Pyestock 207-5 (41 overs) drew with Uplands 150-8 (37 overs)
Highlights: J Bromley 50
By Jon Ford
For the second time this season, Pyestock played hosts as they welcomed fellow wandering side Uplands CC. A fine tea was laid on. The sandwich options included ham and tomato, coronation chicken, tuna crunch and cheese and pickle. There were also bhajis and samosas. The sweet options included Victoria sponge cake, chocolate cakes, rock cakes and scones with clotted cream. For the health-conscious there was watermelon and a rather old bowl of salad that had been discovered in the fridge. The Pyestock team were unable to finish the tea and this summed up the game as a whole. For the second year running, Pyestock were unable to finish off Uplands, who hung on for a draw.
Pyestock captain Neil Butler lost the toss and – against his preference – was asked to bat first. Glenn Taylor got the innings off to the usual flying start. He was the first wicket to fall when he was bowled for 41 by the accurate seamer Dave Rowe (2-34), the score reaching 53-1 in the 9th over.
The scoring then slowed as Jack Bromley looked to consolidate. Rowe soon dismissed the other opener, Jon Ford, leg before wicket and Neil Butler came to the crease. Familiar opponent Phil Webb then joined the attack, bowling his effective mixture of flighted lobs. Unlike previous seasons, the Pyestock batsmen were determined not to get out and Webb was left wicketless.
Uplands’ usual opening bowler, Chris Laddington was next on to bowl. His skiddy off-cutters got the breakthrough as Neil Butler was bowled for 30 when he played an ugly hoick across the line.
Jack Bromley calmly worked his way to a half-century. However, immediately afterwards he fell to Laddington, slicing a cut to wide slip. Pyestock now looked likely to post an inadequate total. But the innings was rescued by Colin Butler and Chris McGovern. Both batted sensibly and took on scoring shots when available. This included a strange reverse scoop shot from McGovern. The pair both finished up on 33 not out with Pyestock on 207-5. On a good pitch, this looked like a fair total.
The Uplands innings got off to a calamitous start with Neil Butler bowling the opener with the second legitimate ball of the innings. When Taylor Newcombe joined the bowling attack, she also picked up a wicket. Then, as has been the case in previous matches against Uplands, a cautious approach was adopted to batting and the score meandered to 44-3 from 15 overs.
To try to open the game up, Neil Butler chose to rotate his bowlers, and picked some unusual choices. First of all Paul Heath picked up one wicket, bowled. Then Heath was replaced by Pete Harris.
Tall seam bowler Harris has been woefully under-used by Pyestock this season. He made the most of his chance as he took three wickets in his first over. First of all, he removed John King for 27 with a leg stump full toss that must have swung a long way (else it’s not very clear how the batsman missed it). The next batsman only lasted one ball as he was immediately caught and bowled. Perhaps the third wicket was a little fortunate, as a wide long hop was powerfully hit to Ben Bromley at short extra cover. The ball then came off Bromley’s right wrist, rolled up his arm, and finally stuck in his left armpit for a stunning catch.
Uplands were reduced to 72-6 from 20 overs and now their only sensible option was to hang on for the draw. Neil Butler rotated his bowling options in search of wickets. Eventually Rob Waddington, who had been patient up to that point, top-edged a sweep off Ben Bromley to Taylor Newcombe at fine leg.
At the other end, the accomplished Dave Rowe was accumulating runs. There was some very generous bowling from Pyestock in the hope that he would provide a catch (we’ll leave out some of the details here). Several tricky chances were spilled. By the final over, Rowe had moved his score on to 47. The bowler Glenn Taylor then finally managed to hold on to a caught and bowled chance. But there wasn’t enough time remaining to take the last two wickets, and Uplands secured the draw with the score ending on 150-8.
Pyestock would like to thank Aldershot CC for kindly hosting the fixture. In particular, the efforts of groundsman Will Knox were much appreciated. Barman Andy Gass played an essential role in keeping glasses replenished. Finally, we hope to maintain the friendly relationship with Uplands CC, who participated in the well-meant on-field banter and proved to be enjoyable opponents.