Pyestock completed their Isle of Wight tour with a weary yet thoroughly enjoyable fixture at Westover Park CC which resulted in a comfortable 5 wicket victory.
Captain Jon Ford negotiated (bribed) the home skipper and it was decided that he would field first on a long slow outfieldaaaColin Butler in particular, although in the fourth over, revenge was gained with a snorter of a ball that pitched dribbled along the ground before coming to rest at the base of middle stump. The bails, obviously helped on their way by a gust of freak wind, possibly emanating from the wicket keeper, apologetically fell to the ground, leaving McArthur crestfallen.
The apologies spewed uncontrollably from the bowlers mouth, clearly embarrassed with his own version of the ball of the century, but as it transpired, there was no need as the pitch continued to dictate the course of the match with some extremely variable bounce.
Change bowler Jay Threlfall was the main benefactor with a naggingly accurate line that resulted in Kelsey and (Porchfield Ringer) Spiers being bowled after clearly being promoted up the order having not had a bat the day previous, while Cox and West were trapped LBW, the appeals from the bowler somewhat dampened by the admission that he didn’t know the rules!
This left Westover precariously on 68 for 5 but with opener Bridges still looking comfortable, Pyestock focussed on removing his batting partners at the other end.
Chris Heath used his 6 over spell to mix slower balls with slowerer balls in the deranged hope that the pitch would be his guide, and did manage to break the largest partnership of the innings as Mew was caught by the soaring and majestic Chris McGovern who popped up out of the long grass to take a diving catch. The smile, wink, and horizontal nature of the effort, unfortunately wasted as the promised media circus had sadly not materialised. Next time Hollywood! Next time!
Jack Bromley then joined the attack and mopped up the tail with 3 wickets, proving that actually bowling straight can have it’s advantages, while Glenn Taylor managed a energy sapping 1 over spell that finally accounted for Bridges, who so nearly carried his bat for 84. A superb innings and one which had saved his team who closed on 121 all out.
After a lovely tea, which was choked down, then up, then down again, thanks to some “what happens on tour…” conversational topics, Pyestock set about chasing down the target. Neil Butler and Jon Ford opened up against Ross and McArthur and showed what we all knew already, the pitch was a bit of a nightmare to bat on.
Every run had to be earnt, and with the long outfield, once you’d earnt it, you probably didn’t get it anyway! The pair struggled to 17 before Butler played all round a straight one and trudged off.
Veteran vice-president and wicket keeper extraordinaire (only 3 byes!) Paul Heath was next in…and out, after making a promising start which included a rare boundary was flummoxed by the change of bowling and was bowled by Cox for 8.
This brought together the usual opening pair of Glenn Taylor and Jon Ford and hopes were high of a good partnership with the telepathic understanding and synchronised stroke play and running that would surely see Pyestock installed as favourites. With these hopes firmly in the forefront of the mind, Ford was run-out for 15 leaving the tourists 36 for 3 from 16 overs. So much for that!
Bowler Irons was having an eventful spell and thanks to a good catch from Spiers, accounted for Jack Bromley, gaining sweet revenge for the youngster claiming his wicket earlier in the afternoon, before also bowling Jay Threlfall for 6.
The wicket the home side needed though was that of Taylor, who had adjusted to the slow outfield by simply hitting the ball over it, accumulating four sixes before reaching his half century, and now ably supported by in-form Tom Threlfall, the match was tipping in Pyestock favour.
The introduction of Whillier into the attack proved the catalyst for a Pyestock surge, just when it was required as Taylor took full advantage, but it was Threlfall who finished the game with a glorious straight 6 to take him to 24 not out as the game was won with 11.5 overs remaining.
Both sides retired to the pub for drinks, swapping stories and jugs of beer in a truly fitting end to Pyestock trip the the Island. Westover were superb hosts whom we hope to reacquaint ourselves with again in the future.