Cricket the Winner in Vaga-Saga!

The imperious form of opener Glenn Taylor continued this week as the opener unbelievably BETTERED his unbeaten 144 at Tadworth last week with 156 in an extremely enjoyable match with Vagabonds CC within the glorious confines of Bentworth.

Refreshingly, a timed game was announced by home captain Richard Boote before winning the toss and inviting Pyestock to bat on a green and slow looking surface. It was a decision that took just 4 balls to bear fruit as Will Perton bowled Jon Ford to give his side an early boost.

Perton and Mike Gale bowled well early on, but were susceptible to the short boundary, which both Taylor and Chris McGovern targeted as the run-rate held a healthy position as the match settled down.

Having amassed 88 in the 12 preceeding overs, Pyestock were looking in control before Perton bowled McGovern (28), before a skewed drive from Tom Threlfall brought Boote a wicket in his second over to reduce the visitors to 106 for 3.

Neil Butler provided adequate support for the free-flowing Taylor before the introduction of Luke Harding ended the partnership with a successful LBW shout on the ex-captain, and brought up the fourth wicket for the home side.

Pete Harris (14) and Chris Heath (12) looked comfortable against the bowling of Harding and Davidson, and both perished via run outs as the Vagabonds fielding impressed in the latter overs. Heath unselfishly sacrificing himself by ensuring he crossed with Taylor as the ball was returned to allow the opener to continue his assault which had by now taken him not only over the century mark  but also over the 150 which included eight huge sixes, and with eyes firmly set on his very own club record 172.

Sadly, the record remained intact as Taylor was caught in the 36th over for an incredible 156 as Pyestock relied on Colin Butler and Jack Bromley to add the final runs to an imposing total of 253 for 7 at tea. This was the highest total compiled by Pyestock since their visit to Hillingdon Manor in 2013.

After a sumptuous tea provided by the home side, Pyestock set about claiming the 10 wickets required for victory, and wasted no time in claiming their first as James Harding was bowled by Neil Butler with just the second ball of the innings.

This early breakthrough brought Richard Boote to the crease, and he and Hutchins settled the innings down in much the same way as their opponents, and scored well against an attacking field.

Pyestock were undeterred by the high run rate and continued on their quest for wickets and in the 11th over Butler, triumphed as the edge of Hutchins bat was found and Glenn Taylor made no mistake at first slip.

This wicket destabilised the Vagabonds as Chris Heath bowled Hindman for 4 before the curse of the drinks break struck as Boote was yorked by Heath for an otherwise powerful 30 from 35 balls. Hopes were high of Pyestock now being able to run through the remainder of the home side, but the middle order held firm against a varied and testing Pyestock attack.

Tom Postle was proving a real thorn in the side for Chris Heath’s men as the left-hander doggedly saw off the bowling threats of all the Pyestock bowlers on his way to a match saving 28. Pyestock introduced Jay Threlfall and Pete Harris in an attempt to claim further wickets, and it was Harris who struck in his first over as Luke Harding was adjudged out LBW for 13.

Not to be outdone, Threlfall bowled Will Perton for 8 in the 24th over as Vagabonds reached 96, but by this time, it was all about whether Pyestock could clinch the 4 remaining wickets needed for victory with just 9 overs remaining.

Further bowling rotations saw Jack Bromley Glenn Taylor and Chris McGovern (an ultra-rare sight) tossed the ball in an attempt to oust further batsmen from the crease. Taylor claimed his 50th Pyestock wicket as Postle’s rearguard action eventually caved, but by this time, the scorers were already inking in the result with just 7 balls remaining.

Some late fireworks from Davidson, who hammered 19 runs from the final 5 balls, took some gloss off of McGovern otherwise impressive figures, as Vagabonds finished on 152 for 7. A draw had been well earnt by both sides, with some great individual performances on both sides, but undoubtedly the memory of this match will be the fantastically sporting and well mannered spirit this match was played in, with both sides complimenting each other throughout the match before ending up soaking up the fading sun’s rays in the pub forecourt after the match.

A special shout out to Katie Threlfall who fielded excellently in her Pyestock debut as she stepped in at the last minute to help out when the side found themselves one short, putting her father and brother to shame on more than one occasion 😉

A first visit to the home of Vagabonds was certainly a success, even without the result. Hopefully it won’t be our last visit.

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By Yook van der Greis

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