Yet another dominant batting performance from Glenn Taylor steered Pyestock to a comfortable 8 wicket win over Peper Harow, as his unbeaten 100 also took his season tally past the 1,000 mark for the second time in four seasons.
Taylor made it look all too easy in a match the hosts struggled to set a competitive target in having been reduced to 14 for 3 early on with Richard Eynon, and Chris Heath making early inroads.
With Eynon accounting for the wickets of Ragan Jain and Chris Dalby, Heath picked up his first wicket since 7 August, with a rank full toss that opener Mal Fisher inexplicably hooked straight to Chris McGovern at mid on off the slow surface.
Dan Saunders and Mike Tait set about resurrecting the innings, and both began to find the boundary, before a quicker ball from Heath deceived the experienced campaigner and demolished the stumps.
Captain Steve Bradley, still reeling from losing a toss he seemed destined to ensure he won, joined Saunders in the middle and the pair finally looked to be getting Peper Harow back into the match.
As the partnership began to grow, Neil Butler unleashed his secret weapon as Norrie Short joined the attack. Having not played for 12 months and even forgetting his whites, even the harshest of critics would have forgiven the octogenarian a loosener, no chance! The first ball, whistled down the pitch, pace surprising the otherwise set Saunders, who could only mistime his pull to Jon Ford who took an ultra-smart catch on the mid-wicket boundary. 1 ball, 1 wicket for the President.
Pyestock celebrated like they had won the match, which of course they hadn’t, but it was a big wicket as the hosts were beginning to gain a foothold in the match.
Neil Butler replaced Short after 3 tidy overs and immediately removed Ted Cornell, and Alan Jones Jr with famous inswinging to reduce Peper Harow to 83 for 7. The stubborn Sam Vass now joined Bradley at the crease, looking to dug their ice out of an ever deepening hole.
The pair expertly dealt with the dangers Butler’s bowling was presenting and added to the total as the innings entered it’s closing stages. With the score on 108 however, Butler did make the breakthrough as Bradley’s fine innings, worth 40 came to an end, and once Chris Olley bowled Vass, it looked like the puff had all but run out of the home sides effort.
With one over to go, nobody predicted the onslaught that was about to be handed to Chris Olley’s bowling figures as number 10 Dar, unleashed himself from the shackles to add 3 maximums to his teams score, in 6 balls that eventually costed 20 runs.
This brief cameo left Peper Harow defending 143 as the second innings got underway, but all eyes were on Glenn Taylor, who started the innings on 917 runs for the season and was desperate to make it 1,000.
Early signs suggested Taylor was in no mood to wait until next weeks finale, and brutally punished Rhian Vass in her first over, but when fellow opener Jon Ford found the bowling equally to his liking it seemed like there was to be a battle developing between the pair.
As the innings progressed, a hefty number of byes will have also kept Taylor’s mind on edge, but in terms of the match, Pyestock were well on top with 51 runs coming from the opening 8 overs, so attentions could remain fully on the quest as it played itself out.
Dar, who was operating from the Pavilion end, was bowling well and had already had a good LBW shout turned down as the ball struck Ford outside the line of off-stump, but claimed his victim in the 9th over as Cornell took a smart catch behind the stumps from a thick edge.
Chris McGovern entered the fray and promptly found the boundary with a deft flick off his legs to fine leg, before Taylor took his own score to 36 with a four and a six from Dar’s sixth over.
A change of bowling from the hosts saw Sam Vass introduced but it didn’t see the change in fortunes that Steve Bradley would have hoped for as Taylor helped himself to further boundaries to bring up his eighth half century of the season.
Pyestock were however counting the loss of McGovern, who had been bowled by the impressive Dar, but without back up from his fellow bowlers and fielders, found himself battling against the tide with no pressure being put on the Pyestock batsmen.
A huge maximum from Taylor brought himself to 75 just 8 runs from the magical 1,000 mark as it became inevitable that the opener would reach his goal, and he did so in the 18th over with another boundary, his 15th to a large ovation from teammates and opposition alike. A superb achievement.
The rest of the match was played out in relative calm, with the only remaining footnote being whether Taylor could convert his innings into a century, and thanks to some unselfish batting from Colin Butler a scrambled 3 in the 24th over saw the milestone reached for the Pyestock opener, whilst also bringing up victory for Neil Butler’s side with 13.2 overs remaining.
Congratulations we’re offered to Glenn as he departed from the pitch. The next target will be to see if he can overhaul the club record for runs in a season by one player, the 1,105 achieved in 2013, by yep, you’ve guessed it…