Avoncroft 1st XI brushed aside Rushwick in their Division 3 encounter at the John Sutcliffe Memorial Ground on Saturday.
Rushwick won the toss and elected to bat having posted some decent scores in recent weeks, however, it became evident from early on in their innings that it was going to be a tough ask for them to do the same against an Avoncroft attack back at full strength. Paul Athey and Jon Hunter opened the bowling, Athey taking two wickets in his first 3 overs and Hunter only conceding two runs in his first 3 overs. After 15 overs Rushwick were 29-2 and looking increasingly frustrated at their inability to create run scoring opportunities. This created further opportunity for Croft’s bowlers to create wicket taking opportunities and by drinks Rushwick were 68-4 with Craig Hughes and Dan Elliott in on the action with a wicket apiece. With 10 overs remaining in their innings Rushwick had moved onto 117-6, Elliott picking up another wicket and Mark Wood in to the game claiming one of three that he would go on to take. Will Sach had bowled some tight lines up to this point to help continue the restriction on the run rate. In the last 10 overs Croft, let things slip a little with 80 runs conceded, some dropped catches costing runs. Despite this Croft were pleased with the early restriction they had put on Rushwick, and chasing 196 on a dry day with a quick outfield would not be a task to be feared. Athey finished with figures of 10-2-30-2, Hunter 10-3-34-0, Hughes 10-0-47-1, Elliott 10-1-35-2, Sach 4-1-13-0 and Wood 6-0-30-3.
With Matt Hare missing through an injury sustained in the T20 Final the previous week, Craig Hughes was chosen to open with Will Sach. The pair made a fantastic start, picking the balls to hit and striking cleanly while also keeping a firm defence when required. After 10 overs Croft were 69-0 and the Rushwick bowlers were looking disheartened. Hughes was first to 50 and the pair continued to push along with an air of confidence to their game until the 21st over when Hughes (77) was caught one-handed magnificently by Parker of Rushwick. The score on 124-1, a big part of the job was done. Mark Wood joined Sach at the crease and played a supportive role as Sach began to take on the role of aggressor. Wood (7) was dismissed with the score on 166-2 with Sach having moved onto 69 and Croft were looking almost home and dry. There was a wobble towards the end, Sach eventually dimissed for an excellent 73 before Dave Anson (1) quickly followed. Mark Whitehead and Sam Hughes mopped up the last few runs to push Croft over the winning line in the 37th over 197-4.
A good performance with the ball in the main, some glimpses of brilliance in the field (Mark Wood rolling back the years to take a fantastic catch and Dave Anson claiming one that never seemed to want to come down) and a determined performance with the bat helped Croft secure the 20 points.
Next week the team travel to Alvechurch for a game that will determine which of the two teams can pull away from the bottom half of the table, Croft currently 5th and two points ahead of Alvechurch in 6th.
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Match Report by Mark Whitehead, 10/7/17
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