STRATFORD could breathe a huge sigh of relief after victory over title-chasing Streetly guaranteed safety in the Birmingham League.
A five-runs win at Swans Nest Lane in a rain-affected contest on Saturday meant the Panthers ended any relegation fear in Division Three with one game to play.
Stratford’s total of 181 for five from 38 overs proved to be just beyond Streetly who finished on 110 for five from 20 overs, chasing a DLS par score of 115.
Batting first, Stratford were indebted to a crucial stand between David Bailey and John Price.
Chris Whelan (15), Adam Bayliss (18) and Rob West (12) got starts but couldn’t push on.
Bailey, however, smashed 64 off 57 balls, including eight fours and one six, and Price was also in attacking mode to hit 47 off 55 deliveries.
There were two wickets apiece for Michael Dinneny (2-24) and Steve Hinton (2-30).
The rain meant Streetly faced a revised target of 115 in 20 overs but fell just short as Perry Derrick (2-13 off four overs) and James Urquhart (2-18) reined in the visitors.
Victory pushed Stratford to seventh in the table, and only 11 points behind fifth-placed Handsworth.
Stratford end the season on Saturday with a trip to the relegated Worcester Nomads.
Stratford 2nds’ push to become champions in Second XI Division Two South will go to the last game after they defeated Streetly by six wickets.
Streetly’s innings closed on 204-7 but Stratford got past their revised target at 187-2 off 25.1 overs after Dexter Purser smashed 117 not out.
The result leaves Stratford in third place on 339 points, one point behind Pershore and seven points behind leaders Wombourne. Stratford entertain Worcester Nomads in their final fixture on Saturday.
More in this week’s Herald.
Christopher Whelan lbw b Michael Dinneny 15
Adam Bayliss ct Craig Moore b Michael Dinneny 18
Rob West lbw b Sagar Mangalorkar 12
David Bailey ct Craig Moore b Steve Hinton 64
John Price ct Sam Bates b Steve Hinton 47
Chris Calcott† not out 14
Perry Derrick not out 5
Adrian Witts did not bat
Sam Douthwaite did not bat
James Urquhart did not bat
Mike Brown* did not bat
Extras lb (1), w (5) 6
Total 181-5 (38 overs)
Sagar Mangalorkar 10 2 24 1
Sam Bates 6 2 46 0
Michael Dinneny 8 1 24 2
Steve Hinton 6 1 30 2
Akbar Ahmed 7 0 45 0
Craig Moore 1 0 11 0
Zakhir Ahmed b Perry Derrick 22
Neil Curtis† ct Chris Calcott b James Urquhart 45
Imran Qadir ct Christopher Whelan b James Urquhart 2
Akbar Ahmed ct & b Perry Derrick 1
Sagar Mangalorkar not out 19
Sam Bates ct Rob West b David Bailey 12
Michael Dinneny did not bat
Sean Dunne did not bat
Matt Hinton did not bat
Steve Hinton did not bat
Craig Moore* did not bat
Extras lb (2), w (7) 9
Total 110-5 (20 overs)
Mike Brown 4 0 16 0
Sam Douthwaite 1 0 12 0
Adrian Witts 4 0 22 0
Perry Derrick 4 0 13 2
James Urquhart 4 0 18 2
Christopher Whelan 2 0 15 0
David Bailey 1 0 12 1