Our first away game of the season did not take us far from home against Astwood Banks 4ths at their Hanbury ground.
Team for the day saw three changes from last week’s team with Messrs Pitt, Bhardwaj and S Wilkes coming in, the latter playing his first game of the season.
Once again Avoncroft won the toss and on a greenish wicket, a cloudy day and an arable pasture outfield invited the opposition to bat first.
The decision to bowl saw quick dividends as the opening pair of Cound and Wilkes quickly had the home team on the back front. Cound as metronomic as ever bowling in the “corridor of uncertainty” had the batsmen in all sorts of problems. It was however his partner Simon “Oh Jimmy Jimmy….” Wilkes who struck first removing both openers in quick succession. Clearly on top the opening pair continued to trundle in with Wilkes taking the next two wickets and ending up with very impressive figures of 4 for 26 from his 9 Overs. At the other end Cound was beating the bat regularly and was very unlucky to finish with just a solitary wicket but nonetheless miserly figures of 1 for 19 of his full 12 overs. A great spell of military medium trundling!!
Flight and guile was now order of the day with Pittam junior and skipper Wood now introduced into the attack. The Astwood Bank batting line up fared little better against the potent mix of hand grenades and slow dibbly dobblers, the pair wrapping up the innings for 75 with a combined haul of 5 for 25 from 12 overs. Wood finishing with 3 for 23 from 7 overs and Pittam 2 for 2 from his 5 overs.
In reply Pitt and Brunt Esq stride purposefully to the crease. Value for money being at a premium for shots played due to the conditions and very good bowling they built the innings slowly. The first wicket was to fall however on 22 when Pitt couldn’t quite get on top of a drive and was caught smartly square of the wicket.
K Prudhoe joined the fray and also found conditions difficult with some impressive swing bowling now in play. The 2nd wicket put on a further 17 before Prudhoe was caught and bowled off a leading edge. 39 for 2 soon however became 51 for 5 as the home team smelled an unlikely victory spurred by the bowling of Boycott who finished with impressive figures of 3 for 14 of 10 overs.
Batting at 7 and 8 Wood and Huxley came together at the crease and steadied the ship, guiding Croft over the winning line with an unbeaten partnership of 25, Huxley with 12 not out and Wood 9 not out.
Once again a pleasing performance, especially with the bowling and fielding which set the tone for the 4 wicket victory.
3 from 3 the Croft march on.
The next game see’s the 2’s travel to Bromyard next week which promises to be a stern challenge.
Match Report by Mark Wood, 14/05/2018
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