TOM PEDLEY hit a defiant unbeaten 70 but it could not prevent struggling Astwood Bank from falling to defeat at home to promotion-chasing Stratford in Birmingham League Division Three.
Bank’s six-wicket defeat leaves them third from bottom, 19 points from the safety mark, as they prepare to visit Pelsall on Saturday.
Pedley scored 70 off 142 balls in a rearguard action after coming to the crease at 0-2.
Mike Brown was the destroyer in chief for Stratford, finishing with 7-39 off 13.5 overs as Bank were skittled for 153.
Tom Grundy took two wickets in the first over, snapping up Alex Robinson and Matt MacDonald to leave Bank in disarray.
Brown then sent back Ryan Blakemore and Bank captain Steve Adshead to leave Bank 32-4 before Pedley set about a recovery act.
He was unbeaten on 70 but only Joel Haslam (25) stayed with him for any period, sharing a 69-run stand for the fifth wicket, before Brown tore through the lower order batsmen to end the innings on 153 in the 48th over.
An opening partnership of 50 between Dexter Purser (32) and Harry Adams (26) provided a solid platform for Stratford’s reply.
Although Rob West (17) and Adams fell with the score on 82, Ben Cooper was soon in dominant form as he hit 41 from 45 balls.
Chris Whelan departed for 5 to leave the Panthers 99-4 but Ben Pigott (26no) joined Cooper to steer the visitors home in the 42nd over.