In a change to scheduled programming, Pyestock CC brushed aside an under-strength Hartley Wintney side this weekend with a comfortable 7 wicket victory.
Fielding first after being generously given the option by home captain Naqi Sadiq, Pyestock wasted no time in tearing into the hosts top order, with Jack Bromley relishing the rare chance to open the bowling by dismissing James Meakin, M.Sowman and David Ford within his first 4 overs to send the scoreline spiralling to 32 for 3.
At the other end, Andrew Binns was standing up to the pressure of Bromley and Chris Heath as the opener scored well, while all else around him crumbled. After 12 overs, Jay Threlfall was introduced and wasted absolutely no time in announcing himself to the game by bowling I.Mylrea with his very first ball, and once Pete Harris swooped on a pushed drive from Binns, to run-out D.Gray the Hartley Wintney hopes looked bleak at 55 for 6.
A partnership of 31 then helped the home side recover slightly as J.Bramwell became just the second batsmen to reach double figures, but in the 20th over Threlfall struck again as Dan Heath took a good catch at point to dismiss the number seven for 13. Four overs later, things took a major turn for the worse for Sadiq’s side as R.Dartwell holed out to Jack Bromley at long-on, before Binns, having reached his half century was forced to retire under the stipulation set before the game by the home captain. The skippers day was about to get far worse as he found himself run-out without facing a ball, as the scoreboard shone out 106 for 8 with the last pair now operating the crease.
Pyestock were now in the slightly unusual situation of not necessarily wanting to take the ninth wicket as, by doing so, would unleash opener Binns back on the game. Heath introduced brother Dan and Glenn Taylor to the attack who both provided excellently economical if not necessarily threatening leg-spin, at this stage in the game it was the perfect combination as the clock ticked towards tea. The pair pushed through 10 overs between them for just 20 runs, before the pair combined to dismiss Alex Binns for a tidy 18, to be replaced by his father.
As the openers were reintroduced by the visitors in expectation of a final onslaught, both Binns and Peter Martin, took advantage of the extra pace on the ball and bludgeoned an extra 23 runs before Chris Heath claimed a deserved wicket, bowling Binns for a inning saving 57. Hartley Wintney would need to bowl and field well to defend 154.
To have any hope of a result the home side would need to make deep and early inroads into a Pyestock top order packed with batsmen in great form, but unfortunately for the hosts it didnt happen as Glenn Taylor took the bowling to the sword with a rapid 24 ball half century as Alex Binns, Naqi Sadiq and Bramwell took the brunt of the assault. Having been benched, Jack Bromley took over with free license to shunt Pyestock to the finish line.
Together with Jon Ford, Bromley put on a further 46 runs as Sadiq juggled his bowlers looking for a formula that would drag his team back into the match. In the 18th over a small window of opportunity opened as Jack mistimed a lofted pull and was caught well by D.Ford on the boundary.
Ford himself was bowling well, but was not able to find any further breakthrough as Pyestock edged towards their goal. I.Mylrea claimed the wicket of Jon Ford in the 22nd over for a well constructed 21, and when Tom Threlfall also found the safe hands of Meakin, there were whisperings of another infamous collapse.
The imposing figure of Chris Olley was now at the crease and in uncompromising fashion, took just four scoring shots to bring up the remaining 18 runs and send the visitors over the finish line with a whopping 19.3 overs remaining.
It was a good performance from Pyestock against a talented Hartley Wintney side who were clearly missing several key players. It is hoped the two sides can match up again with a more competitive outcome in the future, the hospitality and surroundings at the historic venue are always first class, which always makes for an enjoyable day.