Sensible batting the key in victories against Droitwich & Barnt Green
Avoncroft Under 12s moved to five victories from six games in the East Worcestershire Pairs league this season with two further victories against Droitwich & Barnt Green.
Against Droitwich, Croft got off to a good start with the ball, picking up 5 wickets in the first two pairs despite some good batting from George Duggan (13). As the innings progressed, Croft started to find further wickets more difficult to come by and the game looked to be slipping out of their control as the final pair of Matthew Kirkham (26) and Alex Fenn (11) raced the scoreboard along. Droitwich finished on 112-7 for a net score of 277, more than Croft had managed to chase in any of their previous games. Ben Huxley took the bowling plaudits with 3-9, with Ben Athey, Ellie Griffiths & Kyle Shaw also picking up a wicket each to go along with one run out.
The U12s success in this format has been built upon sensible batting, reducing the risk of losing wickets and taking advantage of opportunities when they come along. This was again in evidence against Droitwich, and it is pleasing to see that the team did not lose their heads when faced with a more challenging total to chase. Jack Ellis (8) and Ellie Griffiths got the side off to another solid start before Harry Stone (9) and Kyle Shaw combined to keep the runs ticking along. At the halfway stage, Croft were exactly halfway towards their target. The third pair was where the game really swung towards Avoncroft, with Ben Athey (15) and Ben Huxley (9) putting on 34 in their four overs. Croft were now firmly in the driving seat, but Droitwich refused to drop their heads and fought back valiantly through the bowling of Alex Fenn and Katie Phillips. With Croft well ahead with two overs to go, wickets were required by Droitwich and Phillips delivered with two wickets in the penultimate over. This tied the scores going into the last over to be bowled by the impressive Fenn, but Croft kept their nerve and, thanks to singles from Louis Griffiths and Matt Athey, they snuck home for a two run victory. Again, it was losing fewer wickets that did the trick, with Croft actually scoring 18 fewer runs but losing 4 fewer wickets that their opponents, finishing on 94-3 for a net score of 279.
In their most recent game, Croft faced Barnt Green and got off to a lacklustre start with the Barnt Green openers timing the ball nicely to the boundary on numerous occasions. Croft failed to exert any kind of control with an inconsistent bowling display in the first eight overs and, at halfway, Barnt Green were deservedly on course to post a difficult target to chase. As they have done all season however, Croft’s U12s showed their character by fighting back in the second half of the innings. Bowling at the stumps earned its rewards as Croft picked up 7 wickets in the final 8 overs to reduce Barnt Green to 77-8 and a net score of 237. Henry Jenkin (3-8) and Matt Athey (3-12) were the main threat, with Ben Athey and Jack Wright picking up the other wickets to fall.
In reply, all of the Croft batsmen contributed to a controlled run chase with Oscar Jinks (14), Jack Wright (13) and Sam Taylor all playing some positive and expansive strokes. Henry Jenkin (17 runs, out once) was the pick of the batsmen, and saw the side home to a final total of 99-3. This equates to a net score of 284, resulting in a 47 run victory for Avoncroft.
Match Report by Paul Athey, 28/06/18
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