STRATFORD-upon-Avon will look to get their title chase back on track tomorrow (Saturday) after suffering their third defeat of the Birmingham League Division Three season.
The second-placed Panthers slipped to a 46-run defeat at Pelsall as leaders Stourbridge extended their advantage at the top of the table to 25 points after their sealed a 66-run victory at Newport.
Seven points now separate second to fifth-placed Pelsall as Stratford prepare to meet fourth-bottom Newport at Swans Nest Lane tomorrow.
Last weekend, a below-par batting performance proved costly as, having dismissed Pelsall for 180, they were skittled for 134 in the 34th over.
Pelsall, having won the toss and batted first, were quickly struggling when they lost the first three batsmen for 19 runs and the situation worsened to 46-5 as Arthur Walker and Sam Douthwaite took control with the ball.
But a 55-run stand between Dan Wale and Tom Wright stemmed the tide, with Wale quickly smacking 46 off 43 balls.
Though the fall of their wickets left Pelsall 101-7 an eight-wicket stand worth Danny Pennell (25) and Waqar Ahmad (31) ralled the innings again and the tail took the score to 180 all out in the 52nd over.
Spinner James Urquhart led the bowling figures with 4-39 off 15.3 overs, with Walker taking 3-60 and Douthwaite 2-37.
In reply, Stratford’s solid start, with opener Dexter Purser hitting 33 off 31 balls, soon stuttered. Only three other batsmen managed double figures — Gareth Langman (29), Luke Nardone (23) and Whelan (20) — as top-scorer Wale proved his aptitude with the ball.
The last five wickets fell for 11 runs as Wale finished with 5-26 and Ryan Brown chipped in with 4 -35 to leave Stratford 134 all out in 33.2 overs.
Richard Smith claimed five wickets but Stratford Seconds suffered a 47-run defeat at home to Kidderminster in 2nd XI Division Two South.
Having elected to bat first, Kidderminster totalled 231 all out in their 50 overs, with Smith taking 5-61 in 13 overs. Thomas Kimberlin top-scored with 54, aided by 43 from Ryan Cooper.
Openers Charlie Blake (45) and Adam Joseph (22) gave Stratford a solid base but only skipper Ben Pigott (29) and Smith (39) kept up the momentum as Stratford were dismissed for 184 in 40 overs.
Stratford visit Sutton Coldfield tomorrow.
Stratford Bards fell to a four-wickets defeat away to Long Itchington in the Cotswold League Division Three, despite a half-century from Ajay Joseph.
Joseph hit 54 from 48 balls, hitting seven fours and one six, as the Bards finished on 237-7 in their 45 ovvers. Skipper Nicholas Jones (44) and Barnaby Bos (41) had shared an opening stand of 88.
The Bards sensed they were in a winning position when they had Long Itchington 87-5 but Pete McKenna (67no) and skipper Nick Brooks (61) put on 116 runs for the sixth wicket to edge them within sight and McKenna and Nick Sandy (15no) steered them home with seven balls to spare.
The Bards, who remain at the foot of the table, are at home to Leamington Fourths tomorrow.