Pyestock arrived at Woking and Horsell CC for their annual fixture amidst a sea of unavailability and despite several close fixtures against the now regular opponents, highlighted by last seasons absorbing and enthralling tie, turned up more in hope than expectation of a result.
Listing the missing players would take longer than necessary but Pyestock called in Haris Mushtaq, Ruth Simmons for debuts and Shannon Seymour (also having never played cricket before) just to fill the quota of 11.
With the hosts determined to bat first, seemingly on a mission to continue some birthday celebrations the night before, Chris Heath and Jack Bromley were unlucky early on as both bowled well, but slowly the home side took the initiative and batted positively as the score started to rise.
It became clear early on that the removal of Woking and Horsells second team meant that they were now faced with much stronger players, ironically with a much weaker than usual team of their own. The away side began experimented with their bowling and fielding positions in the attempt to keep things fresh, but the power of the Woking line up was too much for the visitors as the score reached 200 with plenty of time left in the innings.
As Pyestock began to tire, both physically and mentally, the home side turned the screw as the record number of runs conceded by a Pyestock side (283) came into view. Any hope Jon Fords side had for sympathy from the home side went unanswered as the final few overs saw the ball disappear to all parts. Chris Heath’s final over smashed for 22 as, by this point all energy and enthusiasm in the field had gone.
Chasing 310 to win at tea, there appeared to be no enthusiasm from the totally demoralised visitors for the chase and thoughts turned to ensuring the second innings went according to their own script, as by this point had missed out on all the fun to be had. The idea being to kill the party worked a treat, any hope of chasing the score had dissipated long before the first innings of the match had come to a close so Jon Ford and Paul Bright started a vigil that ensured the home side didnt have the whole match their own way.
With the score on 62 without loss at the 20 over break, the tactic seemed to sink in with the home side who’s frustration started to grow. Jon Ford fell shortly after the break for a relatively brisk 43, but was only replaced by Dan Heath equally determined to show the full force of a figure determined to stand his ground.
By the time Bright fell in the 33rd over for a spectacularly unspectacular 18 (from 86 balls) all around had realised the fixture was not destined to fulfill the excitement from 12 months previous. It’s possible that the home captain may have been contemplating his tactics as a more attainable score might have opened the game up.
Haris Mushtaq fell for 2 as Heath was joined by Jack Bromley and suddenly the fun began with Pyestock showing more endeavour. Suddenly 48 runs were smashed in 7 overs as Pyestock hoisted themselves to 146 for 3 in their 40 overs. Heath in particular showing the way with an unbeaten 54, sadly not appreciated by the home fielders as they had hoped for more than the 3 wickets at this stage, disappointing considering the Pyestock players seemingly applauded a home team milestone every few overs.
The match ended without fanfare and a comprehensive 164 run defeat.
All in all a comfortable and fully deserved victory for Woking and Horsell, and with absolutely no complaints, Pyestock look forward to welcoming back some players for next weeks visit to Ripley Cc, although the value of setting up a game to be enjoyable by both sides shouldnt be underestimated in instances such as these. Pyestock arguably will have been guilty of similar offences in the past, but mixing limited overs with friendly cricket seems futile with the sides are not evenly matched, nor the stronger side manipulating the match situation to ensure the involvement remains positive from both sides. This one will not live long in the memory on a day when both sides might have been better off with more suitable opposition.