Stratford denied opening day win by international century-maker
Bermudian captain Kamau Leverock struck a century to deny Stratford an opening day victory in the Premier Division of the Warwickshire League.
The hosts had seemed on track having totalled 206-9 from their 50 overs and then having their visitors in trouble at 123-5.
But Leverock (100no) and Jamaican all-rounder Bevon Brown (29no) then put on 84 for the next wicket to see them to a five-wicket win.
Stratford skipper Dexter Purser was disappointed with the outcome but not with his side’s performance with both Josh Hickman (54) and Matt Warren (58) hitting half-centuries.
He said: “On the whole we were as good as we could have been for 95 per cent of that game. We batted well, bowled well and we fielded really well. It was just that one guy for them came good and took the game away from us because without his 100, I couldn’t see them finding another 100 runs the way we were bowling.
“Unfortunately, that’s cricket and you are sometimes going to lose a game like that when there is someone in the opposition side who is of that standard.
“Even when he came in, we still fancied our chances but the more boundaries he hit and the more sixes he hit, it deflates you a little bit while he grows in confidence. It was quite a short boundary into the car park, so it was only a little hit for him.”
Stratford lost the toss and were put into bat with Leverock (1-21) and former Warwickshire quickie Recordo Gordon opening the Handsworth attack. Openers Hickman and Purser survived that only for the latter to be clean bowled by Abubakar Muhammad (1-26) with the score on 22.
That brought Warren to the crease and a 112-run second wicket partnership before he was caught and bowled by Dwayne Crossgill (1-35).
This prompted a mini collapse with Nathan Edwards and Gareth Langman going for a duck before Brown (5-42) took the wicket of opener Hickman.
Purser added: “Without their Bermudian skipper it would have been different, but that’s what you get when you have a good overseas player.
“They won the toss and put us in which is what we would have done with the conditions as they were. Even though we batted first, we batted well, and Josh Hickman and Matt Warren put on a great partnership for the second wicket and put us in a great position to score a great total.
“I think we probably ended up 30 runs short of what we could have got without the mini collapse but at the interval we were quite happy about scoring more than 200 runs.
“The ground didn’t dry up too much but it did get slightly quicker for the second innings, not that it mattered because their overseas was hitting sixes anyway.”
The Handsworth wickets were shared around with Purser (1-32), Archie Walker (1-17), James Urquhart (1-24), Josh Bains (1-30), Tom Grundy (1-36) and Josh Colwell (1-40) all having some success.
Stratford head to Sutton Coldfield on Saturday and the skipper is hoping for another good display.
Purser added: “We have full availability this weekend and even after a loss we are going to go there full of confidence. If we play like we did on Saturday, I’m confident we will get the win. Sutton won their first game so they will also be full of confidence, and it should make for a good game.”