Pyestock’s seven match win-loss sequence was broken this Sunday with a hard earned draw with Bagshot CC at the weekend.
It was a result that had long been the favourite outcome thanks to some impressive attrional cricket by both sides but a barnstorming finale from Dan Heath and Colin Butler almost stole the unlikeliest of victories for the home side.
Using the facilities at Aldershot CC at short notice allowed for a timed match that the hosts would have been thankful for given the impressive bowling performance by the visitors.
After losing the toss, Chris Heath and Jack Bromley set about their work on a soft wicket offering little pace, and both opening batsmen cashed in adding 20 runs in the opening 4 overs.
In the 5th over Pyestock were handed their first wicket as lacklustre running by Stuart Derry saw Chris McGovern claim an excellent run-out. The batsmen should have done better running to what was always the danger end.
George Young and Mark Dawson looked to recover from this early set back and an array of exuberant shots kept the run rate high, but the fielders interested.
In the tenth over Bromley struck twice, to remove the aggressive Young, and replacement Rick Medlock to reduce the away side to 56 for 3. Good catches taken by Dan Heath and wicket-keeper Tom Threlfall.
Threlfall and bowler Bromley thought they had teamed up successfully again shortly afterwards, as a quicker delivery seemed to display all the hallmarks of a wicket as Dawson played positively to a ball that ended up in the youngsters gloves. Celebrations were cut short by a static umpire and batsmen.
Unlike last weeks controversy at Lower Earley in similar circumstances, Dawson make the hosts pay for this apparent mis-justice and continued to score heavily against the Pyestock bowlers. Together with Matthew Funnell and Jason Skilton breathed new life into the Bagshot innings.
The partnership between Dawson and Skilton had reached 69 by the 30th over before the latter sliced the ball to Chris Heath at backward point to end his innings for 39. Jay Threlfall claimed his first wicket of the day.
Captain Neil Butler introduced himself to the attack in the 35th over and a lean spell costing 6 runs in 3.4 overs first yielded the wicket of M.Medlock sparking a true collapse within the Bagshot ranks. The number 7 proving to be the first of four wickets to fall for just 6 runs as Neil Harris’ side crumbled to 180 for 9. The flurry of wickets caught Harris himself on the hop down at number 11, and rather than padding up, announced his sides declaration a smidgen before the agreed cut off time.
In response Pyestock were up against experienced Jonathan Atkinson and the youth of Jason Skilton. The decision to open with spin proved a sensible one on a turning and drying wicket, as the pair kept the shackles truly on Pyestock in a very impressive start.
Despite their best efforts Jon Ford and Chris McGovern just could not get the ball away and mustered just six runs from the opening seven overs. In a true testament to the skill of the bowling, Pyestock were already turning their attentions to the draw rather than harbour any hopes of victory despite the less than massive target and Chris McGovern, who totalled an impressive 38 dot balls in his 45 ball innings, eventually charged Atkinson in the 17th over and was stumped for 17.
Replacement Jack Bromley fared little better taking 20 balls to get off the mark and at the start of the final hour, Pyestock had accumulated just 64 runs in 25 overs.
By now Josh Balcome was operation from the crematorium end of the ground with some vicious leg-spin and in the 26th over, made Jon Ford his first victim. Ford, who was coping better than others bowled for an impressive 40 of Pyestock’s 64 runs.
Captain Neil Harris deceived Bromley in the next over as M.Medlock took the catch behind the stumps, and when Pete Harris was stumped 3 overs later, Pyestock were staring at a crushing defeat.
Colin Butler and Dan Heath united at the crease and continued the policy of survival as the overs clicked down. With 10 overs remaining Pyestock were 86 for 4 still 95 from victory. The chase was approaching hopeless and the shutters firmly pulled down. But with Bagshot needing the final 6 wickets for victory (the beauty of time cricket) gambled significantly with bowling and fielding decisions alike.
Confident in the notion that even Pyestock couldn’t lose 6 wickets (OK 5 as only 10 players took to the field) in 5 overs, the mood suddenly changed. With Bagshot utilising some of their more “part time” bowling options, Butler and Heath saw the opportunity to pull of the great heist. 76 runs were required from 30 deliveries, and the runs started flow in what became a marvelous display of exhibition hitting.
Defying all the difficulties encountered by batsmen up until this point, the pair smashed 16 runs from the next three overs, but better was yet to come. George Young’s solitary over was hammered for 22 by the unforgiving Heath, and the score moved to 144 for 4, 37 from victory with 12 balls left. By this point a panicking Bagshot decided to reintroduce opener Skilton to put an end to the alarming Pyestock resurgence but in the 44th over it was Butlers turn to excite the viewers and cast further doubts in Bagshot minds. With 18 runs added, Pyestock were sensationally just 19 runs from victory with 6 balls remaining. Panicked glances at the scoreboard were two a plenty within the visiting ranks as fellow opening bowler Atkinson was bundled hurriedly back into the attack.
It worked. The experience of the spinner capturing the advancing Heath off guard as Medlock took his 3rd stumping of the game.
With 4 balls remaining, Tom Threlfall was obviously unable to continue the siege and Pyestock finished 15 runs short of what would have been a famous victory, with Colin Butler notching his first half century since 2013 in the closing stages. The relieved faces of the Bagshot fielders, nine of which were stationed on the boundary told it’s own story. Pyestock scored 44 runs in the final 3 overs but in ensuring the draw, left themselves just too much to do. Credit to Bagshot for opening the game up in search of the win, a situation only time cricket can provide, this match was a victory for the format despite no victors being found.
An entertaining match with Bagshot CC. Are you satisfied with a draw as a result considering that Pyestock CC played with 10 men?
I think a draw was a fair result as Pyestock were missing Glenn Taylor, Billy Leader and Richard Eynon. With only 10 men we did well all things considered.
Dan and Colin almost pulled off the great escape, What did you make of their last minute heroics?
I liked the last minute barrage of runs, and it was the right thing to do. It was a bit disappointing we couldn’t quite pull off the victory, as it would have been an excellent win from the position we found ourselves in.
Chobham will be a very tough prospect next week, can Pyestock CC pick up a positive result?
After a close game last year, I predict much the same this year. Fingers crossed for another Pyestock win!