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Stratford facing uphill battle to win title after Pelsall setback

Chris Whelan
Chris Whelan

STRATFORD skipper Chris Whelan has conceded his side face an “uphill battle” if they are to win the Birmingham and District League Division Three title this summer.

The Panthers’ silverware hopes suffered a setback on Saturday as they slipped to a 46-run defeat at Pelsall.

It leaves Stratford with little room for error in their remaining seven games, with leaders Stourbridge now 25 points ahead of them following their 66-run victory at Newport.

“It was a disappointing weekend for us,” said former Worcestershire pace bowler Whelan.

“We weren’t really at the races all day and we just lacked that bit of a cutting edge.

“It was a game we should have won, but we let the game drift instead of making more of the positions we were in.

“The defeat means we can’t afford to lose another game if we are to have any realistic ambitions of winning the title this season.

“It means an end to a good run of victories for us. Hopefully some results will start to go our away to give us a chance to catch Stourbridge.”

After losing the toss on a very dry wicket, Stratford managed to take early wickets and had Pelsall reeling at 46-5.

However, the match turned on its head after the introduction of the home club’s Dan Wale, who hit 46 from 43 balls.

His effort, helped by 31 from Waqar Ahmed, took Pelsall to 180 all out after James Urquhart took four for 39 and Arthur Walker picked up three for 60.

The chase never got started and the Panthers lost wickets at regular intervals, leaving the middle order under pressure to perform on a wicket that began to misbehave.

Wale then went to work with the ball, finishing with five for 26 as Stratford were made to pay for some bad shots.

Ryan Brown chipped in with four for 35, as Pelsall clinched a victory which leaves them in fifth place in the table, seven points behind Stratford.

Stratford return to league action on Saturday when they welcome Newport to Swan’s Nest Lane (12pm). Whelan is expecting to name an unchanged side.

Stratford (probable): Dexter Purser, Declan Waddington, Alex Marney, Luke Nardone, Chris Whelan, Gareth Langman, Henry Hopkins, Harry Abell, James Urquhart, Arthur Walker, Sam Douthwaite.

STRATFORD 2nds produced a below-par performance as they suffered a 47-run defeat to Kidderminster at Swan’s Nest Lane on Saturday.

Thomas Kimberlin (54) and Ryan Cooper (43) helped the visitors to 231 all out, with Stratford’s Richard Smith taking five for 61.

In reply, Paul Derrick claimed four for 48 as the Panthers were dismissed for 184. Charlie Blake (45) was the only batsman to make any headway on a day to forget.

This Saturday, Stratford 2nds go to Sutton Coldfield 2nds (12.30pm).

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