One win and one defeat for Under 12s
With pitches finally starting to dry out, Avoncroft’s Under 12s were grateful for the opportunity to shake off the rust with two games; firstly away to Worcester CC in the County League Premier Division and secondly at home to Barnt Green in the Worcestershire Pairs competition.
Due to some late sickness, Croft travelled to Worcester with only 7 players and, having chosen to bowl first, they struggled to cope with the massive gaps in the field. Sam Taylor (1-21) picked up the first wicket of the season, bowling Oliver Jones for 12 but that was the only wicket that Croft were able to prise out for a while as Billy Owen (31*) and William Ricketts (30*) batted well to reach their retirement scores. Although Croft’s bowlers lacked some sharpness, which could be expected given this was the first game of the season, they stuck to their task well and were rewarded when Ben Athey picked up the wicket of Callum Dallow for 2, caught by his brother Matthew. Worcester kept their foot on the gas throughou the whole innings to set Croft an imposing 153-2 to chase.
This was always going to be out of reach, but Croft can take some credit for battling through to use up their 20 overs despite being two batsmen short. Sam Taylor was the star of the show, carrying his bat for an excellent 37*, showing a full range of shots on the off and leg side. He was well supported by Jamie Stewart (5), making his county league debut, Rohan Levy (7) and Ben Athey (6*), leading Croft to a score of 75-5 in their 20 overs.
Two days later, Avoncroft Under 12s kicked off their pairs league campaign with a home game against Barnt Green. The visitors were asked to bat first and Croft were sharp in the field throughout the innings. Very few of the Barnt Green batsmen got going with Croft picking up 7 wickets, generating a useful 35 run deduction from the visitors score. Liam Livesey (2-6) and Ben Athey (2-8) were the pick of the bowlers, with Matthew Athey (1-6) and Fin Morris (1-11) the other wicket takers with a run out added for good measure. Barnt Green finished on 74-7 for a net score of 239.
In response, Jack Ellis (11) and Liam Livesey (13) got Croft off to a great start with some very positive batting, Livesey especially unveiling some lovely on-drives. Louis Griffiths and Jamie Stewart kept the momentum going and avoided any wickets to kept Croft’s score intact. This set the platform for Ben Huxley and Ben Athey to take the attack to Barnt Green. Huxley (20*), dominating with his trademark pulls and Athey (10*), stroking some lovely cover drives (10*) took 30 from their four overs to put Croft firmly in control. It was left to Matthew Athey (18*) and Fin Morris to finish things off, with Croft reaching 94-1 and a winning victory of 50 runs.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 13/05/18
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