By Michael Jackson
A maiden century from Jack Bromley, which banished the demons of last season’s “adjusted” 96 not out, helped a threadbare Pyestock CC claim a 23 run victory over Widmer End St. Margaret’s CC this Sunday.
In the baking summer sun, Bromley notched a superb 115 to set the basis for Pyestock who were missing no fewer than 7 playing members on an enjoyable day at their now regular opponents.
Losing the toss, Chris Heath was instructed that his side must bat on a pristine wicket and opening pairing Jon Ford and Ethal Hapu looked to enjoy the benefit against Johnson and Wyatt, and it wasn’t long before the first wicket came with Hapu offering a simple catch in the off side in the 5th over.
This brought Bromley to the crease and although initially cautious, found the boundary regularly as the fast outfield consistently proved too much for the home fielders.
As the overs progressed Bromley became the aggressor and pummelled 3 consecutive boundaries to ruin Wyatt’s otherwise impressive figures whilst Ford was happy to play the supportive role until being bowled for 8 by the same bowler.
Pyestock reached 53 for 2 by the first drinks break and both Bromley and Colin Butler looked to press on in the heat. New bowlers Talmer and Arjan finding it difficult to contain the run rate as batsmen began to dominate.
In the 19th over Bromley reached his half century with a crashing boundary, and Pyestock soon found themselves over the 100 mark as Widmer End persevered with their first change bowling pair. It was a decision which seemed to suggest a lack of faith in a fifth bowler as Pyestock piled on the runs, but Arjan did break the defences of Butler in the 24th over as he departed, to be replaced by brother Neil.
This wicket did nothing to slow the run rate as Pyestock quickly moved past 150 in the 28th over as the hosts began to tire in the heat. Arjan and Talmer both replaced having combined figures of 1 for 95 from 14 overs as Hobbs and Thorburn took over.
In the 31st over a single by Bromley secured his century, having missed out last season, finishing 96 not out when the local rule regarding sixes at the residential end of the ground deprived the youngster of some otherwise legitimate runs, much to the delight of his team mates, and cue a confusing moment when the Widmer end players thought he was then retiring only to discover he was switching his helmet for a cap. Awkward!
Skipper Hatt introduced himself to the attack and picked up the wicket of Neil Butler for 36 in a very economical spell before the stand out fielder Talmer held on to a deep catch to finally remove Bromley for 115 from just 91 balls.
There was still time for youngster Jake Baldwin and debutant Jack Hughes to add some late runs and entertainment before Pyestock closed their inning after 40 overs on a sizable 213 for 6.
After tea, Pyestock turned to Neil Butler and Dan Heath in order to keep openers Arjan and Lewis quiet in the early stages and in the very first over the former looped a catch to Jack Bromley at mid on and departed for a duck.
This enabled number three Talmer the opportunity to join Lewis and the pair steadily built a platform for Widmer End to attack with all loose balls punished. Pyestock were kept on their toes with various half chances including a tight LBW call given not out and what seemed like a never ending array of shots falling just short on onrushing fielders looking to take a catch.
When an opportunity did eventually present a genuine chance for a dismissal. The unfortunate Jake Baldwin behind the stumps could not cling on, while first slip Ethal Hapu could not quite grasp the loose ball. Baldwin would at least more than make up for this later in the innings.
Hapu and Chris Heath began their spells but found themselves up against the same issues, being down on luck, and struggling to contain the healthy run rate Lewis and Talmer were forcing. The first drinks break appeared at 13 overs with the home side on top at 68 for 1.
Jack Bromley was introduced as Pyestock looked to explore all options in search of a wicket that would break the momentum of the hosts, but again no breakthrough materialised. However in the 18th over, fortune swung massively in the favour of the away side with Lewis, who was on the brink of his half century had to retire with an injury to his hip caused by running between the wickets. A sad end to the openers innings, but undeniably a huge benefit to Pyestock who instantly capitalised on the home sides loss of momentum.
Dan Heath was reintroduced from the tennis court end of the ground and immediately dismissed Hobbs. Before both D. Weatherall and Thorburn were also dismissed in consecutive balls, the latter by a great take from wicketkeeper Baldwin, to reduce Widmer End to 120 for 4 with 13 overs remaining.
The late flurry of wickets continued to hamper the victory chances of the hosts, who still had the impressive Talmer at the crease, and had by now registered his half century, however he was beginning to run out of partners and his attacking style became more and more desperate as the number three struggled to keep his side in the game with the overs ticking down, and the introduction of Jack Hughes saw the dangerman gone, bowled with the youngsters 3rd ball for an impressive 60.
Pyestock breathed a sigh of reliefbut with work still to do, pressed on. Chris Heath castled J. Weatherall before introducing Ben Scott for an impressive 3 over spell which saw the required run rate climb to beyond the reach of the home side as J.Hatt and H. Weatherall tried in vain to keep their side in the match.
Once Neil Butler removed Weatherall for 27 the game appeared up, Widmer End needed 31 from the last over. And Jack Bromley ensured there was no late fightback, and capped his man of the match performance by dismissing Whyatt, caught behind the innings closed with the hosts 23 runs short.
It was again the most enjoyable day at Pyestock’s furthest trip of the season. The warm welcome and friendly cricket afforded by Widmer End always makes the trip worthwhile. We thank them once again for their hospitality.