By Jon Ford
Whiteley Village 168-8 (40 overs) lost to Pyestock 171-5 (39.4 overs) by 5 wickets
Pyestock won a thrilling match against new opponents Whitely Village on Sunday. Vaughan Newcombe hit two boundaries in the last over to help his side to victory with 2 balls to spare.
The required run rate had gradually crept upwards throughout the Pyestock innings as the batsmen found it hard to make headway. With 3 overs to go, Pyestock needed 25 runs to win with runs hard to come by. But (after quite a lot of missed cut shots earlier in the day) Vaughan found his range and ended on 34 not out. He was assisted by Colin Butler, who made 14 not out and will definitely be demanding a higher spot on the batting order next Sunday.
The start of the game was delayed to allow a game in Whiteley’s successful youth section to finish. The Pyestock players were surprised when told that the pitch was going to be on the greener section of the square. Stand-in captain Chris Heath was even more surprised when he lost the toss but was still asked to bowl first by Whiteley’s skipper Dan Roberts.
Whiteley may have known that Pyestock’s bowling attack was depleted by injury and absence. Neil Butler, Ben Bromley, Chris McGovern and Jack Bromley (the previous week’s leading bowler) were all missing for various reasons. Even the returning Chris Heath had sustained a shoulder injury on Saturday and was unable to bowl. Fortunately, last minute call-ups for brothers Luke and George Morten supplemented the bowling attack with their away swing and leg spin.
Despite this, Whiteley got off to a flyer, with Steven Cliff and Lewis Razey finding the boundary regularly. After hitting Dan Heath for six, next ball Steven Cliff found his middle stump knocked back.
A tighter spell then followed, as Dan broke through again by bowling captain Dan Roberts. George then joined the bowling with an accurate spell of leg spin, picking up one wicket caught and bowled.
Billy Leader made a return to Pyestock whites for the first time this year. Despite some nervousness from the wicketkeeper, the first over was (mostly) accurate. Leader found more pace and swing than the other bowlers in the match on his way to a spell of 2-28 from his 8 overs.
The green capped Evan Beck then helped Whiteley to a decent total by hitting 53 runs. He scored with a mixture of cuts and shots off his pads which the Pyestock bowlers found hard to combat.
Jon Ford (as I’m writing this) bowled an accurate-ish 2 wicket spell of inswing which Whiteley found tough to deal with. Whiteley eventually reached a total of 168-8. On a seaming pitch where the ball came on to the bat, it was very unclear how good the total would be.
The Pyestock batting line-up has not really fired this season and again struggled. Both Jon Ford and guest Scott Taylor fell to sharp slip catches by Jake Knowles. Opening bowler Elliott Minto (6-3-8-1) confounded Glenn Taylor by bowling away swingers wide of off stump. Glenn eventually fell for 16 to leave Pyestock struggling on 37-3.
Dan Heath has returned to batting form this season. After a slow start, he again helped his team with several off drives piercing the field on his way to a score of 54.
By the time Dan was bowled by Billy Shambler, Pyestock were on 130-5 and looked like they might run out of overs. It was then left to Vaughan and Colin to guide Pyestock through the tense run chase.
The Pyestock team are grateful for the friendly hospitality from Whiteley Village who were late fill-ins for original opponents Sandhurst. The game was played in good spirits (although spirits were not available from the bar until a strict 30 minutes after the game) and both sides mixed up their batting and bowling options. In retrospect, Whiteley Village could probably have closed out the game by allowing Elliott Minto and Frank Knight to bowl their full allocations, but Pyestock’s batting line-up probably underperformed.
Pyestock are looking forward to captain Neil Butler’s return for their trip to Prestcold next weekend, and that some of their other bowlers will have recuperated from their various injuries.