Pyestock CC produced yet another solid performance to record their sixth straight win this Sunday, and in doing so recorded back to back wins over Kings CC for the first time.
In fact it was only the 3rd victory, Neil Butler’s side had secured over their Kempton based rivals, since swords were crossed for the first time way back in 1994, but it was a deserved result, that now brings them only one victory away from breaking the record win sequence that was set in 2012.
Batting first, Kings CC were missing many of their famous names, as Dave Miller, Dave Perry, Joel Miah, Nick Tighe, Richard Warne and Simon Pipe all failing to take to the field as unknown quantities, Rahul Sethi and Jeeta Dhillon opened proceedings.
After taking 7 for 7 the previous week, however, Captain Butler started in confident fashion, and claimed yet another wicket, as Sethi was caught and bowled, after failing to properly connect with a lofted drive. At the other end, Chris Heath almost claimed his side’s second wicket as Dhillon edged through to Dan Heath at first slip, the low catch was subsequently dropped.
This extra life seemed to spur Dhillon into action as he threw himself on the offensive, elegantly picking off Butler for a four and a six in the 5th over as the score raced to 24 for 1. The fireworks were not to last though as the first ball of Heath’s 3rd over beat the opener for pace as an attempted hook was skied high behind the slip cordon. Just as it looked as if the ball was going to sail away, a great chase, and fantastic over-the shoulder catch from Glenn Taylor brought celebrations as the dangerous looking opener departed for 21 from the same number of balls.
This brought the more familiar James Melligan to the crease, as Kings looked to recover from losing both openers within the first 6 overs, but a strong shout for LBW in the very next over sent Kings number 3, Vishal Singh on his way to reduce the hosts to 29 for 3, and it could have been worse still as replacement Graham Standen chopped his 3rd ball agonisingly passed his own stumps, curtailing Heath’s celebrations as the ball whistled down to fine leg for a single.
After 10 overs Pyestock introduced the Bromley brothers into the attack, but a 3 over horror show saw 27 runs conceded as both seemed to struggle for line and length, it was obvious, the change hadn’t worked and further thought was needed. Jack was withdrawn, and Ben switched ends in a move inspired by wicket-keeper Vaughan Newcombe, and it was he who received the majority of the plaudits in the 15th over, as in the young spinners first over back, breached Melligan’s wall of defence and bowled the usually solid upper order batsmen.
Not to be outdone at the other end, New bowler Dan Heath produced an edge from Standen which was swallowed by Neil Butler at slip and suddenly the visitors were back on top after their brief wobble. It was to the whole sides credit that the initiative had been regained following the earlier difficulties with the bowling and now looked to push on with Kings five wickets down for 61.
Dave Wright joined Rohan Scott, who had only faced one ball at the crease, and the hosts again had to rebuild, as Bromley and Heath settled into their spells. Scott seemed happy to attack and deposited Heath to the boundary on 4 occasions as the run rate began to increase. At the other end, Bromley was having more joy, keeping both batsmen quiet whilst producing a few uncomfortable moments for Wright, including a shot which ricocheted into the batsmens nose, luckily serious injury was avoided.
It was Bromley himself who was unfortunate enough to be the next who was in the wars, as a straight drive from Scott cracked the youngster on the ankle, prompting another delay whilst the bowler recovered. It did not deter Bromley however as he claimed the wicket of Wright soon after as a high lofted drive only found the waiting hands of Colin Butler at long on.
Steve Smith was the next man in and ably supported Scott , who was very much Pyestock’s primary target, as the powerful number 6 continued to feed off Bromley, Heath and Glenn Taylor. In the 26th over the turning point of the innings came, as Dan Heath beat the bat with a beautiful ball and disturbed the stumps to send Scott on his way.
As much as Pyestock celebrated, there was a lot of work still to be done, as Owen Mears strolled to the crease. Kings have famously batted well, all the way down the order, and Neil Butler was under no impression, that this would be any different. Heath however continued to bowl well forcing Mears into a loose sweep, which was brilliantly and eloquently caught by Chris McGovern at square leg.
