By Jeezy (feat. Tee Grizzley)
For the second time in 3 seasons, a poor batting performance ruined any chance of a maiden victory over Prestcold CC in glorious yet humid conditions in Sonning this Sunday.
Despite the hosts refrigeration ancestry it was they who turned up the heat in the early summer sun to claim a convincing 6 wicket victory to maintain their 100% record over their visitors.
Losing the toss, Vice Captain Jon Ford was forced to bat in bowler friendly conditions early on and the impressive Luke and Andy Rosier gave nothing away in the opening overs.
Without Chris Heath. Dan Heath and Chris McGovern, a shuffled batting line up saw Ford open the innings with Ben Bromley, but the aforementioned Rosier pairing kept proceedings expeptionally tight with only 1 run being conceded in the opening 4 overs.
Given the slow start.what followed proved extremely damaging to the visitors chances of setting a commanding total, as Luke Rosier, bowling back of a length scythed an inswinging delivery through Bromle. A feint inside edge enough to send him back to the pavilion for 2.
Ford and Pete Harris steadied themselves further without really troubling the scorers but in the 10th over disaster stuck as Ford was caught in the crease and bowled by Andy Rosier before Ben Armes presented an easy catch to short cover Alex Davies as Pyestock slumped to 9 for 3.
Jack Bromley joined Harris, who was now looking slightly more comfortable, and finally the scoreboard started to move, as change bowlers James Prior and Alex Davies took over the reigns for the home side.
The resurgence however did not last long with Bromley fresh from launched a huge straight six and unlucky to be denied another by a rogue tree within the boundary, attempted one big shot too many and departed for 10. Unfortunately this started another mini collapse for the visitors as Pete Harris (14) and Jake Baldwin (1) also fell in consecutive overs as Pyestock continued to struggle on 39 for 6.
Thankfully some batting had been left to the lower order, more by necessity than design as the half past 1 start time eluded the Butler and Threlfall families, and it was Neil Butler who provided a positive spark with his usual array of powerful strokes positive style. He and Sam Armes took the score past 50 in the 22nd over before Armes was caught by Tim Benham for 10 to give Prior his second wicket.
The Prestcold bowler’s third came soon after as Pyestock began to run out of options. Butler, now paired with brother Colin, was also caught by Luke Rosier as the hosts fielding excelled. It was Prior who rightly took the plaudits however as he claimed 2 catches to go with his earlier wickets and run out to dismiss both Jay and Tom Threlfall as Pyestock closed on a disappointing 76 all out.
After a premature tea given that the first innings lasted only 29.4 overs, Pyestock started in defence of their modest total with Neil Butler and Jay Threlfall attempting to make early inroads against Phil Desbois and Chaz Mayhew.
Whilst Butler was proving accurate and difficult to get away, Threlfall proved rusty in his first bowling performance of the season and proved expensive. After 8 overs, he was withdrawn having conceded 23 of the 29 runs scored by the hosts in what was looking to be a whitewash.
A similar pattern was emerging between the batting pair, with Desbois patient and looking to ensure he remained at the crease, whilst Mayhew thre more caution to the wind, looking as if he had an early appointment to make and was tstriving to end the match as soon as possible.
This gung-ho attitude was to cost the opener his wicket as a strong drive from the second ball of new bowler Ben Armes spell saw a good catch from his own bowling and Pyestock had avoided the ignominy of a 10 wicket defeat. This however was not the end as Armes, not bowling up to his usual pace, concentrated on accuracy and claimed his second wicket as Tim Benham picked out Pete Harris lurking on the long on boundary and departed for 7.
The spin option of Ben Bromley continued the economical nature of the Pyestock bowling, but with no scoreboard pressure, Prestcold were satisfied to sit back and hit the bad ball, playing low-risk cricket afforded to them by the low run rate required. Bromley did however break the defences of Alistair Grant in the 23rd over as the home side lost their third wicket on 63.
Without a doubt the most drama in the match came in the 24th over as Sam Armes bowled a high full toss to Matt Rosier, who slapped firmly to Ben Armes who took a very sharp catch. No-Ball was the correct call from the umpire and Pyestock despaired, however the very next ball from Armes was swatted high into the leg side by Rosier, and Ben Armes running side on and away from the wicket took a truly superb catch over his shoulder for Pyestock’s fourth wicket.
at 65 for 4 the momentum was briefly with the visitors, but there was unfortunately no chance of a rousing comeback. The imposing figure of wicket-keeper Hugh King slamming a four to the mid-wicket boundary as Prestcold eased over the finish line with 14 full overs to spare.
Pyestock battled hard in this fixture after a disappointing batting display, against a talented and committed home side. The elusive first victory of the season is still awaited, but in another fully enjoyable fixture, the atmosphere within the club proves that results are not as important as the event itself.
Next week see’s the visit to a new side Forest Green Village in an eagerly awaited inaugural match up