With a hugely valiant and gutsy performance, Badshot Lea CC so nearly produced one of the greatest shocks in either their own, or Pyestock CC’s history this Sunday, as with only eight men, forced there visitors onto the back foot for large periods of an entertaining match.
Forced to bat first after winning the toss thanks to no fewer than four of his troops “missing in action” Badshot Lea skipper Sam Acres opened with Josh Menzies, as Pyestock sensed easy pickings, but an out of sorts Dan Heath conceded 17 runs from his first two overs to give the home side the initiative.
Hastily replaced, Heath watched on as Jack Bromley helped himself to the wicket of Acres before Chris Heath bowled Goodi and somehow found the glove of youngster Jack Addison from an awkward looking shot.
At 33 for 3, suddenly Badshot Lea were tottering, and remarkably only 3 wickets from being bowled out, however the arrival of an eighth player, along with a timely partnership from experienced heads Chris Minassian and Tim Gray, following Menzies dismissal by Glenn Taylor, brought the home side some much needed rest-bite.
In what proved to be a profitable middle to the innings, Taylor, and Jon Ford were unable to find their usual lengths and were shown no sympathy by the batting pair who exploited the full balls and short boundary to maximum effect.
With 50 effortless runs added within just 5 overs, skipper Chris Heath turned to Dan Heath (with a change of end and action) and Jay Threlfall in a bid to regain some control, composure, and more importantly break the impressive stand being built by the well set Minassian and Gray, and in the 24th over Threlfall beat the defences of Minassian to again prove his value with the ball.
The partnership was worth 86, and had propelled Badshot Lea to 141 with 3 wickets again remaining, although in the spirit of friendly cricket an on-field agreement had been reached to allow 13 year old Addison bat a second time at makeshift number 9, and the youngster was soon thrown back into the action as Heath bowled R.Pearson, and the returning Chris Heath picked up the prized wicket of Gray with a leg side delivery that deflected off the batsmen’s pads, and onto the stumps for a top-scoring 57.
It was up to rarely used Colin Butler to bowl 11 balls of decent line and length to dismiss Addison for a second time as Badshot Lea closed all out on 176 for 8. Pyestock felt confident that this was a reachable target considering the extra gaps in the field that should allow for additional runs to be acquired, and this theory paid immediate dividends as Jon ford dispatched Sam Acres very first ball to the cover boundary to set the chase up perfectly.
Acres responded however, with a fine spell of bowling and removed both Ford and Glenn Taylor with two successful LBW appeals. in a real purple patch for the home side, Tim Gray folled up his earlier half century with an economic spell that also took the wicket of Tom Threlfall before Acres claimed his third wicket by bowling the senior Threlfall, and leaving Pyestock 30 for 4.
Suddenly in the initiative, Badshot Lea rallied and their spirits were further lifted as Josh Menzies rattled the timbers of pate Harris, leaving Vaughan Newcombe and Jack Bromley to pick up the pieces. despite the frequent fall of wickets, Pyestock required only 124 from 22 overs, and with plenty of experience down the order, were certainly not out of the match. A three-over spell from R.Pearson leaked 40 runs as both batsmen filled their boots, until Newcombe was bowled for a rampant 38.
Colin Butler joined Bromley, who was batting patiently but positively in what will go down as one of his finest innings for the club, and brought up his half century in the 28th over as the pendulum began to swing in the away sides favour.
Butler contributed a healthy 20 not out but it was Bromley who aptly hit the winning runs from Josh Menzies and bring up Pyestock’s fifth victory of the season with 33 balls remaining, despite finishing on the losing side, however the majority of plaudits must head towards Badshot Lea, who stuck to their task and pushed their visitors all the way despite the reduction in numbers and made the match a lot closer than it probably should have been on paper.