STRATFORD’S fight to secure their Birmingham League status looks set to continue to the final week of the season after they suffered a 62-run defeat to Lichfield on Saturday.
Back-to-back Bank Holiday wins had opened a useful gap over the relegation zone in Division Three but the Panthers could not make it a hat-trick as visitors Lichfield produced two key partnerships to set a demanding target after reaching 283-5.
Stratford, who won the toss and elected to field, had the visitors at 18-1 and then 161-4 but Rich Taylor-Tibbott cut loose to hammer 95 off 49 deliveries.
Opener Thomas Stone had been more circumspect with his 108-ball 55 but his second-wicket stand of 109 with David Roberts, who bludgeoned 71 off 48 deliveries, steadied the innings.
James Urquhart’s perseverance brought him four wickets for 56 but Fielding was in imperious form to take the score to 283-9 with an innings includinig five fours and nine sixes.
Despite John Price falling for 11, Straford rebuilt to take the score to 80 before Rob West (33) was caught as one of five wickets for Lewis Peat (5-29).
But then 80-1 became 119-5 including the fall of Adam Bayliss for 30.
Chris Whelan tried to rally the batting with 51 off 74 balls, but the hosts’ batting fizzled out as they were all out for 221 in the 49th over.
The result leaves Stratford 17 points clear of the last relegation place, currently occuipied by Sentinel.
This Saturday, Stratford meet champions-elect Streetly at Swans Nest Lane (12pm) in their penultimate game of the summer before they end the season away to relegated Worcester Nomads on 16th September.
Sentinel entertain relegation-haunted Brewood this weekend and then visit Streetly on the last day.
Stratford-upon-Avon 221 all out (5pts) lost to Lichfield 283-5 (20pts) by 62 runs
Lichfield 283-5 (50 overs)
Will Davies b Mike Brown 5
Thomas Stone ct Josh Hickman b James Urquhart 55
David Roberts ct John Price b James Urquhart 71
Joe Seager st Chris Calcott b James Urquhart 4
Jack Warren st Chris Calcott b James Urquhart 23
Stuart Fielding not out 95
Rich Taylor-Tibbott not out 3
Lewis Peat did not bat
Adam Peat did not bat
Tom Swift did not bat
James Wilkinson did not bat
Extras w (25), nb (2) 27
Mike Brown 10 1 19 1
Sam Douthwaite 6 2 34 0
Perry Derrick 10 3 45 0
Josh Hickman 8 0 77 0
David Bailey 7 0 52 0
James Urquhart 9 2 56 4
Stratford-upon-Avon 221 all out (48.1 overs)
John Price ct Joe Seager b Adam Peat 11
Adam Bayliss b Lewis Peat 30
Rob West ct Joe Seager b Lewis Peat 33
David Bailey lbw b Jack Warren 4
Christopher Whelan ct Joe Seager b Lewis Peat 51
Chris Calcott ct Adam Peat b Jack Warren 19
Perry Derrick ct Rich Taylor-Tibbott b David Roberts 15
Josh Hickman b Lewis Peat 16
Sam Douthwaite ct Thomas Stone b Adam Peat 11
James Urquhart b Lewis Peat 2
Mike Brown not out 4
Extras b (4), lb (3), w (16), nb (2) 25
Adam Peat 10 0 80 2
James Wilkinson 10 0 42 0
Lewis Peat 9.1 1 29 5
Jack Warren 10 1 23 2
David Roberts 9 1 40 1