WITH THEIR first team out of action, it was Stratford’s second string that stole the show in their Warwickshire League Division Four battle with Rugby Seconds, running out winners by 79 runs.
Dexter Purser’s side were scheduled to meet Rugby’s first team last weekend, until their opponents reported cases of coronavirus within their squad, leading to the match not being fulfilled.
With all focus on the second string battle between Stratford and Rugby, the Panthers did not disappoint at Webb Ellis Road, claiming a morale-boosting win that takes them up to seventh.
Led by the relentless Nick Pepper (118), the visitors hit 257 runs for six wickets conceded after deciding to bat first, a decision which proved correct as Stratford’s bowlers applied the pressure – Nathan Myers (3-22) in particular enjoying his haul of wickets early on in the Rugby innings.
Despite a revival of sorts at 108-7, Rugby were eventually seen off in the 46th over to hand Stratford their third win this season.
After a slow start, the Panthers eventually roared into life when opener George Ross (52) found the perfect partner in Pepper to regularly rack up the runs.
Between them, a stand of 109 runs was established, with Stratford not relenting after the loss of Ross.
Josh Pike (13) and Sam Douthwaite (20) all contributed during the few balls they faced at the crease, and allowed Pepper to continue his big-hitting approach.
With ten boundary hits and three sixes recorded, Pepper eventually reached his ceiling when being dismissed by Oscar Briggs (1-27) with one over remaining.
Thereafter, it was the turn of the Panthers’ bowlers and fielders to turn on the style.
With Rugby slipping to a 108-7 score, some resistance was offered by Lee Golding (40) and George Terry (36, no), though their efforts proved futile as Sam Douthwaite (2-24) chipped in late in the innings to help down the hosts.
On Saturday, both Stratford’s first and second XI’s take on Bedworth.