Captains Report Home 18th August Versus Burghill
Back on home soil after the surprising reverse to Eastnor the 2’s welcomed a resurgent Burghill to the Stoke Heath arena. In recent weeks the teams had seen a reverse in form and fortunes from the earlier meeting when Burghill were bottom of the table whilst Avoncroft rode high at the top. This was an important game therefore to get back to winning ways and look to finish the season as we had started!
The team saw no less than six changes from the previous week. “Skipper” Wood, Master Wood, Kevin “the Sonic H” Prudhoe, Chris Ward, Marc “tree surgeon” Ward (the younger brother making his debut for the Croft) and the welcome return of a Croft prodigal son Stuart Wally” Walton all coming into the team.
The captains did their duty and the all-important toss was won by the opposition who elected to bat first, which was just fine and dandy with the home skipper.
The new cherry was thrown to Crofts well-seasoned opening bowlers Cound and Wilkes to set the tempo for the game.
The loss of the toss for the home team proved to be a blessing in disguise as Cound immediately started to make life uncomfortable for the opening batsmen. Ably supported by his partner Wilkes the veteran pair grasped the upper hand as Cound broke through not once but twice in short succession removing both openers.
Wilkes now came to the party removing Knight for 17 however it was Cound who continued to be the major threat with his nagging length and perma scowl removing three further middle order batsman to put Croft firmly on top and to take his first five wicket haul for the season.
Duly please with himself he skipped to 3rd man where he remained congratulating himself for the rest of the innings!!
With the opening “dynamic duo” now finished the first change bowling saw the Ward brothers take up the challenge. Posing different questions, the pair kept a tight rein on the opposition batsmen with debutante Marc Ward particularly impressing with his line, length and zip off the wicket.
Burghill skipper Lewis however was beginning to prove troublesome for the Croft attack, defending well and dispatching the bad balls with impunity. Skipper Wood decided to introduce himself into the attack and within his first over struck to remove the dangerous Lewis for 44 enticing him to a lofted hoick to cow corner which Chris “buckets” Ward duly snaffled.
Burghill were now seven wickets down and the end was nigh for their innings as Ward and Wood removing the three remaining batsmen ending the innings on 138 all out in the 42nd over.
Bowling figures for the Croft were impressive with Cound leading the way with 5 for 35 of 12 overs ably supported by Marc Ward with 2 for 29 off 8 and Wood 2 for 7 of 4 overs.
In reply Avoncroft innings started in stuttering fashion as both Pitt and Brunt were dispatched cheaply. At 19 for 2 the Croft needed a partnership to steady the ship and “Sonic H” Prudhoe and “Wally” Walton duly obliged.
Batting with a combination of good sense, patience and belligerent biffing the pair put on a potential match winning 79 partnership for the 3rd wicket before Walton was out for an impressive 42.
What then followed was a slight wobble as both Prudhoe (37) and Wood Jr fell in succession leaving the Croft teetering on the brink at 102 for 5. Could there be a Croft collapse on the cards??
Fear not as Skipper Wood and Liam “Lillee” Kehoe came to the crease and proceeded to build an unbeaten partnership of 38 which steered the Croft to a 5-wicket victory. Kehoe finishing unbeaten on 20 whilst Wood was not 16 not out.
A very pleasing result based on the previous weeks performance, underpinned by the opening bowling attack of Cound and Wilkes with good contributions from a number of players throughout the game. Special mention goes to Liam Kehoe who batted with maturity at the end and it was fitting he hit the winning runs !!
Match Report by Mark Wood, 18/08/2018
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