A typically brutal and unbeaten 144 from Glenn Taylor was sadly overshadowed by an embarrassing turn of events that robbed both Pyestock and Tadworth of a grandstand finish this weekend.
The controversy began in the 21st over of the Pyestock innings with the away side well placed on 105 for 2, chasing a high target of 212 for victory when the fiery Adam Baldwin, well into his third over of impressive pace bowling dismissed the equally fiery Dan Heath to claim his 3rd wicket in 8 balls with a beautiful inswinging yorker, and looked to have tipped the match into the hosts favour.
The batsman, protesting the poor light conditions left the field amongst a plethora of angry exchanges, resulting in home captain Christophe Sander withdrawing his main strike bowler from the attack, in a successful attempt to appease the situation, but in doing so handed the initiative back to Pyestock and the well set Taylor to pick off the remaining Tadworth bowlers with ease. It was awkward viewing but not the fault of the prolific opener.
Earlier in the day, an aesthetically pleasing half century from Stef Sander and a brutal 45 from Baldwin helped Tadworth recover from the early losses of Perrins and the Tadworth skipper, to bring their side to 93 for 2 before Baldwin was caught by Jack Bromley to end a damaging period for the away side as 76 runs were added in just 10 overs.
Jay Threlfall, introduced early in the game picked up 2 of the first 3 wickets to fall, and followed this up with 3 catches in a memorable performance in the field, Neil Butler and Chris Heath benefiting from the northerner’s safe hands to claim a wicket apiece as drinks arrived with the score on 103 for 4.
Pyestock switched wicket keepers at the break with usual incumbent Tom Threlfall, who already had a catch to his name, taking the gloves, while Dan Heath was then released to bowl from the bottom end of the ground.
It was Heath in fact who removed Sander in the 24th over as a thick edge was claimed by Neil Butler at slip and from this moment the run rate began to slow.
Jack Bromley was introduced and although initially struggled, did pick up the wickets of James MacPhearson and Luke Fischer, as the hosts started to falter at 146 for 7.
There was a sting in the Tadworths tail however as the last 3 wickets brought a further 65 runs as Smith and Mark Baldwin brutally attacked the Pyestock bowling and ensured that their sides total would at least be defendable. Their expansive and high risk play however ensured that Pyestock picked up wickets at regular intervals.
The home side were dismissed in the 36th over after a sharp return catch by Dan Heath handed him his third wicket, as Tadworths were bowled out for 211, with all 10 wickets being caught. A good day in the field for the visitors with Jay Threlfall (3) Tom Threlfall (2), Jack Bromley, Neil Butler, Chris McGovern, Chris Heath and Dan Heath (all 1) displaying safe hands.
After what will quite probably rank as “tea of the season”, Mark Baldwin and Perrins began the defence of their teams total against the regular opening duo of Jon Ford and Glenn Taylor, and despite a slow and shaky start, both batsmen soon settled into a rhythm and looked composed against the Tadworth attack.
Running slightly behind the home sides run rate, thanks to their early onslaught, Pyestock seemed content enough to compile where possible while leaving wickets in hand, with the hope that they could catch up in the second half when Tadworth’s rate had slowed, so by the 16th over with the score on 74 with both openers still occupying the crease it looked good for the visitors.
This prompted the introduction of Alex Baldwin, who immediately displayed a level of pace not normally seen at weak/medium level of village cricket, but relishing the challenge, Ford and Taylor stood firm and used the pace to claim 7 runs from the opening over, but by the end of the second the result was very different with Ford and his replacement Jack Bromley dismissed, both bowled.
The score moved over 100 in the 21st over which included an unfortunate injury to Jon Mears who misjudged a skied drive by Dan Heath, dropping the catch and receiving a cut to his nose in the process. The very next ball castled Heath, prompting concerns over the light joined with the pace of Baldwin. The dark cloud moving over the ground and large trees surrounding the pitch meant the day had become gloomy, and Sander pulled his bowler from the attack. Pyestock captain Chris Heath insisted this was not necessary, and the cloud soon passed bringing a period of bright sunshine, coupled with some incredible power hitting from Taylor who smashed 41 runs from 14 balls, with MacPhearson, Smith, Fischer, and Wren-Kirkham facing the full brunt of the openers power as he charged to his second century of the season.
As Pyestock moved towards obvious favourites for the tarnished match, the dark clouds returned and the heavens opened, threatening to end the tie, something which would have come as a relief to the embarrassed away side, but the Tadworth captain kept his players on the field, much to his credit.
Colin Butler, merely a spectator at the non-strikers end for much of Taylor’s fireworks, knocked the final two runs to end the match. Taylor finishing with a fantastic unbeaten 144, a score that ranks joint 6th in Pyestock all time innings, but sadly it is likely this feat will pail into the depths of history and is unlikely to be recalled when memories of this match resurface in years to come.
Pyestock need to be watchful of their reputation as a friendly village side, generally matches are enjoyable and sporting affairs with an element of fun and inclusiveness that brings a refreshing change from the cut throat business of league cricket, but it only takes one incident for news to spread, and that could prove incalculably costly for a club completely reliant on its perception amongst outside parties, to survive.