STRATFORD captain Mike Brown has admitted he has been left “surprised” by Aussie all-rounder Adam Bayliss’s superb start to the season.
Bayliss, son of England head coach Trevor Bayliss, claimed five wickets as Stratford cruised to a nine-wicket success over Birmingham Premier League Division Three strugglers Nuneaton.
It was just the performance the Panthers needed after the previous week’s setback against Sentinel, where Brown was left cursing his bowlers’ consistency.
“It was a much more polished performance with the ball and in the field,” said Brown.
“We called for a bit more consistency and to a man everybody delivered that.
“We knew Adam could bowl a bit before he came over, but I was initially a bit worried because he hadn’t been bowling very much.
“However, it’s turned out as a nice surprise. I thought his batting would be his best strength, although we haven’t really had a chance to see that yet.”
Brown won the toss and chose to bowl first in helpful conditions.
However, a solid opening partnership for Nuneaton saw them reach 58 without loss, with Jason Jakeman playing aggressively to any width.
The Stratford bowlers responded by tightening their lines and strangling the scoring, which in turn led the fall of both openers quickly.
Bayliss had his first involvement in the game by taking a sharp slip catch to remove top scorer Jakeman (32) off the bowling of Aidy Witts.
It was then with the ball that the overseas man shone, bowling ten overs unchanged and ripping through the Nuneaton top and middle order.
He eventually finished with figures of 10-2-25-5, including three lbws and two smart pieces of work from wicket-keeper Chris Calcott.
The remaining wickets went to Brown (2-20) and off-spinner Perry Derrick (2-24) as Nuneaton were finally all out for 153.
The Stratford reply got off to a great start with John Price and Rob West continuing the form already shown this year.
Both batsmen ran between the wickets well, putting pressure on the home attack.
Importantly, any bad balls were put away to the boundary.
Despite losing West for 33, the Stratford scoring rate remained high, as David Bailey and Price kept the board ticking over.
Both men passed 50 as the Panthers cantered to victory in the 31st over.
Price ended on 66 not out and Bailey 50 not out, 40 of which came from boundaries.
Stratford return to action this Saturday when they take on Handsworth — another team still waiting to secure their first win of the campaign.
Stratford: Rob West, David Bailey, Adam Bayliss, Mike Brown (c), Chris Calcott (wk), Perry Derrick, John Price, Chris Whelan, Archie Walker, Dexter Purser, John Price, Aidy Witts.