After heavy rain overnight left the outfield very wet, the start of the game was delayed and eventually began at 2.30 leaving a 35 overs per side game.
Jon Hunter lost the toss and the visitors were asked to bat first on a green looking wicket. The Returning Steve Eastham opened the innings with Dan Elliott and the pair soon past the 50 partnership inside the first 10 overs making use of the small boundary on one side of the wicket and some big straight hitting.
Elliott was the first to be removed thanks to a smart catch at point by Dannie Rees off the bowling of Lewis Regan for 28. Josh Cound joined Eastham at the crease and the pair continued to attack, with Cound now playing more of the aggressor against some very tight first change bowling. Cound was the next man out when targeting the short legside boundary he failed to connect and came up short of the boundary and was very well taken by Lewis Regan off the bowling of William Flynn also for 28. Eastham had now slowed due to a combination of wickets falling and some very tight bowling and was now joined by Craig Hughes at the crease. The pair slowly accumulated and tried to steady the ship before looking to go after the bowling in the last 10 overs. Hughes got a couple of 6s away to the short boundary before being clean bowled by Blair Kingsland when looking to increase the scoring rate for 26. Jonty Helsop continued the attacking intent with some big hits before being bowled by a straight Yorker from the returning Ben Bromage for a quick 29. All the while Eastham continued on his way and started to again up the rate before finally being dismissed with 2 balls left of the innings for a superb 93 continuing his great start to the season averaging over 90.
Avoncroft closed the innings on 218-5 off 35 overs which was believed to be about a par score with the short boundary on one side.
The Croft started tightly with both Jon Hunter and Paul Athey finding good movement, but it was again Hunter to make the breakthrough trapping opener Harvey Smedley LBW for 21. This was then soon followed by cleaning up the fellow opener Dannie Rees to restrict the home side to 44-2 and the total looking a long way away, however croft knew bowling a side out inside 35 overs was going to be a tough ask.
Craig Hughes and Dan Elliott were introduced into the attack to try and make a breakthrough but a combination of some solid batting and some poor fielding resulting in a number of dropped catches meant Barnards Green moved along to 168-3 before another breakthrough was made. This was again made by the returning Hunter thanks to a well judges catch by Luke Townsend on the cover boundary. A wicket followed the following ball which all but stopped the home sides chance of chasing down the total.
Barnards Green eventually finished their 35 overs on 195-4 with Hunter finishing with the impressive figures of 11-1-40-4.
Some good positives to be taken from the game but Avoncroft will rue the dropped catches which cost the chance of trying to push for the win.
Avoncroft have moved to second in the league and have a top of the table clash at home next week to the early pace setters of Netherton.
Match Report by Craig Hughes, 13/05/2019
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