Avoncroft Sunday XI suffered a frustrating defeat at the hands of Stourbridge in their league match that left Avoncrofts chances of topping the table in pieces.
After a successful season to date Croft arrived at Stourbridge knowing a win would put them joint top of the league, unfortunately poor bowling and fielding cost Croft victory.
Stourbridge won the toss and decided to bat on a hot and sunny day, their openers soon set about playing a succession of attacking strokes, aided by several dropped catches they put on 153 for the first wicket. Will Sach finally made the breakthrough dismissing Avey for 99. Ed Pugh struck early in his spell and Croft could feel that they were back in the game needing to stay focused in the field to restrict Stourbridge to a chaseable target. Sadly a succession of misfields and poor discipline with the ball saw Stourbridge race to 325 for 4 at the close of their innings, Christopher Pitt taking two late wickets.
Needing 8 runs an over Croft began their run chase by losing Jonty Heslop and Josh Cound cheaply, finding themselves 35 for 2 from 9 overs. Will Sach and Christopher Pitt came together and looked to rebuild the innings through a combination of disciplined batting, good running and attacking strokes when the chance arose. Helped by a fast scoring ground they put on 175 for the third wicket and with ten overs to go they required just under 12 runs an over. Sadly Will fell for 75 and was followed shortly after by Chris who made 87, Croft eventually closed on 280 for 9 from their 40 overs to fall 45 runs short of victory.
It is hoped that lessons were learnt for Crofts younger players, the need to stay switched on in the field, get their bodies behind the ball and take catches when the chances arise are vital. Croft can be proud of their run chase and left to rue what might have been. They return to action this weekend at home to Bromsgrove.
Match Report by Christopher Pitt, 13/07/2017