Avoncroft U12s were comfortably beaten by Barnards Green, but there were several positive performances to give the club hope for the future.
Avoncroft again won the toss and asked Barnards Green to bat. Matthew Athey kept things tight early on (0-5 off 3 overs), but in general the opposition top order looked comfortable. Croft fielded a side with only 1 true Under 12 and with some players considerably younger, and this showed against older Barnards Green batsmen who put pressure on the bowlers and fielders with some powerful hitting.
Fin Morris picked up the first wicket of the game, bowling the visitors opening batsman for 18 with the score on 40, but this did little to stem the tide as Barnards Green progressed with minimal trouble to 103 with their other opener retiring on 32. The turning point of the innings was the introduction of 7 year old Ben Athey, who bowled with pace and control and didn’t look at all out of place bowling against boys 4 years older than him. Ben took his first wicket thanks to a sharp catch from brother Matthew, then followed this up with 2 further wickets, one bowled and one caught by Louis Griffiths. Not to be outdone, 9 year old Ben Huxley also got in on the act with a dismissal of his own, and when Henry Jinks took a wicket with the last ball of the innings, Croft had pulled things back to bowl Barnards Green out for 136.
Chasing a target considerably higher than the team had ever reached before was always going to be a tough ask, and any slim hopes were quickly dispelled as Croft lost 4 early wickets. Matthew Athey (10) and Louis Griffiths (10) steadied the ship, but both were dismissed with over half of the innings still to go. It was left to Ben Huxley and Ellie Griffiths to add a sense of respectability to the score. Both played very sensibly and, whilst they didn’t score many off the bat, they battled through for more than 10 overs allowing extras to accumulate along the way. When Ben was finally caught in the last over, the pair had put on 28 runs in their seventh wicket partnership, enabling Croft to finish on 62-7 from their 20 overs.
Despite a one-sided scoreline, the team can take heart from again battling right to the end, and there were plenty of positives and learning points to take from a game played in good spirits by both sides.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 08/05/2017
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