Croft’s Under 11s continued their mid-season improvements with two wins in three days against Hallow and Rushwick.
On Monday, Croft had the honour of playing in the first junior game to be played at Hallow CC in their 150-year history. Croft took a young side, with eight years olds Callum Hooper and Jack Sears making the step up from U9s festivals for the first time, to play a friendly against a Hallow side also in the early stages of their development.
Batting first, Croft posted 96 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in their 16 overs, resulting in a net score of 281. Ben Huxley led the way with 14no and he was well supported by Ben Athey (9no), Jack Ellis (8no) and Jack Sears (5no). In response, Croft gave very little away with ball and in the field, holding their hosts to 49-5. Ben Athey (2-2), Ben Huxley (1-2), Joe Neeson (1-6) and Luke Hodgetts (1-3 on debut) picked up the wickets to fall as Croft won by a net score of 57 runs.
On Wednesday, Croft’s Under 11s visited Rushwick for a rearranged County Premier League encounter. With squad depth on both sides being tested by holidays, Croft were surprised when the hosts chose to bat first having won the toss. The decision looked to have backfired when Matthew Athey (1-5), Rohan Levy (1-16) and Oscar Jinks (1-6) all picked up early wickets to leave Rushwick were teetering on 14-3. County star Monty Jelfs and James Comer led the fight back, but Croft’s bowlers stuck to the task with very few loose balls bowled. Jelfs batted beautifully, bringing up his 30 retired to take his league total to 190 runs at an average of 95, but thanks to the tight bowling it had taken him 12 overs to do so which meant Croft always had some control of the game. Ben Huxley (1-7) bowled a good spell at the back end of the innings helping to restrict Rushwick to 96-4 off their 20 overs with Comer finishing on 29no.
Henry Jinks (10) and Fin Morris (7) got Avoncroft off to a steady start with the bat, seeing off some testing Rushwick bowling. Despite the concentration and commitment of the Croft top order, they still found themselves on 35-4 after 9 overs with the winning line looking a long distance away. Matthew Athey, having made his way to the crease in the 6th over, really struggled early on taking 5 overs to get off the mark. At this point, he was joined by 9 year old Ben Huxley and a couple of well-timed boundaries gave both players the confidence to kick on with the run chase. The pair had put on 53 for the fifth wicket when Huxley was bowled for 12, although not before the youngster had given notice of his massive promise with an elegant batting display. Another wicket followed shortly after leaving Croft still 13 runs short of victory with 2 wickets remaining but Matthew Athey kept his composure to see the visitors home hitting the winning runs with a four over extra cover to take his score to 29no and Croft’s to 97-6.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 03/08/2017
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