Pyestock’s inconsistent season once again threw up a surprise as Crane CC successfully defended a modest 149 on a difficult wicket to win by 23 runs this weekend.
Returning Captain Neil Butler, playing his first match since 15 May, lost the toss but with Crane opting to bat first, managed to have his wish granted as Chris Heath and Richard Eynon were unleashed with the new ball.
Opening batsmen Chaz Virdee and Wahid Butt needed to be in a watchful mood as the dry, patchy and unpredictable wicket produced some unplayable balls with bounce varying wildly, both batsmen soon scuttled to the boundary for protective headgear.
Eynon struck in his first over as Wahid was struck low on the pad leaving the umpire no choice, while at the other end Virdee was slowly getting to grips with Heath with some punishing drives to the boundary.
Eynon doubled his wicket haul in the 6th over as Virdee edged behind to Tom Threlfall, before also cleaning up Yasir Butt and Mitul Bathih, to leave the visitors 71 for 4.
Dan Heath replaced older brother Chris and picked up the wicket of Romy Sharma before Eynon completed his wonderful 5 wicket haul by bowling Harjeevan Gill as the away side looked in trouble at 75 for 6.
At the other end however, Mohit Mashar, who had already pummelled 87 the very first time these sides met in 2012, was looking a class above his teammates, with a high level of concentration and sensible stroke play setting him apart.
Mashar was dropped by an on-rushing Chris Heath on his way to an otherwise deserved half century as the number 3 found a solid partner in Hardeep Gill and Crane started to recover from their perilous position.
It was a seventh wicket partnership worth 70 as Dan Heath, Jack Bromley and Jay Threlfall toiled. Gill would adequately relinquish the strike to allow Mashar to attack and push the run rate on. In the end it was Threlfall who claimed the prize wicket as Mashar fell into the trap set with Glenn Taylor taking a good catch on the mid-wicket boundary and suddenly Pyestock had made the breakthrough and the Crane innings began to fall away once again.
Gill soon followed for a patient 22 as Dan Heath began to take the wickets his efforts deserved with John Watts (0) and Richie Ramkisson (0) falling quickly to end the innings on 149 with the leg spinner eventually claiming 4 for 40, but it was Eynon early 5 for 34 that proved the headline act with Pyestock the more confident side at the tea interval.
To gain victory however would not be easy on a wicket that was continuing to misbehave. Yasir Butt and Hardeep Gill ensured the hosts knew they were not in for a simple run chase as tight bowling saw just 7 runs added in the first 6 overs that included Jon Ford returning to the pavilion scoreless, trapped LBW by Yasir.
The impressive opening bowler was not finished however as his 6th over accounted for both Jack Bromley (12) and Tom Threlfall (0) as Pyestock fell to 40 for 3.
Meanwhile, the in-form Glenn Taylor was continuing his purple patch with the bat as he terrorised the bowling on his was to another imposing innings.
As is proving all to often however, no one could manage to stay with the opener as Pete Harris and Neil Butler both succumbed to balls which stayed very low on the ever deteriorating track before Romy Sharma cleaned up Colin Butler and Jay Threlfall as Pyestock collapsed to 116 for 7.
In the 24th over the match changing moment arrived as Ramkisson broke the defences of Taylor and the opener was gone for an impressive 76. Suddenly the nervousness set in and the runs dried up. Richard Eynon was run out leaving final pair Dan and Chris Heath requiring 26 runs from 11 overs.
Needing to stay in, Chris negotiated an over of leg-spin from Harjeevan Gill before Ramkisson ended the contest as Dan Heath was adjudged LBW attempting a reverse sweep leaving Pyestock 23 runs short and the need to reflect on a batting performance which saw only 2 players reaching double figures.
For Crane it was a deserved victory and one enjoyed in the true spirit of Sunday cricket. Mohit Mashar’s 60 runs and composure brought to the crease bought his side the time needed to attack the brittle Pyestock batting order, whilst Glenn Taylor, who has now scored 282 runs in 3 weeks will be screaming for the kind of support provided by Hardeep Gill in the impressive 7th wicket stand for the visitors.
Pyestock move on to face Hartley Wintney next Sunday (31st July) with a 2pm start.
Inconsistent batting once again from Pyestock CC?
Once again only a couple of players reached double figures on Sunday. 2 i believe. This cannot continue if Pyestock want to start a run of results. As Sunday showed, we cannot rely on just 1 or 2 players every week.
Do you feel the lack of practice attributes to so many players not batting to their potential?
I don’t think so as apart from Fordy and Glenn, The order from 3 downwards changes every week, and the way we are batting at the moment everyone is getting a chance to spend time at the crease this year.
Dan and Richard contributed 9 wickets between them and Glenn 76 runs with the bat. How did you rate their performances?
Dan and Richard bowled really well at the weekend. Richard found the length where the wicket helped him remove 5 of the Crane batsmen and Dan used the turning track to his advantage to take 4 wickets. Both were worth a mention in the highlights. Glenn’s batting is just Glenns batting. He just goes out there and gets the innings off to a flyer and in the right direction. Its just a shame that one of the rest of us couldn’t help him get us home.
Does this show that individual success does not bring sustained success and a team effort is required?
As I may have said before, we know that we have been struggling in the batting department this year. Yes Glenn got a hundred last week, but as a team we need to do more to support our in-form batsmen. I don’t currently see a problem with our bowling, and our fielding is considerably improved from the first couple of weeks of the season, but our batting is letting us down time and time again and it needs to change if we are going to build on results achieved 2 or 3 weeks ago.