STRATFORD were frustrated by a defiant last-wicket stand as a potential season-turning victory ended in a third successive defeat.
Despite being bowled out for 109 at home to title-chasing Bedworth at Swans Nest Lane on Saturday, the Panthers looked in a commanding position when they took the visitors’ ninth wicket with 65 on the scoreboard.
But No 9 batsman Lewis Peacock guided Bedworth home, smacking an unbeaten 54, with last man Ashley Cutts surviving 13 balls without scoring.
The result leaves Bedworth second in the Warwickshire League Premier Division, three points behind leaders Walmley, but fourth-placed Stratford now sit 61 points behind the pacesetters.
Having struggled for runs in the previous two matches, Stratford still opted to bat after winning the toss but they found scoring demanding.
They had reached 23 without loss before Adrian Witts fell but they soon slipped to 37-4 after Lewis Noon (3-28) took three wickets and also ran out Ed Cunynghame.
Alex Marney and top-scorer Gareth Langman (28) stopped the rot but Lewis Peacock (3-24) and Ashley Cutts (2-20) continued the tumble of wickets.
Langman took the score into three figures but the final four Stratford wickets fell for the addition of just seven runs as they were dismissed in the 41st over.
The Panthers needed wickets to have any chance of victory and only two of the top eight Bedworth batsmen – Ryan Parnell (15) and Kyle Taylor (17) – got into double figures as the hosts cranked up the pressure.
Archie Walker snapped up 3-27 and Ben Pigott (2-8 off eight overs) and James Urquhart (2-10 off ten) tightened the screw. When Noon fell for a 24-ball duck to Pigott, it was 65-9 but Peacock kept ticking off the runs to get Bedworth home in the 41st over.
Stratford visit sixth-placed Rugby on Saturday.
Stratford Seconds also suffered disappointment against their Bedworth counterparts, going down to a five-wicket defeat off the last ball at Miners Welfare Park in Division Four.
Opener Finley Hatch and No 8 batsman Richard Smith top-scroed with 35 as Stratford, having been put into bat, got to 151 all out in their 50 overs. Dale Mellor (3-46) was the chief wicket-taker.
Jamie Parnell then guided Bedworth to victory, hitting an unbeaten 56, alongside skipper Neil Jones (13no).
Skipper Harry Abell led the bowlers with 2-27.
Reaction and report in this week’s Herald.