openers West and Calcott both made ducks. But Purser joined Cooper and both batted positive in a century stand. Purser hit 3 sixes in his 63, whilst Cooper made 64 from just 67 balls. When both fell, Stratford wobbled – Noble made a duck whilst Langman hit his own wicket for 1. Ben Pigott, batting at 7, made an unbeaten 30 to take Stratford to a 2 wicket win – his all-round effort earning him the REPL Man of the Match award.

Scorecard – 1st XI lost to Pelsall by 39 runs
Scorecard – 1st XI lost to Whitchurch by 31 runs
Scorecard – 1st beat Astwood Bank by 2 wickets

2nd XI

The 2nd XI secured their first win of the new season at home to Shrewsbury. The visitors were bowled out for 203, with Harry Jolly and debutant Lee Clarke each taking 3 wickets. Without 51 from captain Anders at 7, the total would have been much lower.

Stratford’s chase was anchored around a fine innings from Pete Richard – the REPL Man of the Match for his 73. He was helped by 43 from Sam Bishop, and although some late wickets fell, an unbeaten 37 from wicket-keeper James Harcourt saw Stratford home for a 4 wicket win.

Their side was depleted the following week due to captain Richard Sykes’ stag weekend, joined by Jolly and Lythall. Fielding only 10 players, Stratford took regular wickets, including three for Will Noble, and Shifnal’s batsmen could only manage a high score of 41, however 42 extras made the score far competitive.

Chasing 222, Stratford made slow work and though they lost Jones and Noble early, they reached the drinks break just 2 wickets down. However stand-in captain Adam Joseph (28) and Harcourt (23) fell soon after the resumption and Stratford collapsed to 125 all out.

Extras cost Stratford again the following week. 38 extras plus 18 penalty runs offset any good work by the bowlers. Iain Lythall took 4-45 and Josh Hickman 2-34, however they couldn’t stop Astwood Bank setting a challenging target of 262.

Much like the week before, Stratford were soon two down before a much needed partnership between Joseph and Harcourt. But once they fell for 34 and 45 respectively, Stratford again collapsed and were all out for 165 with 19 overs remaining – a second 96-run loss in eight days.

Scorecard – 2nd XI beat Shrewsbury 2nd XI by 4 wickets
Scorecard – 2nd XI lost to Shifnal 2nd XI by 96 runs
Scorecard – 2nd XI lost to Astwood Bank 2nd XI by 96 runs

3rd XI (Bards)

The Bards started their second season in the 5th Division of the Cotswold Hills at home to Leamington IV. A strong bowling performance saw Leamington restricted to 118-9 from their 45 overs. In reply, Stratford lost 3 early wickets but a strong fourth wicket stand between James Paton and Martin Malone took them to 80-3, however quick wickets then fell and the Bards were 95-8 and then 105-9. However captain John Paton made an unbeaten 14 to secure a nail-biting 1 wicket win.

The following week they travelled to Winchcombe where they were set a much larger target of 227. Their batting line-up was strengthened by the presence of Ed Cunynghame and following a 90 minute batting session with Andy Flower two days prior, he put that practice into action to make a fine century. However Stratford fell 23 runs short, finishing on 203-8.

They would make no mistake the following week. Earlswood, the visitors, started slowly as both John and Dan Paton bowled unchanged for just 16 runs each from their 10 overs, however Earlswood kept wickets in hand and accelerated after drinks, with wicket-keeper Massey making 89. Set a target of 193, Stratford were soon 2 wickets down, however Cunynghame took control and his unbeaten 124 took the Bards to a 7 wicket win with 16 balls remaining.

Scorecard – Stratford 3rd XI beat Leamington 4th XI by 1 wicket
Scorecard – Stratford 3rd XI lost to Winchcombe 2nd XI by 23 runs
Scorecard – Stratford 3rd XI beat Earlswood 3rd XI by 7 wickets

First season update

Stratford’s Birmingham League campaign started this past Saturday, with the 1sts aiming for promotion from Division 3 having missed out on the last day of the 2014 season, whilst the 2nds are looking to consolidate their position in Division 1 following last seasons promotion. Both teams were sporting updated kit featuring new sponsors REPL Group.

1st XI

The Stratford’s 1st XI opened their campaign at home to Worcester. Now captained by fast bowler Mike Brown, the Panther’s XI featured new overseas batsman Ben Cooper, a Dutch international, along with wicket-keeper Chris Calcott who was signed from Leamington over the winter.

