A CENTURY from Avoncroft skipper Craig Hughes wasn’t enough for the Stoke Heath-based outfit as they slumped to a surprise 61-run defeat to Worcestershire County League Division Three relegation battlers Malvern.
Hughes won the toss and opted to field but Avoncroft were left frustrated as Rob Francis’ 117 and Max White’s 64 guided relegation-threatened Malvern to 375-9 in 50 overs.
Tom Hale (42) and Neil Thompson (47 no) also added useful contributions with the bat for Malvern while Hughes (3-93) and Anthony Pittam (2-44) got the pick of the wickets for Avoncroft.
Despite Jason Huxley and Paul Athey departing for ducks, the in-form David James (66) and skipper Hughes (117) looked to have set Avoncroft on their way.
However, after the pair departed Avoncroft’s lower order failed to build strong partnerships and were bowled out for 314 after 50 overs thanks to Rob Perrins (3-25), Thompson (2-63) and Andrew Croft (2-58).
Daniel Elliot (27), Jason Patel (37), Ian Carpenter (15) and John Raxster (13 no) also reached double figures for an Avoncroft side which has suffered back-to-back league defeats and sits seventh in the table.
Avoncroft travel to league leaders Harborne on Saturday.
There was also disappointment for Avoncroft Seconds as they suffered a crushing nine-wicket defeat to Division Two Second XI leaders Feckenham.
Avoncroft were put into bat after losing the toss and were skittled out for a paltry 125 in the 37th over despite the best efforts of Kevin Prudoe who top scored with 56.
Ryan Humphries (3-21) and Yasir Mehmood (3-12) got the lion’s share of the wickets for a Feckenham side who cruised to victory in just 12.5 overs.
Mehmood hit a stubborn 47 before Hugh Humphries (29 no) and Andrew Kings (40 no) ticked off the runs to secure the 20 points for the league leaders.
Avoncroft remain bottom of the table with five games to go and face second placed Harborne Seconds on Saturday.