By Jon Ford
Bagshot 146-9 (43 overs) beat Pyestock 135ao (30.3 overs) by 11 runs
Pyestock’s visit to Bagshot Park contained highlights including an 8 wicket haul for Dan Heath and a half-century for captain Neil Butler. But ultimately cagey Bagshot captain Neil Harris proved too smart for the Pyestock batting line-up.
Going into the match, on paper Pyestock were on a two month unbeaten run. However, that didn’t mean very much, as it included several rained-off and drawn games. The Pyestock team were also missing key players, but they were helped out by very special guest appearances from Peper Harow [sic] captain Steve Bradley and Aldershot’s Nepalese international (U11) Kas Limbu.
The start of the game was delayed by the Bagshot colts section’s end of season awards. This seemed to drag on and eventually the Pyestock players realised that every Bagshot youngster must be getting an award. Fortunately, local MP Michael Gove was not in attendance as he would no doubt have clamped down on this dangerously socialist approach to youth sport.
Eventually the game got underway. Bowling first on a green wicket, the Pyestock opening bowlers Dan Heath and Billy Leader immediately found lateral movement. Dan struck first, with Rob Medlock offering a tame edge to Tom Threlfall.
Taz Ishak then managed to edge the ball through various areas of the slips off Billy, without offering a chance. However, Dan was the next to strike, when G Young drilled a tough catch to Jay Threlfall at mid-off.
Billy was to spectacularly bowl Phil Dawson, who left a ball that cut back up the hill. Once Taz was bowled by Dan for 20, Bagshot were floundering on 46-5.
It was left to Jason Skilton to aggressively attack the bowling, coming down the wicket and looking to hit boundaries. He made 24 before playing one shot too many and was caught behind by Tom off Dan’s bowling. That hard won wicket was Dan’s fifth. Captain Neil Butler was a little short of bowling options and at that point decided that Dan was going to bowl throughout the innings.
Meanwhile bespectacled Max Medlock batted carefully, making sure that his side used up the remaining overs. Guest Steve Bradley bowled his usual canny spell, conceding 1 run from 3 overs. He sensibly made sure he was taken off before the batsmen could get used to his bowling. Kas Limbu then came on and was also economical. Ironically, the runs were being conceded at Dan’s end, but he continued to pick up wickets.
A tired Dan had switched from seam to spin and then back again. He bowled Medlock for 48 and then took two tail-end wickets to end with figures of 22-7-67-8, the best this season for a Pysetock bowler. It was difficult to assess the strength of Bagshot’s total of 146-9, as the outfield was slow and conditions had looked tricky, although this might have just been down to the bowling.
In response, Pyestock got off to a poor start as bustling opening bowler Jason Skilton removed Jon Ford, Glenn Taylor and Billy Leader. Glenn and Billy both made promising starts of 16. However the apparently improving pitch could not be blamed for any of the dismissals.
Captain Neil Butler had chosen to bat at 5, and looked to hold the innings together. However, he did not have much help from the other batsmen. Pyestock rapidly fell to 51-5.
Neil Harris then introduced young leg spinner Josh Balcombe. The first ball Kas faced off him was swept for 2. But the next ball Kas was lured down the wicket and stumped. Tom was next to go, as he succumbed to a googly.
When Colin Butler and Chris McGovern both self-destructed against Neil Harris’s clever left arm slow bowling, Pyestock were well short of the target on 97-9. However, Pyestock had a hidden weapon, as a tired Dan had asked to be batted at number 11.
Neil and Dan batted judiciously, but also played scoring shots where possible. They soon started to close in on the target. However as is often the way, when Pyestock approached their target the game perhaps became more difficult. After Neil hit a four and a six off Harris in one over to take the deficit down to 11 runs, he aimed for another maximum. Unfortunately he didn’t quite time the shot, and was caught on the boundary.
Pyestock lost out in an entertaining match against always friendly opponents. While Pyestock might have been missing some middle order batsmen, in truth a little more application from anybody in the batting line-up might have got the team home. At least Dan can celebrate winning this season’s bowling trophy, although there are rumours that we may see an attempt from Neil Butler to take 9 wickets next week against Chobham.