AVONCROFT skipper Craig Hughes was overjoyed to see his side claim an emphatic three-wicket victory over Worcestershire County League Division Three promotion hopefuls Bartestree and Lugwardine after being set a mammoth target of 283-9.
David James once again proved to be the star of the show as he bowled figures of 4-56 and opened the batting with a fabulous 110 inside 22 overs, which included 20 fours and five sixes, to guide Avoncroft to victory.
Hughes won the toss and elected to field and despite Wilf Munn going for a duck, Kieran Smith (75) and David Robinson (27) pushed the score over the 100 mark.
Andy Jones (2), Mike Berry (0), Jack Trattell (2) and Russell Barnett (15) left in quick succession with Bartestree sitting on 147-7 but a composed 92 from Ben Chaplin pushed the score along.
Tail-enders Ryan Trattell and Sam Bowen both added unbeaten 16s as Bartestree left Avoncroft with a mountain to climb at 283-9 from 50 overs.
In response, James got Avoncroft off to a flier as his 110 guided Hughes’ side to 159-3 following his dismissal.
Despite falling to 184-5 after Hughes (20) and Tom Murray (4) were sent back to the pavilion, strong batting from youngsters Joe Ingle (34) and Daniel Elliot (28 no) guided Avoncroft to victory as they reached 289-7 with five balls remaining.
Hughes said: “It was a really good display and David set the tone at the start with some superb bowling before batting out of his skin to set us on our way to the win.
“Joe and Daniel have come up through the junior section at the club and after losing a few quick wickets, the pair batted sensibly to give us the victory.
“Our performances at the moment are a little bit frustrating as we seem to do so much better against the top teams than those below us.
“Bartestree were second before the game and when beat Netherton they were third at the time so it’s not ideal that we can’t get results against sides lower in the table.
“However, as we’ve been struggling with player availability all season, mid-table is a fair reflection.”
Avoncroft will look to make it back-to-back wins on Saturday when they travel to basement club Cleobury Mortimer who were deducted 115 points for conceding their Second XI for the season.
Skipper Hughes will not be available for the clash and neither will James or Elliott but wicketkeeper Sam Hughes returns.
“Cleobury are a much better side than their league position suggests,” added Hughes.
“They’re a dangerous side and the last time we played David Griffiths hit 188 against us so we cannot take them lightly.”