A last minute change in the fixture list saw Pyestock make the lengthy journey to picturesque and curiously named Widmer End St Margaret’s CC this weekend, but an indifferent performance resulted in a second straight defeat.
Winning the toss (for the first time in seven attempts), stand in Captain Chris Heath elected to bowl first on a wet pitch that looked likely to dry as the afternoon wore on. It looked like the correct decision as the skipper himself claimed an early wicket as Russell could only find the leading edge as the ball slowed off the wet pitch, allowing Chris McGovern a straightforward catch.
Early pressure was in abundance as Heath and Richard Eynon toiled, however opener Wright was more than happy to free his arms at every opportunity which although brought runs, also offered chances as a caught and bowled chances fell agonisingly out of reach before a “chinese-cut” past the stumps had the batsman sweating.
At the other end, Wright was soon on his way after a cautious start as Eynon found a regulation edge through to wicket keeper Tom Threlfall. The home side were 34 for 2.
Captain John Hatt steadied the ship superbly as Wright began to find his rhythm, despite a strong appeal for LBW, but more regular trips to the boundary saw the run rate began to increase. Pyestock juggled their bowlers in an attempt to break an already worrying partnership, and despite 27 runs being smashed from just 10 balls, the double change of Jay Threlfall and Glenn Taylor did the trick as the latter bowled Wright, who swung hard at a double bouncing delivery that really should have been dealt with better.
In a bizarre twist, replacement Parsons also succumbed to the “bouncing bomb” as Threlfall proved that anything his bowling partner could do, he could do better. The flies on the wall of the home dressing room must have been treated to some choice words as both batsmen evaluated their dismissals.
At 97 for 4 Pyestock had found a way back into the game and a tight period of good bowling and smart fielding reduced the run rate to around 4 an over, although the captain dropped a stinging chance to remove Hatt before both Taylor and Threlfall were removed from the attack.
The reintroduced Dan Heath and Jack Bromley maintained the pressure despite not finding any breakthrough as the innings meandered into its latter stages. It appeared that the home side were to post a total of around 170, however the expected onslaught of the final few overs did not materialise as Chris Heath and Jay Threlfall picked up late wickets to manage the death bowling superbly. Pyestock were set a target of 154 from their allotted 40 overs.
Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor started well against the opening bowling of Talmer and D.Parsons, who used his experience to control Ford, while Taylor attacked the pace of Talmer who lost his way a little after a promising start. With the run rate hovering at around 6 an over there appeared to be little troubling the visitors as the target moved to less than 100 runs away.
The introduction of j.Wyatt to the attack was met with disdain by Taylor who deposited his first ball over the rope for six, but just 4 balls later, the opener was gone, bowled as the bowler exacted the perfect revenge, and once Wyatt had also claimed Ford, to an LBW decision that the batsman venomously claimed he had hit into his pad, Pyestock found themselves 63 for 2.
Tom Threlfall and Jack Bromley attempted to resurrect the chase however the clever Parsons claimed a deserved wicket in his final over as Threlfall was caught behind for 3 by wicket-keeper John Hatt. The skipper was in the middle of the innings most talked about moment 3 overs later as new batsman Colin Butler found himself on the end of a huge appeal for caught behind. The evidence seemed clear but neither Butler nor the umpire were convinced, leading to confused faces amongst the home faithful. Butler surrendered his wicket in a sporting act, however in a greater moment of amicability, Butler was called back, to much applause and respect from the Pyestock contingent. A true moment for Sunday cricket to be proud of.
Wyatt claimed the wickets of Bromley and Pete Harris immediately after the drinks break as the cracks started to appear in the Pyestock batting order, and when Butler became the third wicket in seven balls (inevitably caught behind, and walking!) Pyestock were still 61 runs from victory, and the motion of batting second on a drying wicket wiped away with persistent and frustrating drizzle, which lowed up the pitch and outfield.
Dan Heath, again a luxury at number 7 provided brief hope of a resurgence with a crisp boundary to mark his arrival, but was bowled by C.Russell for just 5 to further lengthen the odds of a visiting side victory. Richard Eynon joined Jay Threlfall at the crease and the pair made inroads into the remaining chunk of runs required, especially Threlfall who had taken a liking to both Russell and C.Parsons with some powerful strokes finding the boundary. Eynon however soon holed out to leave Pyestock 123 for 8 with nine overs remaining.
Chris McGovern, batting at ten due to a knee injury sustained while fielding provided extra hope of a now unlikely victory but was adjudged LBW whilst trying to attack Russell left Pyestock down the final pairing of Threlfall and Chris Heath. The number eight had plundered 25 impressive runs and had the bit firmly between his teeth with determination to become Pyestock’s hero. It wasn’t to be however, as a moment of sheer brilliance brought an end to the chase, and the match as a powerfully driven ball looked set to bring up Threlfalls fifth boundary before a fully forward dive from Talmer at extra cover plucked the exocet from an inch above the wet grass. It was an outstanding catch, and a fitting way to end any match. Pyestock had fallen from 60 without loss to 134 all out to lose by 19 runs, however new friends were made and with the game played in a true competitive yet friendly style it is hoped this will not be the last visit to Widmer End St Margarets CC.
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