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Captain’s efforts key to Stratford salvaging a draw

STRATFORD managed to secure a losing draw in their Warwickshire League Premier Division match at Handsworth with skipper Dexter Purser taking wickets and top scoring with the bat.

The home side were put into bat and duly set about the Stratford bowlers with openers Carby Dawkins (25) and Renrick Hooper putting on 52 for the first wicket. Hooper added 52 off 53 balls and Bhargav Patel added a more leisurely 60 to keep the scoreboard ticking before a barnstorming innings from Smith Thakar upped the run-rate with his unbeaten 52 coming off just 31 balls and included 4 fours and 3 sixes.

With rain reducing the innings, Handsworth finished on 221/7 off 41 overs with Purser and Josh Baines taking two wickets apiece while James Urquhart bowled a fine ten overs for just 29 runs.

In reply, Purser was the only batsman to manage the home side’s pace attack and he hit 46 off 64 balls before caught and bowled by Bevon Brown who finished with 4-29.

Fellow opener Josh Hickman (14) was the only other batsmen to reach double figures as Stratford slumped to 87-7 after 26 overs before the match was declared a draw with the visitors picking up five points and the home side 17.

Stratford are at home to basement club Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.

In Division Two, Studley remain at the foot of the table despite a 91-run victory at home to Ward End Unity.

The win was largely down to all-rounder Liam Murphy who gave his side the perfect start with an unbeaten knock of 82 as he put on 95 for the opening wicket with Chris Moss (42).

Jack Williams added a useful 27 off 21 balls to take the hosts to 179/4 off 39 overs.

With Kieron Ward (1-16) taking the wicket of opener Haseeb Rehman with just eight on the board, Ward End’s response began nervously but Aarib Khan (52) and Shahzad Ali (20) moved the score on.

Division Two rivals Earlswood climbed up to fourth following a fourth straight victory, this time seeing off visitors Walmley 2nds by five wickets in another rain-affected match.

Batting first, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals with opener Arman Dubb top scoring with 38 off 37 balls with all bar six of his runs coming in boundaries.

Ben Cox (3-35) and Gary Maynard (2-18) were the pick of the bowlers but there were also wickets for Harvey Williams, Sam Weir and Noah Massey.

Studley travel to Barby on Saturday looking to post back-to-back wins while Earlswood host Kenilworth.

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