On a sunbathed Saturday afternoon The Croft 2’s took on a strong Bredon side at the home of Stoke Heath cricket.
Team for the day was a mixture of experience, talent and a sprinkling of youth and it was that combination of experience and youth that proved to be pivotal at the end of the game.
Avoncroft won the all-important toss and asked the opposition to bat first.
Opening up with Cound and Holyoake, Croft bowled good lines and kept a tight rein on the opening batsmen however no early wickets came our way. In an intriguing contest between bat and ball both teams were in the fight as Bredon built patiently reaching 50 without loss but at barely 3 an over. The deadlock was broken with the first wicket going down at 72 courtesy of Ed “Murali” Pugh who induced the first real mistake of the innings to bowl Fenney for 29.
Bredon’s opening batsmen Penny was starting to display a wider array of shorts and with support from the middle order Bredon started to build momentum. Matters were starting to look threatening for the Croft. It was the introduction of Pittam Junior who started to turn the tide back towards the home team firstly inducing a mistake out of the very promising opening batsmen D Cox out for 66, caught by the leaping Dan Wood and then nicking out another batsmen shortly afterwards.
Wickets started to fall more regularly with Holyoake coming back for his second spell and the debutant Charlie Ness taking a wicket each. It was however Ed “Murali” Pugh who came back for his second spell at the death that wrapped up the Bredon innings. With a mixture of in duckers and the occasional magic ball (very occasional) Bredon’s innings was restricted to 213 with Pugh ending up with an impressive haul of 4 – 37 from his 11 overs.
Croft’s reply started in good fashion with a high tempo set by Prudhoe and Holyoake, the latter cutting a dash crashing with a quick fire 30 before holing out. The Croft innings was going at in excess of 5 per over however wickets were also falling and at 69-4 Bredon were on top. Up stepped Jon Brunt who rolled back the years and simply dispatched the bowling to all parts of the game. Ably supported by Pugh (19) the pair put on a critical 70 for the 5th wicket which meant the game was now in the balance.
A couple of wickets were again to fall which put the game back in Bredon’s favour however the game winning partnership of Brunt and Ness saw Croft “almost” over the line. Putting on 44 for the 8th wicket the partnership took Croft to 203 until Brunt fell for a magnificent 103 caught in the deep at midwicket. Work was still needed and it was left to Charlie Ness (16 n.o) to hit the winning four to take the home team over the line in the 43rd over with 2 wickets spare.
A magnificent victory and a great team performance which augurs well for the rest of the season. The team travel to play Astwood Bank away for their next match with renewed confidence and belief.
Match Report by Mark Wood, 08/05/2018
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