The 4th Team travelled to their first away trip of the season at Croft minus the experienced Bob Pritchard but welcoming back messrs Blunt and Joel Snr…..a late call up for Elliot Lodge to keep wicket completed the line up.
In steady drizzle, and with the wicket having never seen covers both teams agreed to start on time, and with the skipper winning the toss Croft were asked to bat. Excellent opening spells from Harrison Norton and Oliver Lodge kept the run rate at less than 2 an over but the elusive breakthrough couldn’t be found. The breakthrough eventually came from the excellent Ravi Tank who produced an absolute beauty to remove the senior opposition opener. At drinks break Croft had been restricted to 63-1 which was a good effort given the short boundary on one side of the ground. After drinks the scoring rate soared however, mainly on the back of a 100 plus partnership by the in form Croft middle order. However, credit to the bowlers who stuck to their task, backed up by some great fielding and late wickets for Carson (1), Pounds (2) and Norton (2 from 2 balls) racked up the bonus points as Croft ended on a challenging 225-6
Our run chase started well with Joel and Blunt proceeding easily to 45 before Blunt suffered a serious leg injury whilst attempting to pull another boundary and was forced to retire. This brought the previous weeks batting hero Sam Pounds to the wicket and he was quickly into his stride again. Joel departed and was replaced by Harrison Norton to reunite the partnership which wreaked havoc the previous week. An early scare for Norton who was hit in the “crown jewels” was overcome and the young duo gradually upped the scoring rate to see us at 105-1 at drinks. The scoring rate increased further straight after drinks with Pounds taking a liking to the short leg side boundary with a maximum and a four in the same over. It was a shock therefore when Pounds departed for a serene 35 and a measure of his development that he was hugely disappointed at missing and opportunity for a bigger score. Rob Ellwood briefly joined the fray before departing cheaply complaining that he was having trouble picking the ball up. Any thoughts of a middle order wobble were dispelled by the incoming Oliver Lodge who supported Norton in a destructive period of domination which took the game away from Croft in exciting style. Norton moved within sight of a maiden hundred ( having only got a maiden 50 an hour earlier!), and the skipper decided that there was no need to communicate this to the young batsman as there was plenty of opportunity for him to complete in his own time. Unfortunately the plan was nearly scuppered by Olly savaging the bowling to take us within 4 runs of victory with Harrison on 98! With Norton on strike message was sent via umpire Pounds to the middle and after a couple of blocks Harrison deliver a great off drive for 3 to move to 101 and possibly a place in KCC record books as one of the youngest centurions in our proud history. With Olly finishing unbeaten on a well made 35 another 22 points were in the bag
So a third win on the bounce and a great run chase against one of our closest rivals in the table…..once again the policy of investing and trusting in our juniors had paid handsome dividends and confidence is high as the season finally starts to gather some momentum after the frustrations of April.