Securing back to back wins is a feat that has eluded Pyestock CC so far in an inconsistent season, that is until this weeks enjoyable 37 run victory at Long Ditton CC, which also saw Glenn Taylor smash his 4,000th run for the club in just his 89th innings.
Batting first against Captain Chris Heath’s wishes, Jon Ford and Taylor set about building a target on a green wicket which proved lively in the early stages as Ollie Leaning and Chris Neely shaded the early overs. The wicket did not support short bowling however and this was evidenced with a lot of the early runs being pulled into the leg side by Taylor, looking for 79 runs to reach the magical 4,000 target.
By the ninth over, Pyestock had amassed 39, but Leaning, who had admittedly had the better of Ford in the majority of the innings so far, forced the opener to inside edge onto his stumps, giving the home side their first breakthrough of the afternoon.
Iain Carter replaced Neely who was perhaps struggling to find his length and almost immediately sent Chris McGovern packing with the timbers disturbed once again. By this time, Taylor was well on his way to his third half century of the season, and the remaining 29 runs firmly in his sights. New partner Billy Leader providing adequate back-up as the score passed into three figures in the 20th over. However with the final ball before the drinks break, Taylor was adjudged LBW and departed for 82, having successfully reached his target and becoming the 5th Pyestock player to reach the milestone.
The wicket of the dominating Taylor, allowed Long Ditton to gain a foothold in the game and the run-rate slowed considerably as the bowlers regained control. Felix Williams continued the momentum as Leader was strangled down the leg side and a feathered edge was well taken by namesake Stephen behind the stumps, and once Pete Harris was bowled for 7, Pyestock were suddenly found 113 for 5, with 15 overs remaining.
This sudden clatter of wickets allowed Dan Heath to the crease, a luxury at number 7 thanks to Pyestock’s flexible batting options. the all rounder saw off the threat of Williams before attacking the bowling of replacements Oli Carter and Imogen Neely.
Despite the composed nature of the 26 year old innings, the visitors were continuing to have issues at the other end. Bromley was sucked into charging Carter, who’s clever flight deceived the Pyestock number 5, a quick stumping ending his innings, whilst Neely accounted for Tom Threlfall (4), Colin Butler (0) and Richard Eynon (3), the latter after a superb catch by Tom Leaning.
This left Pyestock on a below par 157 for 9, however a hurried, useful partnership of 23 from the last 19 balls hoisted the away side to 180 from the allotted 40 overs, with Chris Heath ably supporting brother Dan, but unable to get him to his half century, finishing unbeaten on 46.
Pyestock started confidently in defence of their total, with Richard Eynon opening the bowling for the first time since 2009, and made an immediate breakthrough as Danny Cheema was trapped LBW in the 3rd over, and once Jack Bromley had accounted for Paul Sweeney two overs later thanks to a superb low catch by Chris McGovern, Long Ditton found themselves 14 for 2.
Eynon continued to bowl tightly and conceded only 16 runs in a measly 8 over spell, as John Parkins and Chris Neely stabilised their sides chase with patient and sensible batting.
In a bid to test the waters, Dan Heath was introduced to the attack to provide the first spin of the innings, and although generally unsuccessful with 14 runs conceded in just two overs, the nagging partnership worth 44 was broken as Parkins was bowled for 31.
This wicket brought Tom Leaning to the crease, who immediately looked to move the scoreboard along with an array of large leg side shots. Captain Chris Heath coming in for the most punishment before adjusting his line to negate the number 5’s favourite shot. As the runs flowed, Leanings confidence grew and the shots became more outlandish, before one heave too many saw Billy Leader end the entertaining innings with a swinging delivery that shaved the bail on its way through the batsmen.
Stephen Williams came to the crease, and showed a more reserved temperament as Long Ditton once again looked to rebuild, however a needless run-out once again forced the home side onto the back foot. Chris Neely, who had been playing the skippers role so well with a composed unbeaten 26, pushed a straight ball from Leader down the ground to the waiting Glenn Taylor, who had played no more than a supporting role in the field thanks to a finger injury. Perhaps underestimating the ability of Taylor, due to his relative non-involvement, Neely and Williams completed an easy single, and looked to steal a second run. Neely left his crease as the Pyestock fielder suddenly whistled the ball in, Williams panicked and sent his captain back, but to no avail as a direct hit saw Neely short of the ground he had already made once and Long Ditton lost their 5th wicket.
Despite the frenetic run out, Long Ditton could rightly consider themselves in the game with 89 runs required from 15 overs and Williams and Iain Carter continued the momentum taking the hosts into triple figures. A fine catch by Pete Harris in the 28th over saw Carter depart for 8 however Pyestock were still required to work hard as the match was not won.
The breaking point came with the reintroduction of Dan Heath who had ditched his spin fingers and started to use the remaining life in the pitch to give the home batsmen cause to jump around, and in a terrific spell of bowling, Long Ditton’s chase became more futile with each over that passed. 133 for 6 became 143 all out as four wickets for the all rounder finished the match in a blur. First Ollie Leaning was caught by Colin Butler after skying high into the covers before a double snaffling by Chris Heath saw the end of the dogged Williams and Imogen Neely. The best catch of all was saved for last when a strong drive from last man Oli Carter was plucked out of the sky one handed by (the quite frankly startled) Richard Eynon.
A close game of cricket was at an end and Pyestock just about deserved their victory. The match will be remembered for Glenn Taylor passing 4,000 runs, however man-of-the-match was reserved for Dan Heath who returned 46 not out and 5 for 22.
A hard earned an satisfying win this week at Long Ditton. Did you feel Pyestock were good value for the win?
Pyestock deserved the win in my eyes, we are starting to get good form now, The Pyestock win was clear from quite early on, from what I could see.
With Glenn Taylor passing 4000 runs and Dan Heath a little over 100 away, can you see a friendly rivalry developing between the pair, especially as both are currently in good form?
I can see that Glenn and Dan having a friendly rivalry, perhaps the website should be updated with the 2 players runs on a weekly basis.
Pyestock are missing Neil Butler, Richard Eynon and Tom Threlfall for next weeks match at Aldershot CC. How do you feel Pyestock can best fill the holes left by these 3 big names.
I trust Hollywood (Chris McGovern – team organiser) to fill the holes in the side with good quality players for the crucial grudge match this weekend.