Twelve months ago, Pyestock CC travelled to Worcester Park for the first time and threw away a golden chance to claim an impressive victory in a low scoring match. Fast forward to this weekend and the match couldn’t have been more different as the home side smashed a formidable 279 for 3 from just 41 overs, a record for an amount of runs conceded by any Pyestock side.
In truth it could have been different for the visiting side as early chances were not taken, especially in the form of number 3 Chamath Gunaratne, who made the fielders rue their mistakes as he plundered 118 not out in just 93 balls to form a solid base to the innings.
Earlier, in the innings it was Daryn Korkie who set the alarm bells ringing with a series of exquisite shots on his way to a classy 37, and looked in no danger whatsoever until he guided a rising ball from Chris Heath to Jack Bromley at gully.
In the 9th over, Pyestock suffered a blow as opening bowler Billy Leader was forced to limp from the game with a groin injury, forcing an early bowling change, and Worcester Park took full advantage with some heavy run scoring. Despite this, opener James Ezzard was living a charmed life with several edges bringing runs rather than wickets, while possessing an almost psychic ability to predict exactly where his stumps and opposition fielders were, in order to place shots agonisingly close to them.
Pyestock continued to plug away on a good pitch, offering little assistance as Gunaratne blazed away while Ezzard kept up the fielders spirits. In the 27th over, with the score already on 138 for 1, Ezzard finally holed out to substitute fielder Chris McGovern, for 32.
This brought Gurpreet Singh to the crease and the run rate immediately increased with a flurry of boundaries ruining the respective bowling figures of Glenn Taylor and Dan Heath, before Jon Ford also suffered the same fate, despite further half chances not falling the way of the fielding side. As the innings progressed, morale and enthusiasm dropped in the Pyestock ranks as the score shunted heavily past the 200 mark. Easy chances were now being missed and overthrows becoming more prevalent in a fielding performance that was way below usual standards.
Jay Threlfall was introduced into the attack and picked up just the third wicket of the day as Singh was bowled for an agricultural but extremely effective 73, Worcester Park thankful for the number 4’s rapid contribution that pushed the score into stratospheric proportions.
in the 41st and final over, Gunaratne, who had already secured a classy century added to the ignominy by passing Haslemere CC’s total of 271 for 9, the previous highest score conceded by Pyestock CC, back in 2002.
The scoreboard finally came to rest on 279 for 3, with the most pragmatic evaluation coming from wicket-keeper Vaughan Newcombe who stated positively that a win would also see a club record run chase.
Pyestock took to the crease with regular openers Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor, without the added pressure of a limited overs match, meaning a draw could be attained should they not be bowled out, but from just the second ball of the innings, Ford pushed at Kerrie Ryan’s full ball and was caught by Yanesh Bhanushali.
Bhanushali claimed a wicket of his own 5 overs later as he caught Jack Bromley off his own bowling to reduce Pyestock to 32 for 2, still 247 runs from victory. Captain Chris Heath’s decision to push Jay Threlfall up the order however paid dividends as he combined brutally with Taylor to form a rapid partnership of 64 before Taylor was caught at square leg by Gunaratne. Billy Leader, assisted by the running of the earlier departed Ford continued the positive approach before and after Threlfall was bowled by Matt Saunders, as Pyestock remained in the match, and as the final 20 overs clicked in, all three results were possible with Pyestock needing 144 runs with 6 wickets remaining.
Unfortunately, for what would have been a great finale for the neutral Leader holed out at mid-on whilst Vaughan Newcombe was stumped from the nagging slow bowling of captain David Stemp, who set intelligent fields to both his and his other bowlers as Pyestock began to become strangled by the ever increasing run rate.
Batsmen Dan Heath and Pete Harris eventually gave in to the chase with around eleven overs left and drew the shutters down for the draw. There was no way through for the Worcester Park bowlers as neither Pyestock player could be budged, and when Dan heath dispatched Stemp for a flat six from the penultimate ball, handshakes were offered in a well spirited, but tough encounter, especially in the field, for both sides. 477 runs were scored for the loss of just nine wickets over the two innings despite Pyestock retreating into a shell for the final quarter of their innings, meant a result was unlikely, and the draw, Pyestock’s first of the season gratefully accepted by skipper Chris Heath at the close of play.