Dan Heath claimed his 300th Pyestock CC wicket despite arriving late in this tense and exciting match up with Hartley Wintney CC this Sunday, which saw the visitors edge home by a mere 9 runs.
Despite claiming the milestone in his 19th season with the club, it was the home side’s opening bowler Mazar Toor, who wrote the early headlines by dismissing in-form batsmen Glenn Taylor for a golden duck with a beauty of a delivery that passed the bat and took the stumps in the third over with only a solitary single on the scoreboard.
Pyestock however didn’t panic, despite the over-reliance on Taylor in the previous few weeks, Jon Ford and Jack Bromley rebuilt well against the attack of Toor and the exotically named Sanzer De Vries. By the tenth over, the score had moved on to 32 for 1 as Ellis and Andrew Davies entered the attack.
On a sunny day, on a track built for batting, Ford and Bromley tried to cash in, and in a messy spell for the hosts, built up a formidable 50 runs in the next 5 overs before Bromley found the hands of captain Clint Mogridge at deep mid-off. Mogridge in fact redeeming himself for earlier putting down a similar effort.
This started the now traditional Pyestock CC “wobble” with Jon Ford (21), Colin Butler (3) and Pete Harris (0) all departing within the next 33 balls as the scoreline slipped to 98 for 5 and Pyestock staring at an non-competitive target.
Captain Neil Butler, scorer of only 11 runs so far in 2016, really played his part in the revival however and alongside emerging star Tom Threlfall, put on a crucial partnership of 38 before the skipper holed out, again to Mogridge, who by now was fully confident beneath the catches thanks to plenty of practice.
Threlfall however continued to play a solid innings however and despite losing debutant Andy Blay, built another solid partnership with Dan Heath, batting at 9 thanks to his late arrival. It was worth the wait, with the shackles off the 27 year old launched 5 fours and a huge maximum in a 17 ball cameo which brought 29 crucial runs before finding the safe hands of, you guessed it! Clint Mogridge, who no-doubt has had few busier days in the mid-off region.
Richard Eynon announced himself with a massive six over cover before he was cleaned up by the returning Toor, before last man Chris Heath fell in indentical fashion looking to add quick runs in the penultimate over, leaving the junior Threlfall stranded on 21 not out. The final total had reached 198. Pyestock were hoping for more and knew they would need to bowl well on a good batting wicket. Hartley Wintney felt happy with their efforts albeit, hoping the huge 43 extras bowled would not prove costly. Mazar Toor the pick of the bowling with an impressive 4 for 35.
After a fine tea, Chrsi Heath and Richard Eynon did a great job of effectively increasing their sides target with some ultra tight bowling that restricted opening batsmen Andrew Binns and Matthew Brown to to just eight runs from the opening 5 overs. Despite this prudence, the pair survived and began to increase the rate as Dan Heath and Neil Butler took over the ball.
In the 14th over, Dan Heath bowled the aggressive Binns, who seemed intent on winning the game as quickly as possible with an array of expansive shots, for 20 and in doing so, brought up the magical 300th wicket of his Pyestock career. He joins an elite club of Neil Butler, Norrie Short, plus father Paul and brother Chris who have all celebrated this feat.
Similar to the first innings, the wicket sparked a mini collapse, as John Puddifant was bowled by Butler, despite a huge LBW appeal, and Darnell, became the third wicket when good work from Jon Ford saw the number 4 run out.
The home side were under pressure, but the arrival of new batsmen Nair seemed to calm the nerves with a sequence of impressive drives as the run rate immediately increased. With Brown remaining solid and calm at the other end, this was a partnership that required breaking should Pyestock harbour any intentions of victory.
Pyestock’s concerns were growing as the hard hitting Nair continued his rampage, but in the 24th over the loudest cheer of the day came as a quicker, flatter ball from Heath found the feint edge of Nair’s willow and was brilliantly snaffled by Tom Threlfall, standing up to the stumps in order to prevent the batsman advancing at the bowler. It was exactly the breakthrough that was needed and when replacement Charlie Puddifant was stumped by hero Threlfall just two balls later, Pyestock became firm favourites at 94 for 5.
In yet another twist however, Captain Clint Mogridge refused to lie down without a fight and added a stubborn 34 to his sides cause before being run out by the quick thinking Colin Butler with the score increased to 146.
Jack Bromley and Glenn Taylor, shared 11 wicketless overs between them that leaked 58 runs as fingernails began to be bitten across the green. Pyestock reacted by re-introducing Chris Heath and Richard Eynon to the attack, at opposite ends to their previous measly spells.
Whilst the change did not seem to bother Eynon, Heath struggled to prevent runs flowing, and opener Brown brought up his dogged half century as the home side desperately etched out every possible run. with 3 overs remaining Hartley Wintney required 30 runs. Another expensive over from Heath kept the match alive, but the opener did gain some solice with a towering caught and bowled from a mistimed Brown pull, the mainstay departing for a grounded 56 from 98 balls.
22 runs were required from 12 balls, but a superb over from Eynon leaked just 3 runs as Davies and Ellis struggled, leaving Chris Heath the task to claim 2 wickets or restrict the hosts to less than 19 runs. When the first ball disappeared for 4, a few nervous glances were exchanged in the visiting ranks, however just 1 further boundary and a leg-bye saw Pyestock squeeze to victory by 9 runs.
It was yet another close match at the famous old Hartley Wintney ground, and the second consecutive victory over their hosts for Pyestock CC. Close games are always the best.
A good win, and hard working performance at Hartley Wintney, a fair result in your opinion?
I think overall, Pyestock deserved their victory this weekend.
A slight improvement in the batting department this week, considering how the runs were distributed, Do you agree?
It was good to see the runs being distributed between most batsmen this week. At least we know we can rely on other people if our run scorers fail
Dan Heath took his 300th wicket on Sunday, despite his year being hampered with injury problems. Do you feel he is now back to his best with the leg spin option he provides?
Congratulations to Dan, a fine achievement, I feel spin options at our level are always important as batsmen don’t always anticipate the flight and turn as well as they should.
Meanwhile, Chris Heath seems to be struggling to take wickets lately with only 4 in the last 5 matches and only 12 all season. Where do you think his problems lie?
I’m not a left arm bowler, so cannot say how easy/difficult it is, however I am confident that Chris will soon return to taking wickets, to have taken over 400 wickets for the club means you have to have a certain amount going for you.
Do you think anyone has yet guessed your identity? Whats the secret to maintaining the mystery?
I dont know if anyone knows who I am, I have given yet another clue above but we will wait to the end of the season to find out, unless anyone is brave enough to take a guess! 😀