Season Review – 1st XI
The first team got off to a winning start for the 2016 campaign with a 51 run win over Barnards Green. Having been put into bat having lost the toss (a theme that would continue during the season) croft were skittled out for 142 in just 23 overs with only 4 batsman making it past 20 and Sam top scoring with 28. Luckily for the batsman crofts bowlers stepped up to the mark bowling Baranrds Green out for just 91 in 20 overs thanks to 4 wickets to Paul Athey and 2 to new signing Jonathan Hunter and 3 for James Bunn.
The 2nd game of the season did not go as well with the bowlers once again performing well bowling out Bartestree for 160 with 3 wickets a piece for Paul and John and 2 for Crock. Unfortunately once again a below par performance with the bat meant being dismissed for 100 with Crock making 78 of these and no other batsman passing 5.
A high scoring game followed at croft against Cleobury with croft posting 346-6 in 50 overs thanks to 96 from Crock, 73 from Sam whilst all the other batsman chipped in with scores above 30 including an impressive debut for Jonty Heslop with an unbeaten 34. This time crofts bowlers could not continue their good form or contain Ben Griffiths 188 not out from of their total of 288-6 off 40 overs before rain stopped play meaning a losing draw for the croft. Hunter again in the wickets with 4 and a wicket each for Paul and Craig.
A trip to Kempsey followed with croft being dismissed for 183 with Josh Cound stepping up to top score with 29. This total was chased down by Kempsey in 30 overs for the loss of just 2 wickets.
The following game produced the league’s best bowling figures of the season by our own John Hunter taking 8-42 in dismissing Himbleton for 198 in just 38 overs. In reply croft was 78-4 after 19 overs when the rain finally put a stop to the game just 1 over short of croft gaining a winning draw.
A dramatic win away at Malvern followed under the leadership of Dan where Malvern were dismissed for 128 with 4 wickets to Dan himself, 3 to crock and 2 to Paul. On Will in the top order with 29 scored any runs before a late partnership between Paul Athey (20*) and Jason Patel (14*) saw croft reach 130-7 off 52.4 overs.
A home game v Harborne followed in which croft grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. Having dismissed the league leaders for 223 with another 4 wickets from Hunter 3 from Will and 2 from Craig. In response Crock (25) and Alex Brunt (35) got croft off to a quick start followed by Will (33) Tom Murray (30) but with 11 runs to win and 5 wickets left croft crumbled to 219 all out with Craig dismissed for 49 and the last 3 batsman falling for 0 to lose by 4 runs.
A disappointing 4 wicket defeat at home to Ross followed having posted a total of 231 all out with 89 not out to Craig and 45 extras Ross passed the total for the loss of 6 wickets in 40 overs with 2 wickets a piece for Craig, John and Crock.
A third home game on the trot resulted in an 8 wicket win against high flying Old Vigornins by dismissing the visitors for 144 with the wickets spread amongst the bowlers and then the total being chased 2 down in just 20 overs mainly due to 102 not out by Crock.
An away fixture followed at Rushwick in which a weakened 1st team bowled out the hosts for 220 thanks to 4 wickets for Anthony Pittam and 3 for Mark Jones. Having been well set with a 100 opening partnership another croft collapse followed being dismissed for 180 with Crock again top scoring with 58 and 40 from Chris Pitt.
A slow scoring game followed at home to Netherton with croft restricting the visitors to 184-9 in their 50 overs mainly due to Hunter’s figures of 5-23. Croft chased this down for the loss of 8 wickets thanks to 61 from Alex Brunt, 46 from Crock and 32 not out from Sam.
The 2nd half of the season started poorly with a heavy 8 wicket defeat to Barnards Green.
A high scoring run chase followed at home to Bartestree where the away side were restricted to 283-9 which could have been better having their Aussie overseas dropped on 0 who went on to get 92. 4 wickets for Crock and 2 for Craig were the main contributors in the bowling and Crock then contributed 113 with the bat helped by 34 from Joe Ingle and 28 not out from Paul Athey saw us home with 3 wickets to spare in the final over.
