A new-look Stratford 2nd enjoyed a season of progress in Division 2 South of the Birmingham League 2nd XI league. Although they missed out on promotion with defeat on the final weekend, there were many positives to take.
Over the winter, several new players arrived including a trio of fast bowlers – Harry Williams, Tom Whitting and Archie Walker – plus batsman Andy Fisher. Meanwhile, Josh Hickman took over as captain.
Their first win of the season came away to Eastnor, where Harry Abell’s 127 made the difference in a 52 run victory, which prompted a 12 game unbeaten streak (plus 4 abandonments).
302 runs were posted at Barnards Green including 123 from Ed Cunynghame whilst at home to Stourbridge, Ben Pigott fell 4 short of a deserved century as 200 was chased with 15 overs to spare.
Away to Aston Manor, Stratford had the luxury of declaring with 337-7 on the board – an innings dominated by an unbeaten 208 from Jake Salman. Tom Whitting took 5-36 as the hosts survived their 54 overs, with Stratford settling for a winning draw.
The following week, an all-round bowling performance defended 192 by bowling visitors Bromsgrove out for 154, and a fortnight later, Tom Whitting took 6-28 in a 91 victory at Swans Nest.
The highest team total of the season was posted at Sutton Coldfield. The bulk of the 347 runs came from a huge opening partnership with Yasser Sirdar (154) and Andy Fisher (100), both making their first centuries for the club. Sutton Coldfield ground out a losing draw, scoring just 128 in their 50 overs.
Victory at home to Barnards Green included 102 from opening batsman Harry Adams plus 6-28 from allrounder Ben Pigott. And the following week, Luke Nardone scored 105 to set up a 95 run victory versus Stourbridge.
That was to be Stratford’s last win of the season – the final four games included 2 abandonments and 2 defeats, so the team had to settle for fourth position. Although they suffered just 3 defeats all season (only bettered by champions Berkswell), the team had 6 home games abandoned due weather which didn’t help their cause.
With numerous stand-out innings from their batsman plus consistent allround bowling performances, the team has much to look forward to for the 2017 season.
Many thanks to all players who took part, to captain Josh Hickman, t0 David Troughton and all other umpires, to all scorers, to all who helped prepare the wickets at Swans Nest (including Brian Webb, Yas Sirdar and Chris Calcott), and to club sponsors REPL.
Read on for final table plus batting/bowling statistics.