Pyestock CC returned to winning ways this weekend with a comfortable victory over Bedhampton Mariners CC,
The match was slightly delayed due to a deluge just prior to the scheduled start time, but once the sun came out, the hosts won the toss and decided to bat on a drying surface.
This allowed Neil Butler and Chris Heath to benefit from the breezy and damp conditions in a similar way to the previous week at Theale and Tilehurst CC as John Hovey and Josh Quade initially struggled to kick the scoreboard into gear.
The first eight overs yielded just nine runs as the opening bowlers settled into a regular line and length, minimising any threat of leaked runs. Chris Heath was unlucky not to remove Hovey with a yorker that just claimed a faint inside edge guiding it past the stumps to fine leg for a single, before a lofted drive from the same batsmen was not claimed by stretching Pete Harris behind the bowler.
At the other end Butler was tempting left hander Quade with an array of away swing deliveries prompting a second slip, but the opening batsmen remained to see the first bowling change of the day as Ben Bromley replaced Butler.
The first wicket fell in the 14th over as Quade was beaten by a full ball from Heath to end a twenty run partnership that had lasted a mammoth 79 balls.
New batsmen Basketter showed more attacking intent, bringing up his side’s second boundary with a powerful drive from just his fourth ball at the crease, but once Heath had completed his spell, new bowler Billy Leader found the edge of the number 3 and first slip Glenn Taylor took a good catch.
The following over brought the next wicket as Pyestock began to turn the screw, Ben Bromley, who was now in full flow coaxed new man Whitfield out of his ground with a floated delivery and Vaughan Newcombe completed the job with an exquisite stumping.
Bedhampton’s solid start was now in tatters at 40 for 3 , but while the calming influence of John Hovey remained at the crease, Pyestock still had their work cut out. Ben Bromley completed his impressive spell taking 1 wicket for 19 runs from his allotted 8 overs as Dan Heath replaced the youngster.
It proved to be a masterful decision as the leg spinner took 3 wickets within his first 11 balls to further damage the hosts prospects of posting a defendable target. First he trapped the otherwise immovable Hovey LBW, for a hard fought 27, and with the very next ball new man Ayling slapped a full toss straight at Chris Heath at deep mid wicket.
The pick of the three for Heath however was the removal of Donelan who announced himself with a huge six back over the spinners head, but just 2 balls later an ultra slow, floated delivery, with all the characteristics of an almost apologetic hand grenade, tempted the hard hitting batsmen down the pitch, the following full blooded heave failed to make contact with the snow covered leather sphere as it re-entered the atmosphere, and to the horror of the number seven, disturbed the bails.
Heath, almost too embarrassed to celebrate continued to cause problems for Wainwight and Mike Collins although the former looked more positive than any of his predecessor’s and punished any loose balls that were delivered.
Billy Leader accounted for Collins in the 28th over to leave the home side in all kinds of trouble at 76 for 7 as Wainwright faced up to the fact that he would be batting with the tail, and with Higgins at the other end struggling to place willow on leather, it seemed all of Bedhamptons eggs sat in the number 5’s basket.
Oddly however, it was Wainwright who perished in the 32nd over as new bowler Glenn Taylor found his fourth ball guided down to fine leg. Most Pyestock players felt Wainwright had acquired the single required to hold the strike for the next over, but the call for the second run surprised everyone. Dan Heath unleashed a trademark bazooka throw to leave Bedhampton’s last hope scrambling for safety. It was all in vain as Newcombe had the easy task of removing the bails and claiming a superb eighth wicket.
Heath was unable to stay out of the action as he bowled Higgins four balls later to claim the Mariners ninth wicket and it seemed as though the target would be very low indeed. Graham had other idea’s however batting at 10 and rotated the strike to score well from Heath and Taylor’s remaining overs.
Neil Butler returned for the final over of the innings, but could not claim the elusive final wicket as Bedhampton closed their innings on 140 for 9.
After tea, Colin Butler and Glenn Taylor started the chase against the bowling of Dolelan and Swift, but initially an array of wides eased any early pressure the bowling duo tried to create. Both batsmen settled in well and punished any poor balls to good effect until the eleventh over, when Glenn Taylor failed to correctly judge the speed of change bowler Whitfield and stroked the ball back for a simple caught and bowled chance. It was the third time in five innings, Taylor had been dismissed in this manner, and he was left to contemplate this as he trudged from the field with Pyestock 42 for 1.
Jack Bromley joined Butler at the crease and looked to continue the healthy scoring rate as the Mariners juggled their bowling to try and unsettle the Pyestock pairing, but at the drinks break the score had progressed to a more than healthy 78 for 1 with half the overs still to be bowled.
The break in the innings however affected the concentration of the batsmen, as Butler, who looked so settled until this point was trapped LBW to Graham, and Bromley, suffered from a sudden rush of blood, charged the wily John Hovey, and falling on his sword stumped.
With the double wicket blow, Pyestock feared the worst, with recent batting collapses fresh in the memory, and these were re-stirred once more as Dan Heath was caught and bowled by Ayling to further put the brakes on the innings at 103 for 4.
the visitors now required 38 for victory with 6 wickets remaining, a very similar scenario to last weeks capitulation at the hands of Theale and Tilehurst, but on this occasion, thankfully, Vaughan Newcombe and Neil Butler dug deep and stood firm. Josh Quade was introduced to attempt to break the partnership, but it was all in vain as the unbroken partnership of 39 ended the contest with 6 overs and 3 balls remaining.
It was Pyestock’s eleventh victory of the summer, just 4 short of a club record, but more importantly, relations with Bedhampton Mariners CC had been continued, The relationship between the two clubs grows every season, and is now firmly recognised as one of the most favoured in the Pyestock fixture list and hoped to continue for many years to come!