By Jon Ford
Peper Harow 211-4 (41 overs) beat Pyestock 210ao (37.4 overs) by 1 run
After several successful seasons, Pyestock have lost the knack of winning matches with just 3 wins in 9 outings. This was demonstrated on Sunday, when their batting line-up spectacularly splintered against Peper Harow. The last 4 wickets fell with the score on 210, as Pyestock lost by one run.
Ecstatic Peper Harow captain Steve Bradley, exclaimed “I still can’t believe that happened. There’s no way we should have won that game!” (That’s verbatim.)
On a humid day, it started to rain at mid-day at the historic Peper Harow ground. But the hot weather meant the moisture soon evaporated, allowing the game to start on time, to the surprise of some players from both teams who had to finish their drinks more quickly than planned. Peper Harow opener Mike Tate was obviously amongst the surprised, as he fell early on as a catch lobbed up to Jon Ford at point off Dan Heath’s bowling.
The other opener, Marcus Price, had more success as the Pyestock bowlers fed his favourite cut shot. He eventually holed out off Chris Heath, with Kym Marsden running backwards to make a difficult catch look easy.
The Peper Harow batsmen have not had the best of it against Pyestock’s bowlers in recent years, but they were finding batting comfortable now. Lee Bennett struck 41, including 2 sixes. He was dismissed when Glenn Taylor joined the attack, hitting the leg spinner straight to Dan Heath at mid-wicket.
The game then turned with a significant stand between Steve Bradley and Brad Marshall. There was a particularly explosive innings from Marshall, who hit 5 fours and 5 sixes. The scoring was running away from Pyestock, with Bradley skilfully manipulating singles to keep Marshall on strike.
Marshall eventually fell for 66, caught at extra cover by Colin Butler off Jon Ford’s bowling as he attempted to hit another six. However the Peper Harrow onslaught continued as they finished on 210-4. Bradley ended up with a steady 31 not out while Joshi Rosewin hit 22 not out including a fine straight 6 modelled on AB de Villiers’ technique.
In reply, Pyestock got off to a flying start with 13 runs from the first over. Opening batsmen Glenn Taylor and Jon Ford helped the score to rocket to 102 by the end of the 13th over. Taylor was back to his aggressive best, as he dominated the bowling with strong pulls and drives.
However, Peper Harow captain Steve Bradley stayed calm, and rotated his bowlers. Eventually, he was rewarded when Glenn Taylor was spectacularly caught by Marcus Price with a diving one handed catch at fly slip for 94. The first wicket had fallen with the score on 165. The Peper Harow bowling and fielding had been lax up to that point, but suddenly the intensity increased.
Jon Ford followed soon afterwards, caught on the long on boundary by Brad Marshall from the bowling of Elliot McArthur for 57. Still the score nudged onwards, with a rare appearance from Pyestock Director of Cricket Neil Butler. He made 20 before being unable to resist trying to hit Fincham out of the ground, and falling caught at mid-off.
The wickets then clattered as Bradley continued to switch his bowlers. Dan Heath hit 1 six, but was dismissed by his Saturday captain. However, the score still reached 208-5 with 4 overs to go.
Vaughan Newcombe was then bowled by Bradley, but Pete Harris and Tom Threlfall scrambled a couple of singles to leave Pyestock one run short of a tie and two runs short of victory.
In the next over from Bennett, Harris could not get the ball away, and at the end of the over he called Threlfall through for a single, from which he was run out (although a video replay would have been welcome).
Bradley then sent down a maiden and, at the start of the final over, Pyestock needed 2 runs to win with 3 wickets in hand. They also had to survive 6 balls to draw. Unfortunately, there was great tension and Pyestock were unable to finish off the game. Colin Butler guided the first ball of the over straight to point.
Kym Marsden came in, played and missed at one ball, then skied a return catch. The final Pyestock batsman Chris Heath then demonstrated a different response to anxiety, when he hit his first ball straight to point then couldn’t prevent himself from calling for a quick single. Unfortunately Pete Harris was not so quick off the mark, and he was run out. A shell-shocked Pyestock side had managed to lose by 1 run, leaving 2 deliveries unused in the final over.
Our foreign correspondence reports: In India there are rumoured reports into match-fixing facilitated by umpires. High profile figures are expected to be implicated, but so far the only known clue is in the investigation name, Project Hollywood.