Avoncroft kicked off their 2019 campaign in the new restructured Worcester league division 3 with the short trip to Redditch Cricket Club.
On an unusually hot and sunny opening day skipper Jon Hunter won the toss and opted to take first use of the track. He may have been regretting this decision when the croft were reduced to 9-2 with the loss of both openers Chris Pitt (0) and Dan Elliot (5), but a solid partnership of 64 between Steve Eastham and Will Sach steadied the ship. Sach was next to depart for a patient 17 which bought a strong partnership between Eastham and Ben Warwick together sharing a stand of 62. Warwick was removed LBW for a promising 26. Following the departure of Josh Cound (12) Eastham continued his onslaught on the Redditch attack increasing the run rate with Dave Anson. The hard hitting duo putting on the highest partnership of the innings of 71 before Anson was removed for 28. In the search for quick runs at the end of the innings both Debutant Matt Palmer departed without troubling the scoreboard before Eastham who rode his luck at times was finally dismissed for a superb 138 taking croft to a final total of 246 for 8 off the 50 overs.
Avoncroft set about defending the total knowing early wickets would be the key. Skipper Hunter stepped up to the mark continuing where he left off last season taking the first 4 wickets of the innings reducing Redditch to 54-4. A wicket from Bird thanks to a smart diving catch at short fine leg by Paul Athey reduced Redditch to 70-5 and things were looking good for the croft. Athey then returned himself to remove the opener Fowkes with a well-directed Yorker making it 81-6 with Avoncroft looking well on top halfway through the Redditch innings. Haleem Basharatt (55) had other ideas with an attacking half century before being removed by the returning Hunter. A further 2 wickets fell to Hunter leaving Redditch 9 wickets down with 6 overs remaining, however in the near pitch black Avoncroft were not able to take the final wicket with Redditch finishing on 198-9 off their 50 overs.
An excellent fielding display backed up Hunters final figures of 7-46 meant a winning draw and 15 points being taken back to the croft.
Standout performances from Steve Eastham and Jon Hunter lead the way in a promising opening game of the season.
Avoncroft look to continue the good form at home to Kempsey next week starting at 1pm.
Match Report by Craig Hughes, 23/04/2019
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