Stratford skipper Brown not thinking about promotion after Lichfield loss

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STRATFORD skipper Mike Brown admits the club are “not thinking” about promotion following Saturday’s five-wicket setback at Lichfield.

A second successive defeat has nudged Mike Brown’s men down to seventh place in Birmingham League Division Three and they are now just five points above the drop zone.

After last season’s relegation, the Panthers targeted an instant return to Division Two, but after nine games in, those expectations have been lowered.

“I think any early-season thought of promotion is probably over now,” admitted Brown.

“It’s certainly not the priority for us now, but the only saving grace for us is the league is so tight. You can still go on a winning streak and go up the table almost as quickly as we have fallen down.”

If Stratford are to begin to climb the table, their batting must improve, although Brown says there is no “miracle cure”.

He added: “It wasn’t by any means the easiest or the best pitch, but we should be looking to score more than 125.

“I don’t think there’s a miracle cure out there. I still believe all of our players and batsmen are more than good enough for this division. It’s just a case of us staying really positive as the only way we’re going to change things is sticking together as a team.”

Lichfield won the toss and put Stratford in at Collins Hill and it proved a wise decision as the visitors were hustled out for 125 in the 38th over.

Jack Warren (5-35) and James Wilkinson (3-26) combined to skittle Stratford, with only Chris Calcott, hitting 28 off 41 balls, and a defiant Perry Derrick, ten off 43 balls, managing to resist for any period of time.

Lichfield, however, found getting to their target far from straightforward.

Derrick snapped up three for 56 and Adam Bayliss took another wicket to have Lichfield five down but an unbeaten sixth-wicket partnership between Adam Braddock (54no) and Callum Heanen (24no) steered the hosts home after 35.3 overs.

Stratford now lie 25 points from second-placed Stourbridge.

This weekend’s trip to Streetly, one point behind Stratford, now takes on even greater importance.