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Panthers 'robbed' of win as rain rescues Old Hill

Chris Whelan
Chris Whelan

STRATFORD skipper Chris Whelan felt his team were “robbed” out of a deserved victory at Old Hill on Saturday.

The title-chasing Panthers appeared to be on their way another win when the rain arrived at Haden Hill with the visitors on 108 for one, in pursuit of an Old Hill total of 147.

Ravi Nagra top scored for Old Hill with 64, while Dexter Purser (4-36) and Archie Walker (3-19) were the successful bowlers for Stratford.

Although Purser had gone for 52 with the score at 108, Stratford were in the driving seat when the game came to a premature end.

“It was a very disappointing result, given the way the team performed throughout the day,” said Whelan.

“We played all the cricket and only one team was going to win it.

“I couldn’t fault any of the players and in reality we played all of the cricket, so to not come out of the game with the win was bitterly disappointing.

“Old Hill made absolutely no effort to try to get the game completed, given the situation of the match. We felt robbed of another win, which was deserved after the performance of the bowling group.”

Once again, the new ball partnership of Smith and Douthwaite got Stratford off to a good start. Both showed an appetite to take early wickets and not leak too many runs.

The tall imposing figure of Dexter Purser then entered the attack and immediately went to work of unsettling the Old Hill batsmen with his aggressive bouncers mixed with some seriously good skills moving the ball of the seam both ways.

It was clear for everyone to see that the Old Hill batsmen did not fancy facing a fired-up Purser.

Archie Walker provided great support, with the pair sharing seven wickets between them (Purser 4-36 and Walker 3-19), with support from Douthwaite (2-50).

The run chase got off to flyer with Purser again showing why he leads the Stratford MVP League with blistering attack of disdainful batting, smearing the Old Hill attack to all parts of the ground on his way to another half century, with good support from the less fluent Langman. Stratford reached 108-1, before the rain intervened.

Meanwhile, Stratford 2nds (189-9) lost by six wickets to leaders Berkswell (190-4) at Swans Nest Lane.

A 100-run partnership from Ben Pigott (39) and Adam Joseph (87no) helped Stratford to 189-9 from 50 overs.

This always looked light and it proved to be the case when Berkswell eased to the total at four down amid some poor Stratford bowling.

“We really need to learn to score better in the middle overs,” said skipper, Harry Abell. “Too often this season we have really struggled to score quick enough between ten and 35 overs.

“For the first time this season we didn’t bowl well enough. We made it so easy for the opposition to score at will.”

The club's third team, the Bards, finally got back to winning ways as they claimed a six-wicket success over Adlestrop in Cotswold Hills League Division Three.

The Bards won the toss and decided to bowl first, on a pristine-looking pitch.

The pitch offered something for both batters and bowlers, and away captain Sam Keen made good progress after an early drop from Ali Cutler.

He played confidently to 59, along with Nick Rawlings (44), until a drinks break broke their concentration and Keen was caught the very next ball.

The home side rotated the bowling and fielded well on a very quick outfield to contain Adlestrop to only 195 for seven, Smart (1-23) and Dick (1-18) being the pick of the bowlers as they all shared a wicket each.

In reply, Will Noble and Tim Smart batted confidently, rotating the strike and attacking where possible against an accurate bowling attack led by Nick Keen.

With no fielding restrictions in division three, scoring boundaries was difficult, with Tim Smart holing out an long on for an excellent 44 and a 90-run partnership.

Will Noble kept the chase on target though, calmly keeping the scoring ticking over to knock off the target in the 41 over and stranded on 98 not out after hitting the last ball for four.

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