Croft hold their nerve in tight wins against Bromsgrove & Hagley
Avoncroft Under 12’s made it 3 wins out of 4 for the season with two nerve-wracking home victories against Bromsgrove and Hagley over the last week.
In their first game against Bromsgrove, Croft bowled first in what proved to be an even contest between bat and ball. The visitors got off to a good start before Croft started to pick up wickets in the middle overs. Joe Neeson was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2 wickets for 1 run in his 2 overs but he was well supported by a raft of other bowlers. Ellie Griffiths (1-2 from 2 overs) and Ben Huxley (1-8) were the other wickets takers, with Olly Shelton (0-2 off 2 overs) and Ben Athey (0-4 off 2 overs) also keeping things tight. Ellie Ford (net score of 8) and Joel Marcetic (7) were the top scorers for Bromsgrove as they finished on 65-5 for a net score of 240.
In reply, Avoncroft got off to an excellent start with Jack Ellis (15) and Ellie Griffiths getting ahead of the run rate early on. Ellis, in particular, used the pace of the bowling to good effect with 3 boundaries in his knock. Joe Neeson (7) and Olly Shelton (5) kept up the momentum, leaving Croft well placed at the halfway stage. 9 runs from Ben Huxley in the third pair brought Croft up close to their required target, leaving Fin Morris and Louis Griffiths to bat sensibly at the end to bring Croft home despite some excellent bowling in particular from Danielle Williams (1-9), Kaashif Ali Baig (0-4 from 3 overs) and Ben Collett (0-2 off 2 overs). Avoncroft finished on 63-2 for a net score of 253 – the difference between the two sides proving to be fact that Croft lost 3 fewer wickets.
A week later, Croft took on Hagley in a return fixture having lost to them by 5 runs earlier in the season. Croft again bowled first and Hagley got off to a real flyer with Ben Graham (21) and Max Deacy (16) leading the way. With an imposing target on the horizon, Avoncroft really fought back in the final eight overs. Matt Athey (2-9), Ben Athey (1-6), Matt Croal (1-16) and Jack Ellis (1-7) all picked up what proved to be vital wickets which restricted the Hagley batting from posting a score that was out of Croft’s reach. The visitors eventually finished on 81-6 for a net score of 251.
As in the first innings, Hagley started brightly Marley Marwood (0-7 from 3) and Ben Graham (2-10 from 3) bowling well and leaving Croft with lots to do. Jack Wright batted fluidly in the second pair to start to give Croft some momentum but at the half-way stage, Croft were only 1/3 of the way to their target. The run-chase was given a real charge with the introduction of Ben Huxley who, with support from Ben Athey (4), hit 3 boundaries in his score of 16. This left Matt Athey and Matt Croal needing 12 runs from the last pair for victory and the two Croft batsmen combined to keep out some good bowling and take advantage of the odd loose ball to take Croft up to 79-3 for a net score of 264. As with the previous game, the victory was delivered through the loss of fewer wickets.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 12/06/18
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