Pyestock debutant Will Knox became an instant hero by hitting the winning run in one of the closest matches in Pyestock’s history this weekend .
Missing regulars Pete Harris and Ben Bromley, Knox and Kym Marsden were drafted into the side to bolster the team, and it was the latter who initially took centre stage, opening the bowling with Chris Heath as injury prevented skipper Neil Butler from taking his regular opening bowler slot.
Heath, who was searching for his 400th Pyestock wicket started tightly , and didn’t have to wait too long to reach his personal milestone as Skilton skied an attempted drive straight into the safe hands of Jack Bromley at mid on.
At the other end Marsden was bowling well with varying length and flight, but found his shorter balls regularly pulled into the leg side where Chris McGovern mopped up, as the home side found early runs hard to muster. In fact, double figures were only reached in the 8th over as the cautious play of Medlock and Searle ensured no early panic for Neil Butler’s side.
Further evidence of the bowlers early dominance came in the 9th over as Heath was clipped away to fine leg by Searle bringing up the first and only run conceded by the seamer in his 5 over spell.
At this point, Butler opted on a double change bringing Jack Bromley and Dan Heath into the attack and the score continued to meander slowly with Medlock seemingly trying to push proceedings slings, only to struggle against the strict discipline of the bowling.
The pressure that Pyestock were placing on their hosts paid off in the 17th over as Heath tempted Searle forward into the drive but the number 3 only managed to claim enough of the ball to chip it back to the delighted bowler.
Bagshot were now 35 for 2 with almost half their overs gone and it seemed most hopes of a competitive score lay with the well set Medlock and sizable presence of new batsmen Sam Holmes, who, after a wobbly start, began to impose himself on the innings with an impressive range of powerful strokes.
In the 23rd over, disaster struck for the home side as Medlock clipped Dan Heath towards the slips. Neil Butler was unable to cut off the ball and Glenn Taylor gave chase. Medlock turned for a second run as Taylor returned the ball and was not in the frame as Newcombe collected and made sure there was no doubt the stumps were broken.
Bagshot’s lynchpin had departed for a hardworking 28 from 62 balls and Pyestock sensed an in-road into the underbelly of the Bagshot line up, and this feeling gained further belief when just 4 overs later, new batsmen Ishak was run out in yet another suicidal call, This time Colin Butler was the man to provide the hard work to earn the wicket. To be fair to the twice surviving batsman Holmes, neither were his call nor fault and the home dressing room mirror must have had some hard stares as Derry joined his team mate at teh crease looking to advance his sides position from a now worrying 61 for 4.
Glenn Taylor and William Knox were by now being utilised as bowlers and Knox in particular found himself unlucky to come away wicketless as Holmes could only edge several deliveries beyond despairing wicket-keeper and slip fielders as Pyestock continued to ask questions of the pair.
Despite this danger, Holmes and Derry batted positively and took the match to Pyestock for the first time bringing up the 100 in the 31st over. Neil Butler responded by re-introducing Chris Heath to the attack and the run rate began to slow once more, but it was the latter return of Marsden who broke the dangerous partnership just as the final push for runs started, by superbly bowling Derry for a brisk 48.
Derek Budd provided company for Holmes, who passed his half century with 3 balls of the innings remaining as the hosts closed their innings on 167 for 5 at the end of 40 overs, the fine efforts of Holmes and Derry instrumental in posting a competitive score.
After the break, Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor set about ensuring a good start put their side in the box seat given the slow start that restricted their opposition, but the tight lines of Sutherland and Nakarja ensured that 2 overs in the score remained 0 for 0.
Eventually the scorers were called into action as Pyestock’s progress began to increase, Ford taking a particular liking to Nakarja as he regularly pulled the seamer to the shorter downhill boundary.
In the 7th over, the pair’s good start was curtailed by Sutherland, who managed to trap Taylor LBW. The impact perhaps a little high, but the swinging length delivery proved enough to convince the umpire to send the opener back to the pavilion.
