Fifty years may have come and gone since Pyestock club president Norrie Short took to field for the first time in his clubs colours, but the legend turned back pretty much all of them with three crucial wickets to wrap up victory in this hastily arranged match at Peper Harow.
Batting first against their weakened opposition, Pyestock openers Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor flew out of the traps early piling on valuable runs in the quest for a big score. Bowlers Dan Saunders and Jovito Rosewin struggled for consistency early on and were suitably punished by the Pyestock pairing that had put on a fine 142 run partnership at Porchfield CC 7 days previous.
Within 10 overs, the score had rocketed to 70 without loss and the visitors were looking towards a high first innings score.
In the 12th over however, the breakthrough did arrive for the shell-shocked hosts as Ford misjudged a delivery from Rosewin and was bowled for 27. This departure brought Norrie Short to the crease for the first time in 2014, and immediately swatted Rosewin to the fence for 4 runs to the delight of all who were watching.
Taylor continued to move the score onwards with the century approaching, but disaster struck in the 16th over as a mistimed lofted drive saw Chris Ney take a solid catch and provide Risewin with his second wicket.
Neil Butler joined Short at the crease looking to continue to keep the impressive run rate going, even after his partner was bowled by Rosewin for 7 to bring the score to 104 for 3.
Steve Bradley, who had initially donned the wicketkeeper gear, was brought into the attack and almost immediately accounted for Chris Heath (2) before Butler was stumped by Dan Saunders to give Steve Fincham his first wicket of the day.
Suddenly, Pyestock found themselves 123 for 5 with Jack Bromley and Dan Heath now occupying the crease, and the innings was in the balance. The experienced duo of Bradley and Fincham ensured neither batsman was to get an easy ride at the crease with some probing lines, but both survived to smash maximums to boost their sides cause.
Heath, who was enjoying a rare outing for the beastly “Mongoose” bat only added 3 more runs before picking out a sub fielder in the guise of Glenn Taylor to depart for 11.
Chris McGovern proved an able replacement for the departed number 7, with some astute shots , but the bowling of Steve Fincham, which had caused so many problems in the past was once again to undo the Pyestock innings as Bromley, McGovern and Will Knox were all dismissed, remarkably all stumped by the quick thinking and hands of Dan Saunders to leave the visitors in tatters.
Amongst the carnage, it would be unfair to ignore Steve Bradley’s contribution as he bowled Ben Bromley for 1 leaving a target of 167 for Peper Harow to secure victory!
A swift turnaround owing to the pressure of losing light meant no tea interval, but this didn’t affect Pyestock as they flew out of the traps in defence of their score, opening batsman Dan Saunders somehow kept out Chris Heaths first ball of the innings, but could do nothing about the second as the all rounder was beaten for pace as the stumps were demolished, and it looked a long road for the hosts.
At the other end, Will Knox, handed an opening slot for the first time , bowled tidily with good away swing and was rewarded for his efforts as Chris Ney was bowled , reducing the chase to 13 for 2.
Knox continued to bowl well, despite the new pairing of Cornell and Rosewin, stabilising the innings with a partnership of 31 before the latter hoiked the young seamer into the grateful hands of Chris McGovern at deep mid-wicket.
This brought the formidable key to the Peper Harow side to the crease with the clear ambition to steer his side away from defeat and a cautious start saw the stalwart see off the bowling Knox and Neil Butler who had replaced Chris Heath at the pavilion end of the ground.
At the other end, Ted Cornell was standing up well to the Pyestock bowling and was scoring well until a delivery from new bowler Dan Heath looped up off the openers bat and down into the gloves of Glenn Taylor, who was standing in for the absent Vaughan Newcombe.
Two overs later, Peper Harow’s plight was further hindered with a frankly ridiculous run out following a misjudgement from Bradley. Tucking the ball into the leg side the experienced batsmen set off for a single, the surprised Paul Heath at the other end had no chance as Glenn Taylor collected the ball from behind the stumps and completed a relatively simple direct hit.
The hosts were now 62 for 5 and the stage was set for one of the most memorable spells of bowling in Pyestock history. As the ball was tossed to Norrie Short at the start of the 29th over, the president’s main concern seemed to centre around whether he would be able to reach the other end with his deliveries. He, nor anyone else needed to worry as with just his second ball forced Colin Lock into pushing a defensive shot straight at Chris Heath at silly mid off.
It was a strange reversal of roles after the many catches Short had taken in that position off of Heath’s bowling in the past, and the wicket produced massive congratulations for Pyestock’s very own legend.
Short was not finished there though as just 4 balls later, Al Jones was trapped LBW to reduce the score to 75 for 7.
Saving the best for last however Short produced a brilliant caught and bowled to take his third wicket in just seven balls and leave Peper Harow’s chances of salvaging the match in tatters.
There was still work to do however as the stubborn Steve Fincham entered as the last man, and showed his intention to not allow Pyestock to have things all their own way by launching Dan Heath over the boundary for six, but the introduction of Ben Bromley for Short proved decisive as Fincham was bowled for 10, ending the match with a 66 run difference.
So Pyestock move 1-0 up in the end of season mini series, with Norrie Short undoubtedly providing the turning point in the match. Thoughts will turn to next Sunday when a much changed side will look to provide a similar result.