Here is an update on our senior teams’ progress during May.
The Panther’s produced a strong team bowling performance to skittle Penn CC for 77 at Swans Nest Lane on 10th May. Tom Grundy led the way with 4-17 whilst there were two wickets for both captain Chris Whelan and Mike Brown. There was also a wicket each for spinner James Urquhart and former Bretforton all-rounder Aidy Witts. Only two Penn batsman made it to double figures as they were bowled out within 27 overs. Captain Tom Nutting, batting at 9, top-scored with 26.
Chasing a comfortable target, Stratford lost two early wickets but were led home by opener Rob West who was unbeaten on 38. He was assisted by overseas player Abel Moukhuane who was 4th man out for 18. Aided by 19 extras, Stratford reach their target one ball into the 18th over.
A week later, they produced another top bowling performance. Whelan and Grundy made early in-roads against Bridgnorth as three top-order batsman fell for ducks. Urquhart took the vital wicket of opener Ryan Lockley, who top scored with 53, plus three further wickets to finish with 4-39 and restrict Bridgnorth to 137.
In reply, Stratford lost both openers for a single run each but a partnership between Witts and Mokhuane took Stratford close to the hundred mark. After Mokhuane was caught for 48, former Bretforton all-rounder Witts completed his half-century and, helped by Dexter Purser’s 25, finished unbeaten as Stratford completed a third successive win.
Our 2nd XI have suffered two abandonments this month, with the fixtures against Eastnor and Berkswell rained off. In between those fixtures, they played host to Berkswell’s 2nd XI. Batting first, Stratford hoped to set a strong target on a roasting hot day. However an under-strength team lost wickets quickly. After both openers departed early, much rested on Will Noble and James Harcourt, who had both scored centuries during pre-season. However Harcourt was run out for 10, inexplicably called through for a fourth run by Noble who caught at deep mid-wicket soon after for 31. Stratford were indebted to their 9th wicket partnership between stand-in captain Harry Jolly, who made a carefree 40, and #6 Nick Jones. Top-scorer Jones looked set for a maiden Birmingham League fifty but was run out on the last ball.
The target of 186 was more than Stratford expected to set having been 92-8, however Berkswell’s openers made light work of the target. Openers Adil Khan and Samar Zaman put on 96 in double-quick time, scoring at 10-an-over before being pegged back by the off-spin of Steve Cootes who took 3-41. Khan top-scored with a powerful 62, hitting several sixes. Stratford did rally as they delayed defeat until the 37th over, but the 4 wicket defeat coupled with the two abandonments were a blow to their promotion hopes.
Bards (Third XI)
The 3rd XI suffered their first defeat of the season against Winchcombe II.
3 wickets for Iain Lythall, making a rare appearance for the Bards oweing to the 2nds abandonment at Eastnor, and a miserly opening spell of 1-10 from captain John Paton restricted Winchcombe to 175 from their 45 overs. It was an achievable target but Stratford fell agonisingly short. Steve Cootes led the chase but was out for 41 trying to force the pace, whilst Martin Malone and Afridi Shabaz made 28 and 31 respectively. With just 7 runs required, last man Dan Paton was run out to give Winchcombe a tight victory.