Pyestock embarked on their annual tour of the Isle of Wight and returned unbeaten thanks to a slightly manufactured win over new opponents Arreton CC in the first half of their weekend.
Despite regular patterns of heavy drinking and late night’s hampering team performance on the Saturday, the side turned up reasonably fresh and ready for the challenge presented by their new opponents complete with artificial track. Neil Butler got his wish and fielded first on a track where no one really knew what to expect.
In 2005, The Ringer was released prompting controversy as Jonny Knoxville headlined in a heartwarming tale based on the “special” Olympics, and 11 years later Pyestock turned to their own ringer, Hampshire starlet Ella Chandler who maintained her composure and showcased her talent whilst all around her endorsed the “special” side of cricket with some fielding and bowling that had to be seen to be believed.
Early exchanges saw the Heath brothers have little joy against opening batsmen Lloyd and Powell, although Chris had a genuine edge slip through Paul Heath’s hands at first slip.
Pyestock did miss a half-opportunity for a run-out in the 7th over when Jay Threlfall decided against a shy at the stumps, citing unsportsmanlike behaviour (?)
In the first of what would soon become an incredible 13 bowling changes within 40 overs, Threlfall then joined the attack. The medium pacer, put up a brave performance, having to already deal with the wind playing havoc with his hair, managed to put these difficulties behind him to bowl a tidy 5 over spell.
Pyestock however remained wicketless despite Threlfall’s and Ella Chandler’s probing overs, so Butler turned to Jack Bromley, finally on the field after an extensive warm up consisting of walking round the pitch after play had began, and the experienced Paul Heath who became a sound ambassador for Paralympic cricket with a two over spell that included an impromptu lie down half way through as the veterans legs gave way, unable to endure the taxing 2 yard run up!
The half way stage arrived with Arreton 111 without loss, and Pyestock contemplating a tough second half with nothing going to plan thus far. The fielding in particular had been poor albeit on a difficult surface with Chris McGovern in particular struggling to reach his usual high standards.
Glenn Taylor eventually claimed his side’s first wicket as Ella Chandler took a good catch to dismiss Wilcox (the openers long since retired with half centuries), before Sanyal also called time on his innings for a jug avoiding 49.
The wicket that Pyestock craved did open the door for further inroads as the returning Threlfall, comprehensively bowled Herbert, before McGiness was run out by Chandler. The Pyestock debutant then added a wicket to her impressive performance as Thelfall, clearly forgetting his earlier stance on sportsmanship, swooped to catch the young Warner for a duck, brushing off the disapproving looks from teammates and opponents alike as the batsmen trudged to the pavilion with a look on his face suggesting Christmas had just been cancelled.
Pyestock then handed bowling chances to the more irregular options in the ranks as wicket keeper Tom Threlfall and Jon Ford got their chances, and both picked up wickets in the closing stages as Chris Heath and Glenn Taylor took catches as Arreton closed their innings on 216 for 6.
Pyestock retianed their tour policy of drawing the batting order out of a hat, and there were no complaints or calls of “Fix” at all as captain Neil Butler opened up with tom Threlfall as the chase began.
The contrasting styles of the batsmen were clear to see as Threlfall remained watchful in the opening overs while Butler clearly had somewhere else to be, perhaps worried about sobering up in the middle as 14 runs were bashed in the first 5 balls faced by the skipper.
McGiness claimed the wicket of Threlfall in the 7th over, but Paul Heath replaced the youngster and batted well despite the captain falling for a super-brisk 42. Pyestock were 46 for 2.
Heath and Ella Chandler now occupied the crease and added a superb 72 runs in a partnership that Arreton tried hard to break, the bowling of Sanyal proving a real threat with leg-spin that defied the artificial surface. Arreton were also using the ultra friendly nature to develop their future stars, although Mortian’s 15 ball over proved the longest of the match, and indeed in the memory of many players, the home side should be applauded for using the match to gift their youngsters some genuine match experience. It was just a shame that fellow youngster Warner couldn’t spend longer at the crease earlier in the day (Mr Threlfall!).
Sanyal eventually claimed the wickets of Heath, who departed for 27, and Glenn Taylor who chopped to Wilcox at gully, moments after launching a huge six almost back to the mainland.
At 128 for 4 at halfway, the match lay almost fully in Pyestock’s hands as Chandler and now Dan Heath looked to press home the advantage. The latter however holed out to give Powell his only wicket of the match and set a few doubts in the visitors minds, and despite resistance from usual opener Jon Ford, Pyestock fell to 199 for 7 as Chris Heath was also bowled.
Chandler however remained unfazed and brought up her half century with 7 overs left, and continued punishing the bowling with an array of fluent strokes.
Chris McGovern was bowled as Pyestock moved within 14 of victory and the match poised on whether Arreton could claim the final 2 wickets for victory. It wasn’t to be as Jay Threlfall put all the drama of a testing day behind him to assist Chandler who hit the winning boundary in the 39th over.
It had been a brilliant day, with Arreton superb hosts for the start of our tour, a winning start was achieved largely thanks to an unbeaten 76 from Ella Chandler, who despite not being the first female to represent the club, definitely became the first to claim “player” of the match.
The Insider was sobering up in the days after this match and will provide his assessment of the tour in full in the Porchfield match report!