By Chris Heath
Pyestock CC bounced back to winnings ways with a gritty but well deserved victory over Chobham CC this Sunday.
Welcoming back Chris Heath, Jack Bromley and Pete Harris, there was a more familiar look to the side, but Glenn Taylor (holiday) and Vaughan Newcombe (having a lazy-day competing at the great north run) were missing, Taylor Newcombe completed the eleven.
The day started with disappointment as news filtered through that Newcombe had failed to beat winner Mo Farah to the finishing post, but looked to set aside this anguish by starting well against Chobham’s opening batsmen Nick Jackman and Simon Meadowcroft.
In the third over of the game, sharp return from bowler Chris Heath almost produced the first wicket if the day as Meadowcroft, who had set out for a quick single was sent back by Jackman making his ground by inches.
This confusion between the batsmen continued throughout an eventful first 16 overs as the pair seemed to lack the understanding to run simply between with wickets with Jackman frequently lambasting his partner, clearly frustrated by the troubles they were finding themselves in.
It was no real surprise then however that the first wicket fell to a run out, in comical circumstances. Taylor Newcombe’s ball was skied by Meadowcroft, and although an in-rushing Jon Ford spilled the catch, Chris McGovern reacted fastest to run-out the beleaguered batsmen, who may have made his ground had he not hesitated as the catch was dropped.
The breakthrough was a relief for the visitors, although the departing batsmen had scored just 14 of the 62 compiled runs, the hard work continued with new face Ryan Cawley immediately looking composed at the crease.
The half way stage saw Chobham well on top at 93 for 1 and the runs continued after the drinks break as the hosts moved past 100. The pair seemed incredibly composed and it was therefore quite a surprise in the 24th over when Cawley drove loosely at a wide ball from Jack Bromley and was caught superbly by Jon Ford, making up for his earlier error.
Jay Thelfall was introduced to the attack and managed to take the wicket that had eluded the four previous bowlers, by removing Jackman for a powerful 64, thus reducing Chobham to 134 for 3, but the tide refused to turn as Brent Peal and captain Ian Crook continued to score runs at a healthy rate.
Jon Ford was introduced for his first appearance with the ball for 5 matches and although expensive did manage to break the 77 run partnership in the 36th over as Peal was clean bowled, and with 24 balls of the innings remaining, Chobham were looking well set for a huge total on 211 for 4.
However in a collapse that reminded many Pyestock players of their own downfall at Peper Harow, a remarkable 6 further wickets went down for just 12 runs as Neil Butler and Chris Heath ran riot in the final overs and although collating wickets for fun, the true hero was cover fielder Chris McGovern who claimed two catches and a second run out, dismissing Marcus Del Vecchio from the final ball of the innings. Pyestock required 224 for victory.
The chase was started by Jon Ford who was partnered by Jack Bromley in the absence of the destructive Glenn Taylor, but any thoughts of missing the season’s highest run scorer were soon put to bed with a superb attacking performance from the pair which yielded 43 runs from the opening 8 overs, prompting Chobham to unleash the pace of Ryan Cawley. The added zip however did not curtail the run rate as Pyestock pulled clear of their hosts in comparison to the same stage in the previous innings.
In the 13th over, the home side took their first wicket as Jack Bromley was adjudged LBW from Mudasir Arif to a ball which saw Bromley advance down the track. This bewildered the batsmen who gazed at the umpire and eventually trudged to the pavilion. In truth the ball had kept low and if straight could not have been missing the stumps.
Chris McGovern joined Ford at the crease and the new pairing continued the good start. The number 3, who had only scored 3 Pyestock runs in a season blighted with unavailability, suddenly produced immaculate form and helped push his side over the 100 mark in the 20th over.
This trend continued until the 23rd over when Ford, fresh from celebrating his second half century of the season faintly edged a ball from captain Ian Crook into the hands of wicketkeeper Martin Evans who took a good reaction catch.
This started a revival of fortunes for Chobham who looked to regain a level of control to the match and introduced Billy Crook and Nick Jackman into the attack. The change paid immediate dividends as Dan Heath (8) was caught trying to attack, before McGovern’s superb innings of 41 from 48 deliveries also ended when caught in the covers.
Chris Heath also perished for 8 in the 30th over leaving Pyestock needing 66 runs from just 62 balls. New pair Pete Harris and Colin Butler (neither of which had faced a ball) set to work in an ever increasing challenge.
The approach of safety first and attack where possible worked well with Harris gifting most of the strike to Butler who masterfully took Chris Hopkins first over for 11 before the same fate met Jackman’s fifth over. Suddenly Pyestock required just 26 runs from the final 6 overs.
Predictably however and worryingly for Neil Butler’s side, the sun set over the picturesque church at the side of the pitch and the light grew poor. Hampering both sets of players, the match was still in the balance. The 36th over saw Harris bowled, and replacement Jay Threlfall caught to give Jackman a five wicket haul, however his work was not done. Pyestock had scrambled over 200 but we’re now just 3 wickets and 4 overs from defeat.
Taylor Newcombe joined Butler in the ever increasing gloom, and between them, contributed to exactly the sort of over required by the visitors as clever placement and fast running between the wickets delivered 12 runs from the 37th over, and 8 in the 38th, despite Newcombe falling on her sword, caught at mid off after an expansive drive.
Young Tom Threlfall became Butler’s fourth partner of the afternoon and with 2 overs left required just 3 runs thanks to the earlier heroics. A couple is singles brought the scores level in the 39th over and with 3 balls remaining Butler squeezed through a single to win an enthralling match.
Nick Jackman finished with 6 for 34 to match his 64 runs, but for Pyestock, Colin Butler ended unbeaten on 47, his highest of the season, only eclipsed by the man of the moment, who with a great batting and fielding performance proved vital to the victory. Chris McGovern, had led the way in securing his side’s 9th win of the season.