By The Decemberists
Despite a battling 61 from Jon Ford and 4 wickets for Ethal Hapu, Pyestock fell to a 40 run defeat to Bedhampton Mariners this Sunday.
Fielding first in the sunshine. In conditions more likened to the sub-continent given the national heatwave that still shows no signs of abating, Pyestock knew they were likely to be in for a long afternoon, as several key players were missing.
Sam Armes, Paul Bright, Jake Baldwin, Ethal Hapu, and Katie Threlfall replaced those missing from last weeks tour of the Isle of Wight, as Chris Heath needed to balance his bowling options carefully without Neil Butler, Jay Threlfall Ben Armes and Jack Bromley.
The innings started in positive fashion for the visitors as just the second ball of the game rose sharply off a length and Harry Hovey was fortunate that first slip could not gather the regulation catch presented.
Hovey certainly made the most of this reprieve and and put the Pyestock bowlers to the sword, as he hammered 8 fours and 5 sixes in a quickfire 72 that set Bedhampton up to register a massive score. The Pyestock bowlers, although not bowling badly were hampered by a lightning fast outfield, positive and talented batting and a share of unfortunate luck.
The wicket of Hovey fell in the 12th over and was replaced by Chris Hovey, and although the run rate slowed a little, Pyestock were continuing to struggle with the conditions.
By this point Sam Armes had been introduced to the attack, and bowled easily his best 8 overs for Pyestock and created a level of control and economy not matched by any other bowler, it was a exactly what Pyestock required after shipping a huge amount of tuns early on.
At the other end, Pete Harris was having a tough time, with Hovey taking full advantage of some loose deliveries, but the chairman did pick up the wicket of Phil Williams for 30, for the days second dismissal, but with 150 runs already on the board, thoughts turned to the record 279 runs conceded by Pyestock in 2015.
However it was at this point that Pyestock responded exceptionally well, refusing to let their heads drop in the sweltering outfield, Sam Armes picked up a deserved icket as Jon Ford pounced at gully, before usual wicket keeper Tom Threlfall claimed the prized wicket of Chris Hovey as Pyestock’s catching and fielding began to impress.
It was the introduction of Ethal Hapu that swung the innings completely. The mysterious spinner used the worn and dusty surface to full effect to bamboozle the Bedhampton lower order and claimed 4 wickets either side of a crazy run out that saw Alex Whitfield depart for 17.
The batsmen had no answer to the elusive spin as Jake Baldwin and Dan Heath ended with 3 catches apiece as Pyestock took 6 wickets for 25 runs and Bedhampton ended their innings 235 all out. It had threatened to be so so much more. Only one maiden was bowled in the entire innings, that by Katie Threlfall who kept Sean Swift guessing in the latter stages.
After the now traditional feast of a tea, Chris McGovern and Jon Ford looked to set Pyestock on the road to victory, but hopes were dampened in the 3rd over as McGovern departed, bowled by a ball that kept low from Alex Whitfield. A delivery described by the opener as “absolute filth” as he trudged dejected to the dressing room.
It got worse before it got better for the visitors, as Paul Bright became Whitfield second victim, LBW for 8 and Tom Threlfall was caught by wicketkeeper John Hovey to reduce Pyestock to 56 for 3.
Ford remained resolute and positive and was now joined by the powerful Dan Heath.whi had decided to deal almost exclusively in boundaries as the spectators around the pitch began to play a part in locating and retrieving lost balls, as the score began to rise.
It all seemed to be going the away sides way as Bedhampton were also reduced to 10 players as Harry Hovey ended in a heap after unsuccessfully trying to stop a boundary, his match ending by being unceremoniously carted back to the pavilion on the groundsman’s wagon.
The lengthy delay proved a handy respite for the hosts as Heath was then bowled for a brisk 33. And when Baldwin followed suit 5 overs later, it began to look as if Pyestock would run out of puff.
Young Spencer Hovey finally removed Ford for a battling 61.before Sam Armes and Chris Heath both fell in quick succession (the latter by somehow clattering his own stumps) and the game seemed up. Katie Threlfall ably supported Pete Harris, before last man Hapu, complete with runner added a valuable looking 15 in quick time before succumbing to Sam Robinson and the innings ended with Pyestock 40 runs short.
Another defeat, but another fully enjoyable match with the Mariners. It seemed as if muscles weren’t fully flexed in holding Pyestock within arms reach, but with 6 recognised members missing from the side, the visitors performed admirably and can be proud of competing in the game throughout the day.