A brilliant all-round performance from ex-captain Neil Butler with both bat and ball was the highlight, but for the third game running, Pyestock were unable to chase down the target set by their hosts.
Taking 5 wickets and adding an unbeaten 37, Butler was unfortunate to end up on the losing side, but an impressive and committed fielding performance by Prestcold CC saw the home side successfully defend their 164 runs posted earlier in the day.
Pyestock lost the toss and were invited to field in humid and sticky conditions, early swing for Chris Heath, almost accounted for Dooley in the very first over, but Glenn Taylor could not hold on to the chance at first slip.
Dooley was to go on and live a charmed life early on, as an inside edge in the ninth over actually hit the stumps, without disturbing the bails before further difficult chances were handed to Jon Ford and Chris Heath. Pyestock did however claim a deserved breakthough as Jay Threlfall back-peddled at mid-off to claim a fine catch and dismiss Phil Desbois for 12.
This wicket brought the powerful Alistair “Ali-G” Grant to the crease and the number 3 wasted no time in adding further runs to his teams total as Pyestock toiled in the heat. Heath was economical in his spell, whereas as the other end Richard Eynon and Jack Bromley both struggled for consistency as drinks arrived at 20 over with Prestcold in control at 71 for 1.
As often happens, the break in play disrupted the momentum of the batsmen and a suicidal call from Dooley brought the end of the 53 run partnership as Grant was stranded as a calm Colin Butler returned the ball to stand-in wicket-keeper Dan Heath for a simple run-out, which was, more than anything, a gift.
Matt Rosier now joined the increasingly fluent Dooley, who was making Pyestock pay for their earlier generosity, and the pair pushed their side on with a watchful display of batting against the medium pace of Jay Threlfall and the spin of Ben Bromley. It looked as if the home side were on for a large score with the 100 barrier breached in the 25th over, but it was at this moment that Pyestock unleashed their secret weapon.
Neil Butler was charged with bowling the final eight overs from the far end of the ground, and once he found his length, was a real thorn in the side for the hosts, and although proving difficult to master, it was actually Ben Bromley at the other end, who actually broke the partnership, as well as claiming the prized, and sought after wicket of Dooley as a mistimed dive looped to Chris Heath at point.
At 121 for 3, there were no indication to suggest just how Prestcold’s innings was to disintegrate. Pyestock themselves well versed in the art of the middle order collapse, as the procession started once Matt Rosier (19), was somewhat unfortunate to be stumped as he momentarily left his ground, just as the ball ricocheted off of wicket-keeper Heath’s glove and onto the stumps, more luck than judgement, and a fortunate turn of events for the visitors.
Tom Marsh became Butler’s second victim, bowled for 5 before the returning Jay Threlfall reponded brilliantly to being slapped to the boundary by producing a quicker delivery that hurried Luke Rosier (6) into the pull-shot, and was caught very well by Jack Bromley diving forward in the deep.
The theme of good catching continued as Glenn Taylor got underneath a skier from James Prior (3) as Prestcold looked to add late runs to their total, and with the very next ball the settled Mayhew (17) hammered towards Pete Harris at mid-on who also clung onto a difficult chance, running to his right.
Pyestock were suddenly on top and bowling and fielding with confidence, Jay Threlfall bowled Davies first ball before Butler, who unfortunately could not claim a hatrick on this occasion wrapped up the innings with a remarkable one handed catch from his own bowling to dismiss last man Andy Rosier for a duck. Prestcold finished 164 all out from 39.3 overs, losing their last 8 wickets for 43 runs in 69 balls.
Pyestock started their reply in cautious mood, wary of the threat caused by the pace and accuracy of the unorthodox Luke Rosier, accompanied by the guile and wit of captain Andy Rosier at the far end, and it was the elder statesman who claimed the opening 3 wickets as Jon Ford poked a return catch back at the bowler without scoring, before Dan Heath (12), hampered with injury, was trapped LBW, and Glenn Taylor (17) was bowled to install Prestcold as firm favourites in the tie. Memories of Pyestock’s disastrous collapse in the corresponding fixture last year coming to the front of the minds of the visiting players, but fortunately on this occasion, the middle order held firm.
Jack Bromley and Pete Harris saw off the remainder of the overs that the openers were allotted before Davies and Prior took over the reigns, and moved the score on well, before a poorly judged single saw Harris run out for 3 after good work by Davies.
Pyestock were struggling to catch up the ground that was lost by being cautious early on in the innings and seeing as they found themselves 4 wickets down, it was a tactic that had not paid off, Colin Butler now joined Bromley and looked to attack where possible. The pair advanced the score on well, but failed to raise the scoring to a level that was likely to see the pendulum swing back into the visitors favour. Bromley employing a tactic, which involved mainly walking towards the bowler saving him against a succession of LBW shouts as the number 4 stroked his way to 29 before the change of bowling which brought Matt Rosier to the attack ended his innings as James Prior got underneath a mistimed punch.
Neil Butler now joined his brother as Pyestock still required 79 runs from only 13.4 overs, and injected some much needed pace to the case, as he almost instantly found himself at home with the pace of the wicket.
Colin did survive a hairy moment as a quick single almost turned into disaster as the bat of the Pyestock number 6 dug into the surface as he stretched for safety and the bails were removed. Fortunately for the batsmen, the umpire deemed he had made his ground.
The relief was short lived however, as Tom Marsh got his man for 25. Pyestock had moved to 110 needing 55 from 32 deliveries. Richard Eynon now joined Neil Butler at the crease and despite promises of attacking play, offered a single defensive stroke before being run out by Davies looking to steal a second run that was never there.
Ben Bromley also departed without troubling the scorers but Butler held firm, punishing as much as possible as it became clear Prestcold were to emerge victorious. The optimist would suggest that Pyestock technically took the match to the final over, with 35 required from the final 6 deliveries, but in truth the game was up long before as Prestcold continued to impress with their ground fielding, letting no extra runs through and forcing Pyestock into mistakes due to having to work extra hard for each and every run.
The visitors finished 133 for 8, a respectable 31 runs short, with Neil Butler top scoring with 37 not out, an impressive all round performance, in an innings which proved an improvement on last week, as the middle order contributed far more than 7 days previous. Prestcold deserved their victory, Pyestock gave everything and with a little extra luck, could have turned the tables on this result.
By Yook van der Greis