An incredible bowling spell from Captain Neil Butler quickly dampened an enthusiastic Warfield CC side this Sunday, allowing his side to secure their fifth straight victory.
Recording figures of 7 wickets for 7 runs, Butler tore through the hosts batting line up who seemed unable to settle on a dry wicket.
Unusually deciding to partner himself with spinner Ben Bromley, the pair started well as Dan Torry and Harvey Fuller opened cautiously against the varied nature of the attack.
Torry, appeared the more attacking of the pair as he attempted several drives from the bowling of Butler, although the Pyestock fielders proved more than equal to the task as only 6 runs were conceded in the opening 4 overs.
Unfortunately, for the Warfield number 1, however, the next over brought a drive too many as the ball failed to stay down on its way back to Butler, who took a regulation catch on his follow-through.
Aroun Jayabalan joined Fuller at the crease, but by now Pyestock’s record wicket taker was finding his rhythm and with only his fifth ball faced, the new batsmen guided the ball to Jack Bromley in the gully for the second wicket of the day.
At the other end, Bromley, who had recorded his career-best bowling figures of 6 for 40 at this ground 12 months previous, responded with 2 wickets of his own, by bowling Morgan Price with a delivery that kept a little low, and then Ken Fuller two balls later after attempting a lofted swing second ball uncharacteristic of the situation the hosts found themselves in.
With score perilously standing on 9 for 4, Warfield required stability, and with opener Fuller at the crease, Pyestock knew they still had work to do, especially now he had been joined by the formidable figure of Richard Scott, who immediately began to punish anything Bromley dropped a little short. Fuller was lucky to survive as a lofted drive was inexplicably put down at mid off by Chris Heath who gave the opener an additional life.
In the 13th over, just as the hosts looked to be finally getting a foothold in the game, Butler struck again, with 2 wickets in as many balls. Firstly Harvey Fuller’s resistance finally ended as he was bowled, his 4 runs from 29 balls showed a valuable resistance and doggedness, that had been lacking from a few of his previous partners, and Leigh Johnson, who lasted just the solitary ball as he presented Butler with his second caught and bowled chance of the day, and one he held, albeit at the third attempt.
The experienced Steve Ruddle comfortably fended off the hat-trick ball, but with the home side now 13 for 6, it would need something magical to pull any kind of total from the wreckage of the innings.
Scott counterattacked in an attempt to rescue his side threatened to start the revival as the powerful hitter breached the boundary rope on 3 occasions as Bromley endured some uncharacteristic punishment, however Butler continued to prove unstoppable as Ruddle and then Scott himself were bowled, unable to cope with the vicious in-swing generated by the Pyestock skipper.
With the wicket of Scott already claimed in the 17th over, Butler then removed Douglas with a peach of a yorker, only for the home side in the pavilion to protest that wicket had come from the seventh ball of an already completed over. To Pyestock’s credit, Douglas was recalled to the crease for another chance to shine, but was again removed 12 balls later by the same method.
Regular opener Chris Heath replaced Butler with the score on 30 for 9, and 5 balls later it was all over as last man Martin skied an attempted paddle-sweep, which Vaughan Newcombe calmly claimed.
Pyestock’s target was a paltry 32, and most betting men would have wagered on a comfortable stroll towards victory, but to Warfield’s extreme credit, what followed proved that no game is ever won after a single innings and whatever the total scored, the chasers still need to work to achieve the objective.
In the third over, Ken Fuller claimed his first wicket as stand-in opener Pete Harris could only find the safe hands of Chris Martin to depart without scoring, and 4 overs later Jon Ford had his defences breached to leave the visitors 6 for 2.
Vaughan Newcombe and Chris McGovern worked hard to settle the innings down after the initial excitement, and patiently moved the score through the teens, and just as the result began to become clearer, there was to be a final twist. Three wickets in as many overs threw up further nerves in what was becoming a wicket-fest.
Fuller claimed his third and fourth wickets, as Newcombe was bowled and Mike Carpenter caught, sandwiching McGovern’s dismissal at the hands of Morgan Price.
Suddenly, this late rally had left Neil Butler’s side 27 for 5 and in danger of undoing all the hard work achieved earlier in the day. However, in a rare moment of composure, Colin Butler and Jack Bromley knocked off the remaining 5 runs required for victory and secured Pyestock’s fifth straight victory. Relief was evident sound the visiting camp at the end of the match, as many felt if Warfield had taken just a couple more early wickets, a very tense finish would have been almost assured.
Warfield CC will no doubt initially look back on this result with disappointment, but can take a lot of credit from sticking to a seemingly impossible task, and almost forcing an unexpected result. They remain great hosts and participated in a fantastically close “beer match” later in the day, where the difference was only 2 runs, and remainly firmly one of Pyestock CC’s favoured excursions.