Pyestock CC closed an enjoyable 2016 season with a comfortable 5 wicket win over Peper Harow, reclaiming bragging rights as the end of season “mini-series” ended 2-0 in favour of the visitors.
Fielding first, once again Chris Heath almost made an immediate in road into the Peper Harow innings as a thick inside edge from Mike Tait wrong-footed wicket keeper Tom Threlfall, who did well to lay a give on the ball, but was unable to hang on.
Progress was slow for the hosts as Tait and Chris Ford battled the slow and damp surface, and had only mustered 6 runs before Heath did collect the wicket of Tait, Glenn Taylor providing the simple catch at slip.
Sam Vass provided the replacement and survived an early shout for LBW before providing yet more stubborn resistance for the Pyestock bowlers to overcome.
After 13 overs, with the score on only 20, Neil Butler rotated his bowlers as Jack Bromley joined his captain in attack.
The change worked as Vass could only find Colin Butler in the covers to gift the away side their second wicket, however this brought the previous weeks tormentor Dar, to the crease. Seven days previous a brisk and unbeaten 29 had elavated the home teams score at the death, however in a complete contrast to that day, the youngster seemed unable to place bat on ball and looked uneasy before he too drove awkwardly at Colin Butler to give Jack Bromley his first wicket of the day.
The banter between the stubborn Ford and probing Butler increased as the latter continued to ask questions of the veteran openers defence, and an enjoyable battle ensued, with good natured sledging providing the entertainment, and in the 22nd over the Pyestock captain finally got his man as Jay Threlfall tooka good catch at mid-off and the Peper Harow stalwart departed having scored 41 of his sides 59 runs.
This left Marcus Price and Warren Vass to pick up the pieces, but Threlfall repeated his trick with another catch off of Bromley’s bowling as the home side’s innings started to crumple at 67 for 5.
Threlfall himself was then introduced to the attack as Price and Ragan Jain produced the highest partnership of the innings as watchfulness and aggression combined to put Pyestock on the back foot for the first time in the contest. The pair expertly moved the score past 3 figures, but with over 30 overs of the innings already passed, further accelaration was needed, and this proved to be the more defensive Price’s downfall as Threlfall claimed his victim LBW for a patient 22.
Replacement, Chris Dalby retired himself almost immediately, taking offence to a comment originating from the outfield causing a small delay, and a dampener was put onto an otherwise good-natured contest, before the key wicket arrived. The very next ball after Jain launched Threlfall for a maximum, Neil Butler took a thunderous catch at short mid-wicket to dismiss the number 7 for a brisk 37 runs. The batsmen departed almost bewildered, as the Pyestock captain undoubtedly required a few minutes to regain feeling in his hands. It was a blistering catch.
This all but ended Peper Harows attacking force as the closing balls yeielded no further runs, and Pyestock were set a target of 126 for victory.
Pyestock continued with the tradition of drawing the batting order from a hat and it was therefore left up to Dan Heath and Tom Threlfall to open the innings against the bowling of Rhiann Vass and Tom Crawford, with the latter proving exceptionally economical with only 2 runs coming from the first of his 3 overs. Unfortunately for the hosts, this was not backed up at the other end, with Vass struggling to contain Heath in particular and the score raced to 71 off of 12 overs.
With only 55 needed for victory, Peper Harow turned to Dar and Mike Tait for some increased control and threat, and in the 17th over Dar threatened to turn the match on its head with a superb over, first by removing the increasingly fluent looking Threlfall for a Pyestock career best 29 including 5 exquisite boundaries before Chris Heath gloved behind to reduce Pyestock to 89 for 2.
Debutant Charlie Eve was next to fall as he was unluckily bowled by Tait, and once Jack Bromley was stumped, it looked as if Pyestock my repeat last seasons embarrassing collapse at the hands of the same opponents, however at the other end Dan Heath was proving himself a more than adequate, albeit temporary replacement for usual opening aggressor Glenn Taylor and almost single-handedly pushed the visitors over the 100 mark with over 15 overs remaining.
Paul Heath was now partnering his son at the crease, but he too became part of the middle order procession as he drove wildly at a loose Warren Vass delivery, as Pyestock lost their fifth wicket, but were now only 5 runs from victory as Dan became increasinglyy assured and dominant, and smashed a gigantic six from the bowling of Alan Jones to see an end to the contest, and Pyestock’s successful season.
Heath finished on 89 from only 62 balls, bringing up his highest score since hammering an unbeaten century at Old Woking in 2009. Pyestock however can look back at an enjoyable 2016 season with victories well earnt and defeats enjoyed in true friendly spirit. Hopefully 2017 will bring further fun and success.