An unchanged Pyestock CC bounced back from their heaviest defeat in five seasons to record a solid seven wicket victory over new opponents Long Ditton CC this Sunday.
The victory, a complete reversal in performance from seven days previous, came thanks to a sublime all round performance from Glenn Taylor who took career best bowling figures of 7 for 55, then put on an opening partnership of 96 with Jon Ford on his way to scoring 77.
Winning the toss and bowling first on a well-worn wicket, stand in Captain Chris Heath took the new ball with brother Dan and with just the fourth ball of the game opposing skipper Tom Bennett pushed too hard at a defensive prod and looped the ball gently to Chris McGovern.
It was the perfect start for the visitors but with the introduction of the home sides number 3 Henry Hair, the bat began to dominate the ball. Two large sixes boosted the run rate to almost 7 an over and lost the match ball in the dense bushes to the side of the pitch leaving Pyestock to do battle with a much older and worn cherry.
In the seventh over, Pyestock were dealt a large slice of luck as Hair dabbed the ball into the leg side and started off on a quick single. At the other end, Tom Rogers scampered to make his ground as Jon Ford gathered the ball and returned it to Vaughan Newcombe behind the stumps. It seemed as if Rogers would make his ground, but his bat stuck in the soft pitch, half a yard short and left the opener to trudge from the field. Long Ditton were now 36 for 2.
Four overs later replacement Joe Rogers also found the slow soft pitch an issue as like his captain played too early and popped a chance back to bowler Chris Heath, who checked his follow-through and took a smart one handed catch. The hosts were now in difficulty at 47 for 3, but Hair was still punishing every bad ball offered and new partner Josh Graham played sensibly to stall any further Pyestock progress.
For the 16th over Glenn Taylor was introduced and used the uneven and worn surface to full advantage. In his third over the leg spinner claimed the prized wicket of Hair, just 2 balls after his half century was celebrated, before being frustrated by Graham who edged 3 separate deliveries to the slips, without any being taken.
Jack Bromley was introduced at the far end of the ground, but it was Taylor who was striking fear into the home sides batting. Dan Hoult was caught by Jon Ford, after Graham was finally caught in the slips thanks to Jack Bromley. Further wickets of Leo Rogers and Alex Naylor gave the long haired assassin his second ever five wicket haul in Pyestock colours.
It was not completely one way traffic however, and the home side were counter attacking well. Trying hard to score from the other end did not benefit other bowlers Bromley and Jay Threlfall, and even Taylor himself proved expensive on occasions as the score moved to 137 for 8.
Nad Ahmad was now at the crease for the home side and used his solid eye and powerful strokes to push the innings along. Consecutive boundaries wer hit from the bowling of Jay Threlfall, to raise the score over the 150 barrier.
Just as it looked as if there was to be a major sting in the hosts tail. Taylor struck again, bowling Mark Lambert to leave Pyestock one wicket away from wrapping up the innings. Tom Threlfall received time for a one over cameo, before that man Taylor collected his seventh wicket as last man Matt Baker was stumped. Ahmad had finished with a handy 23 not out from 27 balls to hoist his side to 176 at tea.
After the break, Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor set about building a firm platform to chase down the 177 runs required for victory, but we’re hampered by the lively pace of Matt Baker. The Long Dutton youngster certainly injecting more pace than anything encountered recently by the Pyestock batsmen, the innings began in survival mode.
At the other end, Nad Ahmad was not securing the same lever of fear over the batsmen, and conceded 28 from four overs before being hailed off and replaced with skipper Tom Bennett.
Progress slowed with Pyestock having to wait until the 15th over before bringing up fifty, thankfully the additional time gained from bowling out Long Ditton ensured this brief lull in proceedings did not harm the chase too much.
Dan Hoult was introduced for 2 overs as Baker tired and was treated with disdain by Taylor, who brought up his half century whilst bludgeoning four boundaries from the luckless bowler. Taylor, seeing the ball like a melon was rampant, whilst at the other end, Ford, who had mustered just 6 runs was providing able and solid support despite his obvious frustrations at failing to time almost every shot.
18 overs had passed and Pyestock had climbed to 83 without loss, and Long Ditton turned to Tom Rogers. This seemed to surprise a few of his team mates as the opening batsman’s awkward run up and slow arm speed enticed ideas of the home side throwing in the towel, however the move appeared to be a master stroke from the home captain Bennett as the third over in a tidy spell saw both Taylor and Ford caught, reducing the visitors to 96 for 2.
Rogers however wasn’t finished there and in his next over enticed Vaughan Newcombe into pushing too hard at a forward drive and was caught and bowled. At 104 for 3 there was still work for the new pairing of Jack Bromley and Colin Butler to do.
Rogers found himself unable to make further inroads despite the spinner friendly nature of the wicket, and and was soon replaced with Alex Naylor as the score approached the target. Both Bromley and Butler were batting positively, but sensibly, as the score ticked over 150, it seemed the match was swinging in Pyestock’s favour. The introduction of Joe Rogers proved the catalyst for confirming this thought as Butler struck four consecutive boundaries off of the hapless bowler and moved his side to within six of victory.
Jack Bromley did the rest, bringing a successful close to the chase, with 46 balls remaining, and returned Pyestock to winning ways. The youngster finished 40 not out, with Butler close behind unbeaten on 35, but the plaudits rightly went to Glenn Taylor, for his efforts with both ball and bat. The first time a player for the club had taken a five-for and scored a half century since Dan Heath (5 for 3 & 72) versus Hawley CC in 2010.
It was an enjoyable game and one that is hoped to be repeated against an able Long Ditton side. 10 of the 13 wickets to fall did so to spinners on a helpful pitch. The match was played in a fantastic spirit, and the seemingly long-forgotten art of the timed match resurrected in all its glory.