STOURBRIDGE saw their lead at the top of Division One cut as they could only manage a losing draw against Pershore.

But there’s still little reason to panic for Richard Bradley’s men, who maintain a 56 point advantage over second placed Astwood Bank with six games remaining.

Stour’s cause was not helped by an injury to star batsman Josh Banks, though Bradley believes the knock will not keep him out for long.

He said: “Josh’s injury initially looked quite bad but thankfully it seemed to clear up ok.

“He didn’t bat but would have come in to hold an end had we needed him.

“He was due to miss this week’s game at Worcester Nomads anyway due to holiday but should be back for Astwood Bank the week after.”

Neither side controlled the game until the final ten overs when Stour went on the defensive to protect their wickets.

Batting first after winning the toss, Pershore made a blistering start, hitting 29 from the first five overs before Matt Bradley bowled Liam Ridding for 19.

By the 25th over Pershore were 68-2 with skipper Ciaran Sanders and Chris Ridding showing attacking intent.

But quick wickets soon reduced them to 107-5 and Stour seemed to have the upper hand before Pershore’s tail wagged, Ross Mathews (32), Tim Smith (17), Joe Fowles (29), and Luke Dalley (12) took the score to 198-9 off the 50 overs.

James Musk was Stour’s top bowler with 3-45.

Stour’s reply was marred not only by the injury to Banks but also a rain break which curtailed their overs to 43.

They got off to a bad start, losing Steve Game and skipper Bradley cheaply but at 88-3 they still looked strong until a sudden collapse saw them slump to 111-7.

Audy Alexander, Alex Bingham, Greg Jones, Mikesh Patel all went for few runs in one of Stour’s worst passages of play this season.

It was left to Musk and Kalpesh Patel to anchor a fading innings and limit the damage.

Bradley added: “We did a few things wrong on Saturday.

“We were not as sharp in the field and we probably conceded 20 runs too many.

“Then batting we played some poor shots at the wrong time but the lads down the order showed some character to ensure we limited our losses.”