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By

John Welton

Thu Mar 01 2018

On Saturday 24th of February the Avon County men’s team travelled to Liverpool cricket club to compete in the 2nd stage of the inter county season.  The team were playing for survival in Division 1 (division below National Premier) having fielded a weakened team in the first round last year.  Pitched against strong opposition from Merseyside, Durham & Cleveland and Hampshire Avon stalwarts Sam Ellis, Peter Joyce and Dave Allman joined regulars Richard King and John Welton with newcomer Jack Allcock completing the team.

 

The trip got off to a slightly panicky start when designated driver Jack Allcock’s newly purchased car died with a flat battery.  A quick team bump start got them going and after a 3-hour journey they rocked up for the first match against Merseyside.

 

The tie was very close, and the Avon could have been 2-0 down but for two 3-2 wins by Jack and Pete.  With that start the team wrapped up a brilliant 5-0 victory.  A solid start!

 

Result of Match v Merseyside

Sam Ellis 3-1

Jack Allcock 3-2

Rich King 3-1

Peter Joyce 3-2

John Welton 3-0

 

In the afternoon the team faced Hampshire, who are traditionally a brilliant county but are now struggling with missing players.  A retirement in their morning meant they could only field 4 players. However, with their captain Robbie Downer, ranked in the top 150 in the world, at No. 1 and England wonder kid Jared Carter at No. 2 things would be tough.

 

Sam had a niggle and was rested. Rich took a game from Downer at one and Jack narrowly lost 3-2 to Jared in a great contest.  Avon were 2-1 down thanks to the walk over with Allman and Welton to play. Both players put confident and experienced displays in winning 3-1 and 3-0. The win confirmed Avon’s Division one status for next year.

 

Result of Match v Hampshire

Rich King 1-3

Jack Allcock 2-3

John Welton 3-0

Dave Allman 3-1

W/O

 

With safety secured and a tie in the morning against the strongest remaining county Durham & Cleveland in the morning the team did celebrate and enjoy a little bit of the Liverpudlian hospitality!

 

However, eyes were on a completing a hat trick of wins on the weekend. Durham & Cleveland were a very solid team from 1-5.  Plenty of water and fruit consumed was the perfect preparation for the team. As predicted it was tight and games were level at 2 each with Sam Ellis to play the deciding rubber.  After being rested the day before he was moved and hit the ball very well and was looking good for the win when 2-1 up.  Sadly, his opponent pulled a muscle in his back in the 4th game and had to retire injured. As a result, Avon took the tie and finished undefeated over the weekend.

Result of Match v Durham & Cleveland

Sam Ellis 3-1

Rich King 2-3

Pete Joyce 3-0

John Welton 1-3

Dave Allman 3-1

 

John Welton says, “As captain I was incredibly pleased and proud of the guys. Everyone played brilliantly well and with a great spirit, attitude and togetherness! For a tiny county we definitely punch above our weight in Division one competing with some much larger counties with far more players to pick from. However, the team spirit and willingness to win and support each other is certainly a big factor and something I think is key for our County’s success. We hope to be able to field a strong team again next season and push for a chance in the play offs to gain entry into the Premier Division”.

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