Stretford added a league win to their impressive victory over Walshaw in the cup when they recorded a confidence boosting 4 wicket victory over Stayley on a glorious Saturday.
After winning the toss, Stayley, enjoyed some good fortune in reaching 29 before Bird edged behind for the first of Alex Grant’s five wickets. Peter Skuse fell just prior to the first drinks break for a kitchen sink style for 47 when he was stumped off the bowling off Fagan with the score on 62.
In the face of some gargantuan hitting from Ahmed (58) Stretford’s lines and lengths became more disciplined and proved too much for Stayley. Ahmed was brilliant run out by Tom Coulson who threw down the stumps at the none-strikers end which provided a vital turning point. Along with a wonderful catch by Matt Armstrong, tumbling one handed down leg side behind the stumps off Grant.
On a small ground with a rapid field, Grant finished with figures 5-55, his second first team five wicket haul. The popular Grant has endured a lengthy spell on the side lines through injury and was impressive particularly in the second half of his spell, beating the bat on numerous occasions.
Although being hit for 5 sixes, Corey Fagan returned figures of 2-44 and miserly skipper Benjy Evans 1-32 off 12 overs.
Important contributions from Dillen Watson (28*) and Ben Riddell (16) guided Stretford home with 16 overs remaining but a blistering 76 from 59 balls from Corey Fagan damaged a shell-shocked Stayley early in the 2nd innings after Stretford slipped to 30 for 2. His 70 run partnership with O’Malley proved pivotal in securing victory.
Perhaps the most important moment in the match was a dropped catch by M Rehamn who spilled Fagan on 30 at mid-off. These momentary lapses from such an undoubted talent will frustrate the Stretford faithful who will be wanting more from Fagan who had a brilliant hundred in the palm of his hand.
Next week Stretford will be looking to continue their good form against Royton at home to make it 3 wins in 4 games