Avoncroft Sunday XI continued their fine form with a gritty, hard fought away victory over local rivals Bromsgrove. Croft’s Sunday side have made a positive start to the season with a continued mix of youth and experience and the ever present team spirit serving them well, they arrived at Bromsgrove in confident mood. The only downside would appear to be the captains inability to win the toss, four times previously this season the coin has come down on the wrong side and no surprise that would stretch to five. Yet again in the hot and humid conditions Croft were asked to field first…
Not for the first time this season Croft’s opening bowlers set the tone again. Max Jukes and Josh Cound have been superb with the new ball and it wasn’t long before they began working through the Bromsgrove top order. Josh removed Hope before Max produced two beauties to clean bowl both Smith and Stratford to leave Bromsgrove reeling. Max was unlucky not to claim his third wicket when B. Smith nicked off but the chance was put down. Josh picked up a further wicket to finish his 8 overs for 2 wickets at the cost of 25 runs.
Bromsgrove rebuilt through B.Smith and D. Collins until James Bunn, making his first appearance for two seasons picked up the wicket of B.Smith for 40. Luke Warren, on debut for the Sunday side, showed promise with the ball and was unlucky not to claim his first Sunday wicket whilst Ed Pugh kept his end tight and picked up two wickets, bowling his 8 overs for just 10 runs including the vital wicket of Collins for 25. Fallows showed some aggression towards the end of the innings and finished unbeaten on 32 however Croft had bowled with discipline to restrict Bromsgrove to 133 for 7 from 40 overs.
In reply Croft could cast their minds back to last season when they fell short chasing a small target against the same side. On a ever slowing, low pitch they knew that the chase would not be easy. Jonty Heslop and Dan Elliott have been in fine form at the top of the order this season however got off to a bad start when Jonty was dismissed for just 6. Christopher Pitt joined Dan and the two set about their task, Chris batting with discipline and Dan finding the boundary on a regular basis against a good attack that bowled tight lines. At drinks Croft had made their way to 83 for the loss of only one wicket.
Post drinks Chris and Dan continued to rotate strike and reached their hundred partnership before Dan holed out to long on for a well compiled 66. Chris began to find the boundary to cut the required runs down to single figures before Ben Warwick was dismissed and then Chris fell for a gritty 40 when Smith took a sharp return catch. By this point however Croft had done the hard work and reached their target shortly afterwards for the loss of 4 wickets.
Croft can again be proud of a fantastic team performance with both bat and ball that completed a weekend double over their local rivals following the exploits of our Saturday first team. Croft look to the visit of Old Elizabethans next week.
Match Report by Christopher Pitt, 04/06/2018