Pyestock CC recorded their first victory of 2014 with a hard fought and determined win over Deando-Ruxley CC this Sunday. On a blustery and changeable day, it was fortunate that the predicted rain showers held off, preventing any chance of a repeat of last years abandonment.
Visiting Captain Neil Butler won the toss and asked the hosts to bat on a damp and lively wicket which offered plenty to seam and spin bowlers alike. With only one change to the visitors line up with Mike Carpenter replacing Vaughan Newcombe, Pyestock were determined to put in a better performance than last week’s disappointing defeat at the hands of Concorde CC.
Neil Butler and Chris Heath took on the opening pairing of Burns and Woolston, and generally came out on top, although anything short of a length was punished, particularly by Burns who found pulling Heath to the square leg boundary profitable. Early in his spell, Heath thought he had Burns caught behind although evidence suggested the ball had brushed forearm and not glove and the celebrations were quickly muted.
In the twelfth over, Heath did claim his man as the desired yorker found its way through Burns defence to bring the first wicket of the day, and two overs later the dangerous Woolston mistimed a drive high to Jon Ford at point, who held on well to a difficult chance. Jack Bromley was introduced to the attack and once he had found his length, proved a constant thorn in the hosts side. Atta fell for a golden duck, to reduce the hosts to 36 for 3 before a mid order collapse saw Jamie (5), Asif (1) and Stratton (0) all depart to the Bromley brothers, and left Deando number 3 Parker seemingly fighting his teams cause on a solitary basis.
Nilesh Patel announced his arrival to the crease with a massive six over the head of Ben Bromley, but the fireworks were short lived as a terrific reaction catch from Dan Heath saw the number 8 depart cheaply when more was anticipated.
Next man Ian Wyatt provided an increased level of stability and allowed Parker to attack and despite being dropped by both Glenn Taylor and Chris Heath scored positively and confidently to keep the low scoring innings moving. With Jack finishing his allotted overs, Neil Butler reintroduced himself to try and wrap up the innings, which he did in style. In the 33rd over, Wyatt feathered through to Dan Heath who took another fine catch to send the tall number 9 on his way (although his major contribution was yet to come), and then proceeded to wrap up the innings by bowling Parker for a well earned 30, easily the highest score on the Deando-Ruxley card.
Pyestock’s run chase was to start in a positive manner as Glenn Taylor took a liking to Ian Wyatt’s opening over. This was not a sign of things to come however as the opening bowler fantastically used to conditions to his advantage and combined an awkward length with high delivery action, which proved virtually impossible to get away.
In the 7th over, Wyatts bowling partner, Nilesh Patel produced the first wicket of the reply as he tempted Taylor into a big shot and was caught comfortably at mid wicket. Disappointment for the normally prolific opener, who’s contribution of 19 was his lowest score since the Isle of Wight tour last September.
Chris Heath joined Jon Ford at the crease, with the score on 21, and it was felt that employing a cautious and defensive approach was the best way to deal with the unpredictable and eccentric bounce the wicket was serving.Unfortunately for the visitors, the aforementioned difficulties eventually sank Ford’s resistance as the extra bounce surprised the opener who, once in position to cut the ball into the off-side, could only glove through to Burns behind the stumps. Ford’s 3 runs from 30 balls testiment to the difficulties brought by the conditions.
Rizwan replaced Patel in the 13th over and complete with long run up, looked tidy as Heath and now Neil Butler looked to retain patience. With the run rate hovering at just above 2 an over, progress was slow, but panic bells weren’t ringing given the low target, as long as wickets could be held in hand.
This philosophy, made the events in 18th over all the more bizarre, as a rare wayward delivery from Wyatt was clipped away strongly by Heath so set off for a run, At the other end Butler hesitated as the fine leg fielder collected the ball far quicker than Heath anticipated. Despite the call of “wait!”, Heath continued on his run, and Butler belatedly set off, as the ball was gathered and returned to Burns. Despite a slight fumble, the Pyestock captain was not in the frame and DeandoRuxleywere gifted their 3rd wicket of the afternoon.
Mike Carpenter, enjoying his first appearance for the club since September 2012, replaced his captain, but the lack of recent action showed as as a mistimed drive gave Rizwan his first scalp of the afternoon, and the seamer was desperately unlucky not to claim a second as Asif dropped Chris Heath at mid wicket as the visitors began to wobble.
Thankfully the experience of Colin Butler was now in the middle and again like all before him took time to adjust to the conditions, then carefully plucking off the remaining runs with Heath.
Heath, who looked comfortable with the leg spin of Asif (replacing Wyatt who had incredibly only conceded 1 run from his last 8 overs) did survive a strong LBW shout, however the ball was deemed to have pitched outside leg stump as the slow progress continued. Calling was once again an issue between the batsmen as both seemed stranded in the middle after a strong shot into the off side from Butler, but on this occasion no damage was done.
With 10 overs remaining, Pyestock required only 19 runs for victory and looked to have the upper hand. Refusing to get carried away however the pair defended their wickets resolutely and picked off the easy runs with little to no risk. Atta was introduced to the attack with 9 overs remaining, but it was a superb off drive from Butler that released much of the tension as it seemed the run chase was going to prove a success.
Finally, in the 36th over, with a couple of 2’s Butler brought the winning runs with a late cut from a wide ball from Asif and the match was won, Pyestock had doggedly maintained their wickets and edged ahead of the run rate enough to ensure a reasonably comfortable victory. Credit must be awarded to Deando-Ruxley, who despite their low total, knew it was defendable on a tough, tough track to bat on, and Ian Wyatt, who’s final figures of 10-7-11-1 deserved many plaudits as he, and indeed many of the home side were unlucky to lose this gripping encounter.