Tom Grundy’s electric form with the ball in Worcester’s innings reduced them to 41 for 4, before Ed Cunynghame’s superb diving catch secured a fifth wicket – Worcester’s skipper, Muhammad Adeel, departure leaving them in trouble at 76 for 5. An important 40 from Owen Morris plus a frustrating and unbeaten last wicket partnership of 27 rescued their score to a more respectable 172 for 9. Grundy finished with figures of 3-12, bowling 6 maidens from his 10 overs and continuing his fine form from last year that saw him crowned Stratford’s player of the 2014 season at their recent pre-season dinner.

In reply, Stratford’s chase took a early setback as opener Adrian Witts was LBW for a duck, followed two balls later by Ben Cooper, making a two-ball duck on his league debut. After cameos from West and Purser, an expertly-timed knock of 70 not out from Chris Whelan got Stratford over the line. The three wicket win was tighter than anticipated at the lunch break, not helped by four ducks from the Stratford batting line-up, however their season is under way with the victory. They travel to Pelsall this Saturday.

For a video interview with Mike Brown, please see the Stratford Herald website.

Scorecard – 1st XI beat Worcester by 3 wickets

2nd XI

The 2nd XI started their season back in Division 1 with a trip to Coventry & North Warwickshire. Wicket-keeper Adam Joseph captained the side in the absence of captain Richard Sykes and vice-captain Harry Jolly, whilst an administrative delay meant only 10 players were fielded. Batting first, Joseph was out during the first over for a duck before Alex Marney made 19 – unlucky to be caught as his pull shot was held up by strong winds.

Gareth Langman looked in excellent touch – making several confident boundaries as he passed 50 – but had to drag himself off the field after miscuing a full toss to be caught for 94. Jim Harcourt also found the boundary with ease before being yorked for 55. Cameos from Harry Abell and Iain Lythall held the side reach 242, all out with a ball remaining. 

Pleased with their total at the halfway stage, Stratford were unable to capitalise on the work of Langman and Harcourt. After an early run out, Coventry & NW profited from several dropped catches before Joseph had Simpson caught behind. Their third wicket pair made swift work until Pathan was adjudged LBW to Abell for 93 before Beaufoy (85*) and Bristow (17*) took their side to the total with 7 overs remaining – with a six clinching victory. Sam Douthwaite bowled tightly for no reward – just 21 runs off his 10 overs – however the Stratford attack didn’t do enough to test the batsmen. They’ll be hoping to kick-start their season this coming Saturday as they host Shrewsbury at Swans Nest Lane.

Scorecard – 2nd XI lost to Coventry & NW by 7 wickets

New 1st XI captain, Flower signs on

As reported in this week’s Stratford Herald, Stratford CC is delighted to announce that Mike Brown will captain the 1st XI during the 2015 season.

Chris Whelan, who captained the side last year, will continue with the team as they look to achieve promotion having narrowly missed out during 2014.

In other news, ex-England coach Andy Flower has confirmed his intentions to continue working with the club. This is subject to his work with the ECB at Loughborough and with England development squads.

Winter nets start later this month at Prince Henry’s School in Evesham, weekly from Sunday 25th January (2-4pm). Any interested prospective players are welcome – if you’re able to, please let us know via our contact page.

1st XI Season Review

Overall it was a successful season for the 1st XI, however it felt more a case of what could, and probably should, have been in the end.

After the disappointment of being relegated in 2013 there was excitement around the 2014 season, with many changes on and off the field. We welcomed several new faces into the squad that would strengthen all areas. However the worried faces were soon back after a heavy defeat to league new boys Hawkins in the first game of the season. From this training and game intensity upped massively and we didn’t taste defeat for the next 16 weeks, picking up 9 wins, a winning draw and a losing draw to go with 4 abandoned fixtures. Victories against Bridgnorth, Streetly, Astwood Bank and Hawkins in the return fixture were particularly impressive. South African overseas player Abel Mokhuane proved his talent on a couple of occasions.

At this stage Stratford were sitting pretty at the top of Division 3, with the bowling unit and particularly seamer Tom Grundy to thank. Grundy picked up 34 league wickets at an average of 10 and if it hadn’t been for an untimely injury would have taken many more.

The second loss of the season came away at Kings Heath, but the Panthers bounced back with good team performances to beat Quatt and Milford Hall in the following two weeks. With Sutton Coldfield having secured promotion with 2 games of the season remaining it left Stratford needing one victory from their remaining couple of fixtures. By this stage Mokhuane had returned to South Africa leaving a considerable hole in the top order, yet confidence among the team was still high.

Old foes Fordhouses used the conditions to their advantage to take victory in the penultimate game leaving the simple equation of a win against already relegated Newport to achieve promotion at the first time of asking.

