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Stour's slide continues
12:21pm Thursday 17th July 2014 in Sport
STOURBRIDGE continue to tumble down Division Two of the Birmingham and District League after losing three of four consecutive home matches.
Losing to league leaders Leamington Spa leaves Stour scrambling for a lifeline to save them from falling further.
Their batsmen showed good form to hit 249 but once again fell short of a safe target for their weakened bowling attack.
For the third week running, Stour were unable to field their best possible team due to injuries scares involving paceman Matt Bradley, spinner James Wood and Greg Jones.
The youthful Stour side failed to retain the edge over the opposition that they had at the start of the season.
Winning the toss, skipper Richard Bradley saw his openers Alex Bingham and Steve Game put on 116 for the first wicket to give the home side a platform to go beyond 250 for their best score of the season.
Once both openers were out, Bingham (55) bowled by Nabeel Asgher and Game (41) lbw to the same bowler, a continued push for even more runs failed to materialise.
The unlucky Audy Alexander was brilliantly caught at mid on by Tom Warner diving full stretch to his left for 15. Bilal Hassan, promoted to blast his team into a winning position, lasted for a cameo innings of 41, skipper Richard Bradley was caught at long off and Matt Bradley was trapped lbw.
Josh Banks, batting at number six, kept the scoreboard ticking and put on 44 valuable runs with Jitesh Jivan-Patel at the end of the allocate 55 overs. Banks remained not out 33 and Patel was run out off the final ball for 16. Asghar claimed all six wicket for 60 runs off his17 over spell.
At the start of the Leamington innings, Stour were once again exceptional as both openers, Shabaz Alam and Jonathan Wigley, were back in the hutch for just 10 runs.
Stour’s opening attack of Ikram Mussadaq and Ali Shah shared the successes. Stour missing their premier paceman Matt Bradley and the match-winning James Wood found further penetration into the middle order arduous.
Number three batsman Mark Lewis in particular frustrated Stour's attack and took his personal score to 82 and made sure his side was safely nearing the target.
With the job almost done, Lewis was out lbw to Audy Alexander. There was a glimmer of hope for Stour when Jitesh Jivan-Patel bowled skipper David Bailey for 32 to open up the one end.
However, the hopes faded quickly as Lee Hopkins and Ross Briscoe made light of Stour’s bowling. Unconcerned at the close lbw appeals, Briscoe (65 not out) and Hopikins (44) showed why their side has remained at the top of the division since the start of the season.