And so, it came to pass that the last game of the season dawned on us, bringing the 2’s back to the hallowed ground of the Stoke Heath memorial Ground.
Final game of the season saw the Croft pit its wits against Stourport 4ths who had recently struggled with form and availability.
On a very pleasant afternoon the two skippers strode to the middle for the toss which the home skipper duly won electing to bat.
As usual Pitt and brunt led the way and started in very brisk fashion dispatching the wayward bowling of Tristram to all parts of the ground. As the pair threatened to run riot Brun was hit by a short pitched ball on the shoulder causing a delay in the proceedings and unluckily meaning brunt having to leave the field.
“Apples” Apperley was up next and was soon in his stride swatting the bad balls to the boundary while Pitt at the other end carried on in his own indomitable fashion.
What then proceeded over the course of the next 30 overs was the putting to the sword of the Stourport attack. Both batsmen were brutal against the bad ball and as the Stourport attack struggled to contain the pair, the run rate increased rapidly with no sense of control being able to be applied.
The stand reached 206 before Apperley eventually fell for 112, for the first wicket and rightly received a deserved round applause as he left the field.
Pitt was then joined by Walton and he continued to take the attack to the Stourport attack, with Walton intelligently rotating the strike.
The pair added a further 67 runs with Pitt reaching his century when Walton was caught at point for 18 trying to accelerate the innings.
Pitt was the 3rd wicket to fall caught behind for 111 and again received a deserved warm round of applause as he left the feel.
The final few overs saw the return of Jon Brunt and Nev Edmonds, the latter hitting a brisk 20 to rub salt into the wounds of the Stourport attack pushing the Croft innings to 315 for 5 at close and their biggest score of the season
The Stourport reply started off horribly for the opposition as Opening bowler Ward enticed Tristam to an uppish drive which was well held by Pitt at short extra cover. The Stourport dangerman then joined Harrison at the crease however he was not to last long as Wilkes produced a great ball that nipped back and castled Cook for 11.
The fall of the 2nd wicket seemed to knock the stuffing out of Stourport as two further wickets fell in quick succession to Wilkes who removed Chew and Foley both without troubling the scoreboard.
Stourport were by now effectively trying ti shut up shop with no real intent to go after the win.
After great opening spells by Ward and Wilkes, Skipper Wood introduced Ed Pugh and himself into the attack to see if he could break the resistance.
Pugh and Wood were soon in the wickets with Pugh dismissing the doughty opening batsmen Harrison for 29 and Wood enticing a false shot from Parkes to be caught behind square by Edmonds.
In an effort to take the final wickets Wood brought on first Anson who immediately broke through bowling Kimberley for 16. Pugh at the other end continued to bowl well and was duly rewarded picking up a further two wickets dismissing Shackleton and Cook respectively.
The final nail in the coffin was delivered by Walton as he, with his “dibbly dobblers” trapped Pittaway plumb in front to close out the Stourport innings for 106 in the 37th over.
A comprehensive victory for the Croft and a fitting way to finish a successful season. Plaudits will obviously focus on the batsmen Apperley and Pitt however the excellent opening bowling of Ward (9-2-28-1) and Wilkes (12-7-20-3) should also be equally applauded.
Match Report by Mark Wood, 18/09/2018
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