Sometimes in sport fortune favours the brave and a nervy looking Stratford were always second best in Shropshire as Newport romped to victory, in turn aiding local rivals Bridgnorth who took second spot.

The immediate feelings of disappoint were clear but in reality many of us would have taken 3rd place at the beginning of the season, and especially after the first game.

Top performers with the bat were:
Abel Mokhuane – 379 runs @ 34
Dexter Purser – 376 runs @ 29
Nat Gregory – 358 runs @ 51 from only 9 innings

Chris Whelan, Aidy Witts and Ben Piggot also made match wining half centuries during the season.

With the ball, Grundy shone, taking 2 x 6-fors, and was well backed up by:
James Urquhart – 26 wickets @ 21
Mike Brown – 24 wickets @ 22

Aidy Witts also chipped in with a 5 wicket haul.

One thing that really showed was everyone contributed at some point, without relying on a couple of individuals as many other sides do.

Mike Brown

Bards Season Review

The decision to drop down to the 5th Division of the Cotswold Hills League was thought by some to be drastic but events over the season proved, I feel, to have been correct. At times, selection was made tough by having too few available and it was only by the skin of our teeth that we managed to prevent calling a game off due thanks to some very last minute arrivals.

Having said all that, we avoided relegation for the first time in a few years and the future season can be met with a little more optimism.

We won 6 and lost 7 games, including games where we only fell 6 runs and 5 runs short, with 5 being abandoned. This was a big improvement and enabled us to finish the league in 7th place (out of 10), some 60 points clear of the two teams relegated.

Highlights of the season included Tim Smart’s innings of 100no, after suffering an injury during fielding, when we chased 179 to win by 2 wickets, bowling Elmley out for 62, James Paton’s maiden 50 against Fladbury, scoring 239-8 against Earlswood and then bowling them out cheaply (a game that effectively secured our future in the league with some 3 games to go), but probably the pick was the last game of the season.

Against Welford there was problems with getting the wicket ready as the mower had broken and it was only due to two of the Welford lads cutting and preparing the pitch that the game was able to take place. We made 232-4 with James Perkins (36no) helping Pete Richards add 143 for the 4th wicket in only 21 overs. Pete was eventually out for 164, which sent Paul Rathkey scurrying to check the record books and we later found out that this was the 3rd highest score by a Bard and the highest score by a Bard at home. A tight game was won when we dismissed Welford for 214 with still 4 overs to go.

All in all, this was a lot more enjoyable season, where we were at least competitive in many games and I would like to thank everyone who has turned out. Once again we relied upon our youth players and George Dick had an impressive first adult season, turning out regularly despite school commitments at times. I’d like to pass on thanks to some of the “old timers” who helped through out the season by supporting myself and the club with their willingness to contribute on and off the field – Martin Malone, Paul Rathkey and Thadius Kaminsky-Gaze. And finally, thanks to everyone who helped on the wicket – Brain Webb, Iain Lythall and others, plus Will Noble for looking after the Alscot side of things and keepiong the bar well stocked.

John Paton – Bards Captain

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2nd XI Season Review

2014 was a season that steadily gained momentum throughout the summer, culminating in the final 4 games of the season all going down to the last over and all of which were won. In years gone by the 2nd XI have ended up on the wrong side of such tight games, however in 2014 this was not the case.

The 2014 season was a real team effort with contributions from all who played. Notable moments include Harry Jolly’s maiden 5 wicket Birmingham League haul, Alex Marney’s 160 not out, Sam Douthwaite’s slip catch against Sutton Coldfield, Will Noble holding his nerve bowling the last over at Stourbridge, and Tim Smart and Charlie Blake closing the season out against Bromsgrove. Amongst these flashes of brilliance, the ever-presents of the team such as Nick Jones, Ant Pratley and Iain Lythall provided the base for the season’s success and were ably supported by the likes of Gareth Langman and Alex Hughes.

Whilst the team’s efforts were rewarded with a Championship, the support of Webby, David Troughton and Mike Perkins (standing in where necessary) should not go unnoticed. To have such consistent, professional and supportive umpires was a massive help throughout the season.

Whilst it is easy to dwell on so many fond memories, it is important to accept that the 2014 season is now in the past. Looking forward to 2015, the goal of the 2nd XI should be to consolidate their position within Division 1 of the 2nd XI League. Coupled with being competitive team in its own right, the 2nd XI should continue to provide opportunities to good young junior cricketers at Stratford to gain a first taste of Birmingham League Cricket. Fingers crossed, juniors such as George Dick (who took his first Birmingham League wickets in 2014) will look forward to contributing further in 2015.

Here’s to an enjoyable and successful 2015.

Richard Sykes – 2nd XI Captain

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