Tough start to the season for the Under 12s
Despite playing at times some good cricket, the Under 12s failed to get home in any of their three games over the last week.
The Under 12s pairs side started the week with a narrow 5 run defeat to Hagley. Bowling first, Croft restricted their hosts to 74-5 off their 16 overs for a net score of 249. All of the bowlers kept things tight, with Matt Athey (2-9) and Ben Athey (2-4) leading the way. The score should have been well within Croft’s reach, but the team missed a golden opportunity to start the week with a win with some inexplicable running between the wickets. Croft contributed to their own downfall with 4 poor run-outs, resulting in a 20 run deduction to their score. Without these mistakes, Croft would have strolled to victory however in the end, they finished 5 runs short of their target. Ben Huxley (15) and Matt Athey (10) were the two batsmen to reach double figures as Croft finished on 79-7 for a net score of 244.
The following day, Avoncrofts U12s County league side travelled to a very strong Halesowen side for their Premier League clash. Against an opposition full of county talent, Croft acquitted themselves incredibly well. Fielding first, Croft picked up a wicket in the first over; Harry Stone running out the dangerous Charlie Egerton for a duck. A sharp caught and bowled dismissal for Fin Morris kept Croft on top, with Jack Ellis also chipping in with a wicket on his county league debut. Siddhu (30*) and Atiq (27) led the fightback before Jack Wright got in on the act thanks to another good catch from Morris. Matt Athey picked up the other wicket to fall as Halesowen finished on 119-5 from their 20 overs.
In reply, Croft flew out of the blocks with Harvey Shaw flaying the bowling to all parts of the ground. Shaw was eventually dismissed one run short of his retirement score, with his 29 runs putting Croft well ahead of the run rate in the early stages. Unfortunately, Halesowen’s spin bowlers slowly started to exert control, strangling the life out of the Croft run chase. Harry Stone batted very solidly, scoring 16 in his first game for the U12s, but he ran out of support as Croft tried to keep up with the rate. Despite a good effort, Croft finished on 87 all out to lose by 32 runs.
Avoncroft’s final game of the week was another County Premier league clash with Rushwick. With 6 regular players missing, Croft fielded a new look side but again can take some good positives from the game. Losing the toss, Croft were asked to bat first which could have been worrying given the number of batsmen missing from the side. Luke Jeynes (3-15) took early advantage with three wickets in his opening spell. Stand-in captain Fin Morris came to the crease at the fall of the second wicket and tried his best to hold the innings together but after 10 overs, Croft were already down to their last wicket partnership. Morris (9*) was joined by Rohan Levy and together they provided some fightback, looking to use up the overs and pick up the odd boundary when a bad ball came along. The pair lasted until the sixteenth over when Levy was eventually dismissed for an excellent 13 which enabled Croft to claw their way to 82 all out – a score probably too low but at least something to bowl at.
What followed, given the circumstances, was possibly the best and most focused fielding performance that the junior section has produced in recent years. Whilst some of the regular bowlers we missing, everyone stood up to the challenge and bowled to their ability, with some incredibly energetic support in the field. The standards were set early on with an excellent piece of fielding from Jack Wright combining with wicketkeeper Ben Huxley to run out opener Jeynes for 2. Harry Stone picked up the second wicket thanks to a routine catch by Louis Griffiths before Fin Morris picked up two wickets, both thanks to LBW decisions. The highlight of the innings then followed with Levy taking a superb catch to dismiss Comer off the bowling of Jack Wright, diving forwards at full stretch to take the catch inches off the ground. The one consolation for Rushwick was the constant presence of Monty Jelfs at the other end. Jelfs proved the difference between the two sides as, although he didn’t always have his own way, his ability to get on top of the bowling eventually saw his side home. Jelfs finished on 26* as Rushwick reached their target for the loss of 5 wickets.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 25/05/18
For full scorecard details of the match and all other matches, use the below button to be directed to the club results page, hosted by Play Cricket.Click here for scorecard