Avoncroft 1st XI brushed aside Himley at the John Sutcliffe Memorial Ground last Saturday.
Himley, having opted to bat first, were soon in trouble with the combination of Jon Hunter mystifying their batsmen with his ability to swing the ball while Paul Athey, bowling his best spell of the season to date, showed some electrifying pace. Both of the Croft bowlers were in the wickets early on, Hunter removing Wall, the Himley captain, for a duck and Athey removing Jack Lewis caught behind for 4 – one of five catches Sam Hughes took behind the stumps.
Hunter and Athey continued their assault on the Himley top order taking four of the top 5 and only Scott Ralph for Himley providing some dogged resistance. Athey finished with 9-2-30-2 while Hunter bowled through to his maximum and finished with 17-7-52-3. Dan Elliot was the change from the top end for Athey and he chipped in with 3-1-8-1 before the introduction of Craig Hughes who along with Mark Wood replacing Jon Hunter, took the final 4 wickets, Wood removing Scott Ralph caught by Hunter. Hughes flighted the ball well and lured the lower order into his trap successfully. It was a good all round bowling performance, showing the depth we have to the bowling attack this season and importantly backed up by a tight performance in the field.
With a small total to chase, and regular opener Matt Hare not available, Sam Hughes and makeshift opener Whitehead started to pick apart the Himley attack. Hughes provided much more of the fluency early on with Whitehead finding it trickier against the new ball. Hughes (15), looking comfortable at the crease, seemed to be on course for another good score but sent a catch straight to cover which was accepted gratefully. Dave Anson joined Whitehead at the crease with the score on 24-1 and the two then went on to punish the Himley attack, Anson with some of his signature straight drives and Whitehead taking a liking to anything short outside his off-stump. Whitehead (44) eventually was caught at mid off, Anson (45*) finished the innings quickly after his departure.
It was a resounding victory for the team built upon the confidence from the previous week’s encounter at Astwood Bank, but we should expect tougher outings in the coming weeks against Bartestree and Himbleton, where some determination and character will need to be shown if we genuinely want to consider ourselves a top 4 team in the division.
Match Report by Mark Whitehead, 15/5/17
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