Avoncroft unfortunately fell just short in the final once again as they finished runners up to Netherton for the second time in 3 years.
Following the teams inspections both thought this would be a high scoring encounter on what proved to be a very fast wicket with just as quick an outfield. Captain Mark Whitehead lost the toss and Netherton elected to bat. Paul Athey was given the new ball and took advantage of the conditions as he looked to unsettle the Netherton openers early on.
Will Sach took the new ball from the bottom end, unfortunately in the first over while diving to save a boundary Matt Hare injured his knee and was unable to continue, all from Avoncroft thank those who assisted Matt and we all hope to see him back at Avoncroft as soon as possible.
Once the game continued Will picked up the first wicket dismissing Netherton opener Oseland for 15 caught & bowled leaving Netherton at 21-1 after 2 overs. Paul then picked up the wicket of Lee for 8 in the very next over and both bowlers opened with 3 over spells each leaving Netherton at 60-2 after 6 overs.
Craig Hughes then entered the attack and picked up the wicket of Lowe with his very first ball and bowled his 4 over spell straight through in impressive fashion finishing with figures of 3/28 as he picked up the wickets of Shah and Nawaz. Unfortunately Avoncroft struggled to contain Warby from the other end and he was eventually dismissed by Josh Cound for 57. Paul Athey then bowled the last over and picked up one final wicket meaning Netherton closed on 176-7.
At the halfway stage neither side felt they had a clear advantage and Avoncroft sent out Josh Cound and Sam Hughes to open the innings which got off to a flying start as Josh dispatched opening over for 20 runs instantly putting the pressure on the Netherton bowlers.
Sam was dismissed early on the 3rd for 4 by M.Lowe bringing Dave Anson to the crease at 32-1 and together with Josh they looked to maintain the early scoring rates. The pair rode their luck as during one over Dave presented a simple chance but was put down and then the very next ball there was a missed stumping opportunity. However as they looked to maintain the aggressive start Josh edged one to the keeper from J.Patel and was dismissed for 44 leaving Avoncroft at 69-2 in the 6th over.
Craig Hughes came in at 4 and immediately looked to push on from his excellent bowling performance as he hit his second ball faced for 6 and at the end of the 6th over Avoncroft were 76-2 and looking poised to push on. Again, Avoncroft had their momentum halted as Dave was clean bowled by Warby for 17.
Netherton at this point showed some excellent bowling as they continued to hit their yorkers and restricted Avoncrofts scoring as only Craig Hughes managed to continue accumulating runs and soon brought up his 50. Mark Whitehead & Will Sach both went cheaply and eventually the pressure told as Craig was run out looking to maintain the strike in the last over. Avoncroft ultimately fell 15 runs short as our innings closed on 162-7.
Congratulations to Netherton and all at Avoncroft for making it to the final once again. We look forward to competing in the tounament again next year and finishing one better.
We now move onto Saturday where the 1st XI host Rushwick and look to consolidate our place in the league while the 2nd XI are away at Rushwick as both teams look to return to winning ways.
Match Report by Josh Cound, 05/07/17
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