A weakened side visited Cleobury where the home side racked up 300-9 with 2 wickets a piece for James Downing, JR, Kevin Prudoe and Alex Brunt. In response croft were bowled out for 100 with only Sam (25) and Alex (20) making double figures.
A bad tempered affair followed at home to Kempsey where croft were asked to bat and were all out for 200 in 49 overs with Sam top scoring with 43, 35 from Crock and 34 from Ben Warwick. Despite the below par score all of the Croft lads backed up some great bowling with some great fielding Hunter taking 5 wickets and 2 a piece for Craig and Crock and a couple of outstanding catches from ben meant Kempsey were dismissed for 159.
The win/lose pattern continued away at Himbleton as croft posted 257 all out with Craig top scoring with 64 and 39 from Tom Murray in a below par score of a fast scoring ground. Himbleton chased this down for the loss of 5 wickets with crock taking 2 wickets.
The highest scoring game of the season then followed at home to Malvern in which an understrength croft side conceded 375-9 in 50 overs. 3 wickets for Craig and 2 for Anthony Pittam. Croft were dismissed for 314 in their attempt to chase this down with 36 from Jason Patel, 66 from Crock and 117 from Craig.
Harborne away followed with us being dismissed for just 66 with only Crock (27) and Will (19) making double figures. Croft took 6 wickets in Harborne’s reply with Hunter again leading the attack with 4 wickets.
A 4th defeat on the trot followed as the batting woes continued away at Ross with croft being dismissed for just 121 with most batsman getting a start but no one converting this. Croft only took 3 wickets in Ross reply 2 by Craig and 1 by Paul.
Our only rained off game was followed at Old Vigs. This was followed by a defeat at home to Rushwick in which croft’s batsman again were below par in a total of 144 thanks mainly to 51 from Crock. In a close finish Rushwick lost 9 wickets in the chase with 3 from Dan and 2 from both Paul and Carpy.
The final game of the season continued on the same trend with a defeat away at Netherton. The home side making 256-5 declared after 49 overs with 2 wickets for Josh Cound and 1 each for Crock, Carpy and Alex Brunt. Crock finished his good season with 30 in response but only stand in skipper Dan made double figures with him in a total of 70 all out. 1 positive from this game was a 1st team debut for young Liam Kehoe.
We finished a disappointing season in 8th place with a record of 22 games 6 wins, 1 draw 13 losses and 2 abandonments and a total of 202 points.
In the midweek knockout we unfortunately we knocked out in the first round in a game that saw the scores tied and us to be eliminated based on wickets lost. Astwood bank batted 1st and scored 122-4 off 12 8 ball overs with Jovan taking 2 wickets, 1 for Dave Charlton and a direct hit from the boundary from Jason Patel for a run out. In response croft made 122-6 with Sam making 44 and Ben making 29. With 3 to win off the last ball Dave Charlton and Jonty scrambled a 2 to tie the game.
David James finished the leading run scorer with 867 league runs @45.63 followed by Craig with 443 @ 40.27 and Sam with 232 @ 25.78.
Jonathan Hunter finished the leading wicket taker in his 1st season at the club with 41 wickets @ 12.17 followed by Crock with 23 @ 27.040 and Paul with 22 @ 28.32.
Jonathan finished the highest wicket taker in the league and with the best bowling figures of the division of 8/42. Crock finished 4th leading runs scorer in the league. Dan also finished the season with the most catches in the league with 13.
In summary a very disappointing season especially on the batting front with only 2 players passing 100 and only 4 players passing a score of 50 shows where the improvement is needed next season.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Crock all the best in his retirement from playing and a big thank you to Crock and Chris for the superb wickets we played on this season as well as Stella for the teas as these are regularly commented as the best in our league by other sides and Sue for scoring.
Another thanks goes to any players that have played during my 3 years as captain for all their efforts and look forward to playing under Marks leadership next season.