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We let ourselves down, admits Stratford skipper

Stourbridge batsman Dwayne Crossgill is bowled by Stratford’s Archie Walker. Photo: Mark Williamson
Stourbridge batsman Dwayne Crossgill is bowled by Stratford’s Archie Walker. Photo: Mark Williamson

STRATFORD skipper Chris Whelan conceded his side let themselves down after title rivals Stourbridge claimed a winning draw on Saturday.

The Panthers went into the game in bouyant mood following a run of four straight wins, but a poor bowling and fielding performance saw them come unstuck at Swan’s Nest Lane.

For the first time in a number of weeks, Stratford failed to get it right with the ball and it left them under a considerable amount of pressure.

“We didn’t do ourselves justice with the ball and we also let ourselves down in the field,” said Whelan.

“Despite this, I felt there wasn’t much between the sides. We’re still well in the title race and I think it’s going to come down to ourselves, Stourbridge and Rugby.

“It’s a shame our run has come to an end, and we now just have to put another one together and see where it takes us.”

After losing the toss, the Panthers were happy to bowl first on what looked like the usual batter-friendly Swan’s Nest Lane pitch.

Consistent batting from Marvarick Perry (68), Nathan Crudeli (50) and Matthew Bradley (49) took Stourbridge to 300 for eight, in 55 overs, with James Urquhart taking three for 79 for Stratford, from 14 overs.

With Dexter Purser suffering an injury during the first innings, Stratford lacked their usual fast start, one that was vital if they were to chase down the target.

The Panthers’ top order were unable to spread the field and did not find the boundary on enough occasions.

After 30 overs and despite only being two wickets down, Stratford were well behind the required run rate.

Stourbridge did however encounter some tough middle-order resistance from Chris Whelan (74), John Price (48) and Declan Waddington (37) and they were unable to take the final wicket before the innings closed on 246 for nine, with Crudeli taking three for 36.

“We probably gifted Stourbridge 40 runs and that proved to be the difference between the two sides,” Whelan added.

“I think given our bowling and fielding performance, we could count ourselves lucky to be only chasing 300.

“Hopefully we can bounce back with a win against Lichfield this weekend.”

Stratford team to face Lichfield: Pusher, Nardone, Price, Waddington, Whelan, Jones, Urquhart, Hickman, Walker, Douthwaite, Whitting.

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