For the second time this season Pyestock CC equalled the club record for consecutive victories with this impressive and comprehensive victory over familiar opponents Peper Harow CC.This win, comprehensive as it eventually turned out, also secured a 100% record throughout the month of September as Neil Butler’s side are closing the season in fine form.
Meeting for the third time this season, both sides made various changes to personnel with the visitors making 4 changes, as Adelaide Smith and Thomas Threlfall made their debuts, whilst also welcoming Vaughan Newcombe and Colin Butler back to action, but the major changes were to be found in the home camp as Peper Harow were forced to raid fellow I’Anson cup counterparts Badshot Lea CC for Sam Acres, Sam Arthur and Robin Bhasin, as well as utilising Taylor Newcombe, who was playing against the side she represented just 14 days previous. Wicket keeper Mac Ashcroft and Chris Bevin completed the changes for the hosts as Dan Saunders, Ted Cornell, Paul Heath and Colin Lock made way from the 9 players who took to the field last Sunday.
In fact it was Newcombe who opened the bowling with the more regular threat of Steve Bradley as Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor set about laying the platforms of a decent score, however discovered early that the pitch was inconsistent in bounce and carry, while the outfield was slow enough to stop almost any ball reaching the rope.
After a cautious start that saw just 8 runs scored from the first 5 overs, Taylor brought up the first boundary of the match with a strong punch down the ground, just after Steve Fincham athletically saved four in the covers.
This boundary seemed to release the pressure on the batsmen as suddenly the runs started to flow more freely. Newcombe’s impressive figures were dismantled by Taylor who took 18 runs from the 18 year olds next two overs as the score reached 40 by the 10 over mark.
At the other end, Ford was struggling with the deployment of 2 gullys, meaning it was difficult to cut away the nagging lines of Bradley, and was stifled into playing a supporting role for Taylor.
Change bowler Sam Arthur did little to reverse the tide that was now in Pyestock’s favour as the trend continued, with big shots from Taylor continued, but in the 15th over, the opening partnership was broken when Ford was trapped LBW by Steve Bradley.
Taylor brought up his half century in the next over with his eighth boundary and, now joined by Jack Bromley, looked to build once again. Bromley was fortunate to survive early on as , straight after hammering a six, was clean bowled by the wily Bradley, only to be saved by the no ball call from the umpire.
This scare seemed to send the youngster back into his shell, as the next period was calmer and allowed Peper Harow to introduce Jovito Rosewin to the attack. The usually reliable leg-spinner struggled to find his line early on, but soon recovered to tighten the purse strings on the innings.
By the 25th over, Pyestock had reached a healthy 125 for 1 but with his bowlers getting tired, the familiar spin of Steve Fincham was introduced. Fincham has traumatised many Pyestock batsmen over the years, however on this occasion Glenn Taylor and Jack Bromley were in no mood to get bogged down and launched a full on assault on the hosts main weapon, that brought up Taylor’s century in the 30th over.
Thoughts turned to the club record score of 172 set by Taylor twelve months previously, with around 35 minutes of the innings remaining, based on the fact that the opener had bludgeoned 21 runs from his last 5 balls, it was more than possible, however in the 32nd over it was all over as Fincham claimed his man, caught behind well by Mac Ashcroft.
The fun did not end there for the away side however as Jack Bromley’s half century came in the 33rd over, and, joined by Neil Butler the pair looked to pile on late runs, relaxed with the knowledge that 8 wickets remained in hand.
Fincham and Chris Bavin were the unlucky lambs put to the slaughter,as 68 runs were added in six frantic overs, before Fincham collected his second wicket with Bromley departing caught, for 71.
There was still time for Vaughan Newcombe to add 9 runs to the total, including smashing his first ball for six, signalling the total domination Pyestock were now enjoying, as the innings closed after 39 overs with the score a huge 265 for 3.
The borrowed Robin Bhasin and Sam Acres opened the reply for Peper Harow against the pace bowling of brothers Chris and Dan Heath, and initially looked solid against the attack based primarily on pitching the ball back of a length on a lively and variable surface. Acres was lucky to survive in the third over as an outside edge was not held by Neil Butler at first slip. the extra life did not last long however as a misjudgment from the opener saw his leg stump disturbed resulting in his departure for 8.
This brought Taylor Newcombe to the crease, who initially looked nervous against her own side, but settled down by pulling Dan Heath for 2 runs to get off the mark. A maiden over from Chris Heath managed to keep Bhasin quiet at the other end, before a no ball from Dan Heath denied him the wicket of Newcombe after a good catch from Neil Butler.
In what was turning into a frantic passage of play, with some batting and bowling that ranged from the brilliant to the obscene, the impressive looking Bhasin departed after picking out Glenn Taylor on the leg side before Taylor Newcombe could only find the same player at silly mid-off to depart for seven, leaving the hosts 36 for 3 after eleven overs.
Chris Heath then bowled Chris Ney after pinning the number 5 back into his crease with some differing pace, leaving Steve Bradley to partner the hard hitting Sam Arthur. With these two at the crease, Pyestock would have to work hard to ensure the match continued on the desired course, and Glenn Taylor was introduced to ensure the match was not lost to an uninsiring draw.
Arthur and Bradley had other ideas though and a clever approach of rotating the strike at every availability, plus some lofty blows saw the score rocket to 104 for 4 by the time drinks arrived with twenty overs remaining. Such was the run rate employed by the two batsmen that the target of 166 runs for victory at 8.3 runs per over did not look completely out of reach.
The game was becoming increasingly interesting as Dan Heath and Taylor were treated to regular trips to the boundary, however this all changed in the 21st over as a double blow for the hosts all but ended the run chase. firstlyArthur was cleverly bowled by Taylor for a brisk and impressive 59, and then, just 3 balls later, a pull from Bradley only found Vaughan Newcombe at deep mid wicket who took a brilliant catch close to the turf.
This double success gave Pyestock a fantastic lift as they could now concentrate on claiming what was turning into a deserved victory. Taylor collected his third wicket by bowling Jovito Rosewin, before Will Knox, who’s bowling improves with every game picked up a wicket by forcing Bavin to slap the ball straight at Dan Heath.
From this point it seemed only a matter of time before success was tasted in this fixture, however Mac Ashcroft and Al Jones frustrated the visitors and ate up the overs enough to start the nerves jangling once again. A double change at the start of the 30th over saw Jack Bromley and Neil Butler brought into the attack and the extra pace unsettled Jones, who, after playing a bizarre full-faced shot down to fine leg was bowled by Bromley leaving just Steve Fincham between Pyestock and their 17th victory of the season.
The next over, however proved to be the final chapter for the hosts as Butler bowled Fincham leaving Peper Harow all out for 143, a significant 122 runs away from victory.
All eyes turn will now turn to the closing fixture of the season, against…you guessed it! Peper Harow.