After the home winning draw against Himbleton the 2’s took a trip down the Worcester way to the beautiful scenic ground of Kempsey with facilities to match.
The Avoncroft team saw five changes from the previous weeks team with the return of the Indomitable Pitt, Pittam Sr, Warren, Kehoe and Skipper Wood. The team therefore continued its eclectic mix of young and old, fit and fat.
The captains strode briskly to the strip where Skipper Wood won the toss and decided to buck the seasons trend and elected to bat on a wicket that looked to be well passed its sell by date, which proved to be a simile for the tea at the interval.
The Indomitable Pitt and Jon “ $6m man” Brunt kicked off the Crofts innings and started in bright fashion putting on a spritely 55 for the first wicket before Pitt fell to Campbell for 16.
Brunt was then joined by Wilkes Jr, riding high after his maiden half century, and the pair continued to build the innings on a pitch that was offering assistance to the bowler. The partnership added a further 39 until Brunt, after reaching his half century was bowled for 51, the score now being 94 for 2
Wilkes was joined by Skipper Wood but he himself was soon to depart for 18 as a change of bowling triggered his demise, caught for 18 of the bowling of Ware.
Ness came in and looked to be in decent nick hitting a couple of lusty pull shots however went for one to many and was caught at deep mid wicket, which now meant Croft were 4 down for 124.
Huxley now joined Wood at the crease and both looked comfortable adding an untroubled 30 runs and threatening to take the game away from Kempsey.
However, both were to be removed in short order, firstly Huxley caught at mid off attempting to dispatch the ball over the top for 16. Wood was then to depart a couple of overs later trying to do the same over mid on and was caught for 26, much to his annoyance and frustration.
With a further quick wicket to fall, that of Pittam, Croft’s innings now stood at 158 for 7 and in real danger of coming to a halt. The team really needed a partnership to form and Kehoe and Warren duly obliged.
Batting with a maturity well beyond their years, on a track showing increasing signs of variable bounce, the pair added an unbeaten 53 runs to drive the innings through to 212 at the closes. Both players remained unbeaten with Warren 26 and Kehoe 16 not out respectively.
The Kempsey reply, led by Ware started off at a pace with some unorthodox but very effective shots with opening bowlers Pittam and Wilkes coming in for some chastising treatment. With the opening pair putting on an unbeaten half century stand Skipper Wood decided to introduce himself into the to attack to see if he could break the opening partnership.
The change worked as within the second over of his spell he removed the dangerous Ware bowled for an entertaining 34.
Kamran now joined Tippett the opener, the latter looking to anchor the innings, and the pair continued to build the Kempsey reply albeit with the run rate now coming under control. However what Croft needed was wickets and with the introduction of Kehoe, bowling in tandem with Wood, this duly happened.
Firstly Wood dismissed Kamran bowled for 21 and then both bowlers struck in short succession to remove Monk and Worton cheaply. It was however Kehoe who struck with the pivotal wicket of the opener Tippet for 33 taking a difficult low return catch.
With Wood and Kehoe now bowled out Wood turned to youth and experience with the introduction of Warren and Pitt.
Kempsey were by now throwing the bat and yet in tense and challenging circumstances Warren taking three vital wickets in his spell and removing the dangerous Kavani, clean bowled for 27.
At the other end Pitt was bowling a mixture of pies and jaffers to flummox both batsmen and fielders alike and it was he who was to deliver the coup de grace, firstly removing Ali for 23 and then taking the 10th wicket of Hussain to close the Kempsey innings at 184 all out.
A great victory, made even more pleasing for the way the team stuck at the job. Some significant individual performance from Brunt with the bat and Wood (3 for 22) with the bowling but the game changing and winning contributions of Kehoe (2 for 14) and Warren (3 for 32), with bat and ball, won the day for the Croft !!
Match Report by Mark Wood, 10/09/2018
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