Kings were now 120 for 8 as Paul Bygrave arrived in the middle, looking to push his team forward with some quick late runs, however Butler had sensed the need to inject some pace back into the bowling with himself, and firstly Chris Heath.
Heath’s spell couldn’t have started any better, as his first ball to Smith saw the batsmen uncharacteristically went back to a length ball, which crashed into the top of off stump. Last man Tom Moore, survived the 5 remaining balls from Heath’s over, before Butler ended the first half of proceedings by bowling Moore.
Kings innings had concluded with 134 runs on the board, felt by many of the home side to be short of what they required. Pyestock, content with the work they had put in and rewards for there efforts, quietly confident, but still wary, of a sixth win of the season.
Glenn Taylor returned to partner Jon Ford after tea, as the pair got to work chasing down the target, the largest since successfully reached Sandhurst’s 170 a month earlier. Singh and Bygrave, opened the bowling but it was to be only a solitary over, costing 8 for the latter who had to be replaced due to a shoulder injury.
Ford was looking abnormally under pressure in the early stages as he was lucky not to be caught on the off side on 2 occasions, but it was Taylor who fell first as he was caught behind by Rohan Scott, for 20. Dan Heath provided the replacement and carefully set about continuing the earlier work.
Vishal Singh, who picked up the wicket of Taylor, was causing issues for Pyestock from one end, but it was at the other where the work was being undone, as James Melligan was struggling to contain the visiting duo, conceding 26 runs from 4 overs as Neil Butler’s side reached 52 for 1 from the opening 10 overs.
Graham Standen was introduced to the attack as the hosts endeavoured to lower the run rate, and despite an innocuous first over that was dispatched for 6 runs, the giant bowler found his rhythm and began to unsettle the batsmen with a high action, that generated extra bounce, whilst bowling a nagging line that left most shots uncertain.
Tom Moore replaced Singh, who withheld 2 of his allotted overs but Ford and Heath ploughed on sensibly, although Ford was again lucky not to find a man in the offside with a lofted, mistimed drive. in the 17th over, Ford’s luck ran out as another ball aimed into the offside found Melligan for a straightforward catch and Kings celebrated their second wicket.
In-form Jack Bromley joined Heath at the crease, and after initially settling well, a wild and ugly shot saw the youngster bowled for 10, and Pyestock were suddenly stalling at 85 for 3. It was probably fortunate however that the next man in was the Captain Butler, who along with Heath, now growing in confidence, looked to take the game beyond the home side, however in the 27th over, a moment of pure brilliance from Standen threatened to throw the game back into the melting pot. A floated delivery was spotted early by Heath, who took a confident skip out of his crease and thundered the ball straight. It was a guaranteed boundary, until the bowler threw out a hand, and grasped the ball akin to Superman catching a speeding bullet.
Heath, dejected, trudged from the field, to be replaced by Vaughan Newcombe, but that moment threatened to prove a turning point as Pyestock, who were generally in control up until this point were now rattled, Newcombe was bowled by the impressive spin of Rahul Sethi as Pyestock found themselves 111 for 5.
Next man in was Colin Butler, and between he and brother Neil cautiously looked to edge the visitors over the line. various quick singles were turned away as the skipper was unwilling to risk further wickets and aimed to deal mainly in boundaries, however this approach was to prove his downfall, as the rejuvenated Bygrave re-entered the attack and claimed the prized wicket as Jeeta Dhillon took a secure catch at long on.
Kings tails were up, only four lower order wickets stood between them and a seemingly unlikely victory, but undeterred Butler and Ben Bromley cautiously continued to eek out the runs by waiting for the poorer balls, and when Sethi’s 6th over, the 35th of the match was smashed for 10 runs, the game was nearly up, as the scores moved level, and in a bit of an anticlimax, the winning run was brought up with a bye to secure a second straight victory over their once all-conquering opponents.
A cracking game, once again played in an excellent spirit was over, Kings will look towards their failure to bat their full entitlement of overs, as Pyestocks fielders and bowlers impressed, Pyestock will know that, had they not been entirely on the top of their game, an added 30 or 40 runs on top of the target, might have seen a different outcome.