Hit The Road Jack!

By Ray Charles

Pyestock fell to a frustrating 6 wicket defeat on yet another baking hot Sunday at the home of Chobham CC.

Chris Heath’s side worked exceptionally hard to defend a somewhat undercooked 223 in the first innings with included half centuries for Jon Ford and Paul Bright, however key decisions appeared to go against the visitors leaving the home batsmen Lacky and McGill to wrap up what looked to be a straightforward victory with 7 balls remaining.

Winning the toss and batting first on a surface that looked well prepared and conducive to batting Jack Bromley and Dan Heath set about making a positive start, but any attempts by Bromley to get into his captains good books were extinguished early on by planting a six straight through the skippers rear windscreen.

Undeterred despite the long stoppage in play, the pair continued until the 9th over when the economical Bowry took the wicket of Heath, with a theatrical catch in the covers dismissing the opener for just 6.

This brought the inform Ford to the crease and the pair batted sensibly to help Pyestock past 50 as the change bowlers of Beeson and McGill took over, and despite there appearing little threat initially, both contributed to their teams cause with Bromley caught off the bowling of Beeson for 37, while new man Threlfall failed to settle fully and was bowled by McGill without scoring.

Paul Bright was next to the crease and applied a little more experience as Pyestock moved into 3 figures, and continued in this vein as Ford brought up his 3rd Pyestock 50 of the season with a well run 3 before immediately succumbing as Bowman took his first wicket courtesy of another good catch.

Bright however was continuing his positive stroke play and despite sustaining a cut lip from a badly timed leg side shot, also moved past the fifty mark as Pyestock moved past 200 in the 38th over.

In the meantime a clatter of wickets at the other end saw Pete Harris, Ethal Hapu and Charlie Eve depart, but a decent late partnership with Jake Baldwin helped hoist the visitors to 223 for 7 at tea.

Despite feeling this would not be enough runs on a good batting track with a barren and dusty outfield, Pyestock started well, with Chris Heath only conceding a solitary run in his opening 4 overs, however in spite of this the hosts moved to 32 runs before Dan Heath claimed the first wicket as Silas, pulled the ball to the leg side boundary before losing his balance and breaking the stumps with his fall.

Gregory joined Lacky at the crease and pushed Chobham onwards as Pyestock toiled in the heat. It just seemed as if controlling the run rate was agonisingly out of the visitors reach as each over was seemingly punished by a boundary ruining the bowlers good work for the rest of the over.

Hapu and Jack Bromley continued to try and contain the pairing and while Bromley managed to dismiss Gregory with a smart caught and bowled Hapu was having less luck with two very strong LBW appeals against Lacky waved away.

Undeterred, the pair continued to bowl well and Bromley, despite proving the more expensive was making inroads by ousting both Bowman and Peal to reduce the hosts to 121 for 4, and the hosts had their tail up.

This however created the flash point of the match as with the last ball of the 24th over, Lacky pushed the ball to mid off and set off for a single. The new batsman McGill was caught on his heels and was struggling as Chris Heath scooped up the ball and the resulting direct hit seemingly brought up Pyestock’s 5th wicket.

Astonishingly, the square leg umpire (who had already raised his finger) stopped Pyestock’s celebrations by stating he actually wasn’t watching and was giving it not out, and once the initial laughter died down, frustration fully kicked in as inexplicably, McGill was allowed to stay. Events unravelled resulting in words being exchanged between the captains, while Chris Heath simultaneously had to prevent a walk off from the incensed Ethal Hapu.

As the cricket again took centre stage as moods calmed, it was obvious Pyestock had lost their intensity that had been slowly building prior to this moment. Pete Harris and Tom. Threlfall both completing 4 overs tidily without further success, before Lacky, who had by now eased himself to a half century, and McGill wrapped up a now straightforward chase with 7 balls remaining.

For Pyestock, it was certainly a case of what might have been. What was looking at turning into a fine finish to what was an enjoyable match turned into an unfortunate cauldron of frustration and perceived injustice. It was clear that in reality not enough runs were put on before tea, but it is a shame that the very decent progress that was being made to pull off a great performance were scuppered by a moment of laxidasial umpiring.

Captain Chris Heath seemed perplexed after the match:

“It’s about respect at the end of the day. We understand that no-one here is a professional umpire, but at the very least you should watch the game. It’s cost us a big wicket at a crucial part of the game”

There is no saying the decision would have made any difference to the result given that Chobham were favourites all the way through the second innings, it is however a shame that it will never be known how close the game could have become.

In the case of Jack Bromley, perhaps its best that this match will be remembered for more than just his 6 crashing though the back window of his captain’s car. Don’t hit the car Jack, hit the road!

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