New man Jack Bromley replaced Taylor and looked to settle down at the crease, however was lucky early on, dropped at mid off off the bowling of Nakarja when a simple catch looked more likely. It was a costly error as from this point Bromley attacked the bowling enough to raise Pyestock to 52 for 1 after 11 overs, at which point Bagshot made their first double bowling change.
Derek Budd and Neil Harris slowed the rate initially as the pair collectively produced three maidens from their initial four overs, but the 18th over saw the shackles well and truly cut loose as, after a single from Ford, Bromley hammered 18 runs from the remaining 5 balls, including a monstrous six on to the roof of the neighbouring pub.
Once a new ball was found, the pair continued to work the runs off of the target as Sam Holmes and Jon Atkinson replaced Budd and Harris, and it was these two who began to swing the tide of the match. In the 23rd over, with Pyestock nine wickets to the good and requiring just 64 runs, Bromley found himself also adjudged LBW for an impressive 51 from just 50 balls.
Remarkably, 2 overs later, a third LBW decision sent Chris McGovern on his way as Bagshot suddenly sensed that the match could be wrestled back in their favour. This notion gathered pace as Holmes forced Ford into a loose prod to short cover in the 26th over to reduce the visitors to 114 for 4.
Ford was particularly unlucky to be dismissed, as it occured from the seventh ball of the over, the opener sickened when he heard the news.
Suddenly, Pyestock had to rebuild the innings with 54 runs required from 84 balls against a resurgent home side. Vaughan Newcombe and Colin Butler settled matters back down, until Newcombe was bowled by Atkinson for 5 allowing the captain to join his brother at the crease, and the pair looked to finish the match as a contest. Holmes and Atkinson continued their impressive spells however and in the 34th over, the former added yet another twist in what was fast turning into one of those matches you couldn’t take your eyes off.
First Colin Butler was deceived and was bowled for 9 runs, before Neil was also bowled 5 balls later to leave the match on a knife-edge. Big hitters Kym Marsden and Dan Heath were now at the crease, both with the ability to finish the contest in just a few lusty blow’s, but with 7 wickets now lost, caution wad to be exercised.
It was suicidal therefore that after at the end of the 35th over, Marsden misjudged the throw returning for the second run and was comfortably run out, in keeping with the earlier frantic and ill-advised decision-making in Bagshot’s innings.
Chris Heath joined Dan to form the second brother-partnership of the match with 25 runs required from 5 overs. and singles were traded along with a bye to keep the visitors in a game where they were no longer favourites. Neil Harris was introduced with a simple remit, keep the runs down, and it was mission accomplished for the experienced spinner, until the final ball of the over as Dan Heath cleverley picked out the tree in the outfield for a simple boundary.
Now Pyestock required 16 runs from 3 overs with the less attacking Chris Heath on strike. the number 10 wasted no time in claiming a single, but immediately a bye left Dan again stranded at the non-striking end. The opening bowler again found a single lofting over mid on, but Dan Heath could also only find a single as the run rate began to climb. the final ball of Skiltons over was swatted for four past mid-wicket to turn the over on its head and leave Pyestock 8 runs from victory with 12 balls remaining.
Dan Heath claimed 5 from the first 2 balls of Harris’s next over before a scampered two brought the scores level with 9 balls remaining. In one final twist in this now fascinating contest saw Chris Heath trapped LBW trying to flick the ball to fine leg for victory.
This brought last-man William Knox to the crease with all his team-mates chewing what was left of their finger nails. Most thought that Pyestock’s best chance was for Knox to survive the remaining 2 balls of the over (under extreme pressure) allowing Dan to find a single run from the last over, but it turned out none of this was necessary as Harris delivered his first ball to the visitors number 11, and an off-drive found a thick edge guiding it past wicket-keeper Medlock to the cheers of the Pyestock team.
it was a fantastic end to an incredible match and Bagshot more than played their part and battled gallantly to force the match to its thrilling conclusion. For Pyestock the spirit of the tail to dig in and the early tight bowling made the victory possible despite the mid-innings wobble.
Pyestock now head off on their annual tour to the Isle of Wight in good spirits, knowing that a double victory over the weekend will break a 25 year record for most wins in a single season. It will not be easy however, as no wins were recorded last season.