Avoncroft 1st XI came back from local rivals Himbleton with mixed emotions following their 33 run defeat.
Avoncroft, elected to bowl first on a cool afternoon and produced a spell of bowling and fielding that has been their best for a long time. Himbleton, one of the strongest batting line ups in the division, were reduced to tatters by some fantastic bowling from both Paul Athey and Jon Hunter. Athey’s pace and ability to put the ball in the right areas of the pitch ball after ball built pressure along with Hunter continuing his weekly exhibition of swing bowling. They left the Himbleton top order scratching their heads, 3-1 became 38-3 and 61-6. Croft would have hoped for a smaller total to chase than the 158 Himbleton posted, but some beligerant batting from Sean Jenkins (44) and Rob Perrins (30) gave Himbleton slightly more to bowl at than they maybe thought they would have at the drinks break. Athey returned figures 14-4-40-5 and Hunter 16-2-54-3, Dan Elliot and Craig Hughes taking the other two wickets. Tom Murray, deputising for Sam Hughes behind the stumps had a great day too taking 3 catches off Athey’s bowling.
Croft knew the job was only half done and that the Himbleton team would come hard at them with the ball. The collapse that ensued though from the Croft batsmen left a deflated feeling in the changing room, knowing that an opportunity to beat one of the favourites in the division had been missed. Only Matt Hare (33), Tom Murray (22) and Paul Athey(15), at the death, provided any real resistance. All too often wickets were given away rather than being earned by the Himbleton bowlers, which made it particularly difficult to take given how hard Croft had worked with the ball in the first innings. Croft eventually collapsed to 125 all out and left with just 4 points to their name.
While the overall result was disappointing, we have to take heart from the performance with the ball and know that if we can sort out our fragility in the batting line up, that we can be a team that can dominate some of the clubs that expect to be chasing for honours this year.
The team will be looking to put this right next Saturday when they entertain Martley, 1pm start.
Match Report by Mark Whitehead, 30/5/17
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