Stratford maintain fine start with victory over Barby
Warwickshire League, Premier Division
Stratford won by 49 runs
IN-FORM Stratford cemented top spot and maintained their unbeaten start to the new season with a 49-run success over bottom-of-the-table Barby.
With plenty of rain soaking the wicket at Swans Nest Lane in the days building up to Saturday's Warwickshire League Premier Division clash, it took until 4pm before play could safely get under way, with both teams limited to just 28 overs.
The match was also the first chance for Stratford to sport their striking coloured kit for the white ball win/lose format of the game, which the season has just entered into for the next couple of months.
Barby won the toss and understandably opted to put Stratford into bat in the challenging conditions.
However, the opening pair of captain Dexter Purser and Gareth Langman put on a solid first-wicket stand, piling on 43 runs before the former was caught and bowled for 13 by Craig Scott (2-18).
George Burford came to the crease and put on an 18-run partnership with Langman before being clean bowled by Scott, leaving Stratford at 61-2.
Luke Nardone (15) was next to go, dismissed by Dineth Thimodya (2-44) who then removed Langman (40), putting the score at 99-4.
Josh Colwell then departed for a duck one run later, having being bowled out by Frazer Grant (1-25), but that would be the last wicket to fall as Josh Hickman (22 not out) and Nick Pepper (26no) guided the Panthers to a more than respectable 149-5 from their 28 overs.
Barby got off to a slow start in reply and quickly found themselves at 16-2 when Rob Field was run out by James Urquhart and Joseph Bramley was caught out by Nardone from the bowling of Tom Grundy (2-8).
Grundy then took his tenth wicket of the season after trapping Nick Gleghorn lbw before Archie Walker removed Craig Scott in similar fashion.
A mini collapse ensued, as Barby faltered to 56-6 when Urquhart (3-21) firstly dismissed Thimodya (15) and then Will Sinclair in double-quick time.
Joel Gleghorn and Richard Tarrant set about recovering the innings, but the pair could only put on 16 runs before the latter was sent packing after being caught out by Purser off the bowling of Urquhart, his eighth wicket of the campaign.
Gleghorn eventually departed for a hard-earned 30 to leave the score at 99-8, with Barby adding just one more run before their innings came to a close.
The 20-point victory for the Panthers ensured they maintained their unbeaten start to the 2021 season and moved them 16 points clear of second-placed Moseley Ashfield.
Weather permitting, Stratford are on the road to fourth-placed Coventry & North Warwickshire this Saturday (noon start).