Stratford-Upon-Avon 1st XI slipped to second in the Birmingham League Third Division after only managing to secure a losing draw against new league leaders Sutton Coldfield 1st XI at Swans Nest Lane.
Sutton won the toss and elected to bat first and from their 55 overs achieved a score of 216-6. Stratford started strongly with captain Chris Whelan taking a wicket by dismissing Jack Smith LBW at the end of the first over. Sutton made steady progress but lost a further three wickets. The first of the three an LBW by Mike Brown, followed by a catch at extra cover by Ben Pigott and a further LBW from spinner Anthony Pratley resulting in the Royals producing a score of 116-4 within 35 overs.
The away side responded and picked up the pace, scoring 86 runs within 17 overs until leading batsman Mark Guest was stumped out for 66 by James Urquhart. The last wicket fell only 14 runs later in the final ball of the innings. Tom Eustance was caught by Dexter Purser at long on after a teasing ball by Urquhart.
In reply Stratford found runs hard to come by against Sutton’s bowling attack after losing 7 wickets and falling 41 runs short of their 217 target.
Captain Whelan lead the chase by scoring 56 with another key contribution coming from unbeaten Purser who was two runs short of his half century. Stratford lost their first wicket after just 19. However they clocked up another 68 runs before their second.
The wickets then started to fall at regular intervals, with a further three batsman being dismissed for a total of just 24 runs resulting in a score of 111-5. Stratford increased the run rate despite losing a further two wickets in the last 14 overs, scoring 65 runs. However this proved too little too late for the Panthers.
Stratford will hope to get back to their winning ways when they play an away fixture against middle of the table Kings Heath on Saturday.
Review by Leigh Tranter