Pyestock Soaked then Choke on First visit to Oak!

A disappointing display from Pyestock CC saw a deserved defeat at Oakwood Hill CC this Sunday.

After sadly losing their fixture with Kings CC in the week, the side travelled into the South Downs and to the picturesque ground, a first visit after the only other scheduled match up in 2014 was cancelled.

The glorious setting included a healthy looking pitch, set on the edge of the square immediately adjacent to a sharp decline to a short boundary. High scoring was expected, and with Jon Ford asking the the hosts to bat, Owen Bartlett and David Burke set to work against Sam Armes and Chris Heath.

The ex-captain was struggling for rhythm in his run up caused by a steep incline to the stumps, but both bowlers can take credit to keeping the score to 28 after 8 overs with tight spells, however both batsmen ensured they cashed in fully on any loose deliveries, Bartlett in particular looking fluent, making the most of being dropped behind the stumps early on.

Soon after the first bowling change, the drizzle that had persisted for several minutes strengthened and play was halted with Oakwood Hill 46 without loss. Despite hopes of the delay being a swift one, rain turned to hail and 45 minutes were lost in total and both captains agreed to reduce the match from 40, to 35 overs per side.

Dan Heath and Danyaal Uddin resumed in the now cold and damp conditions, but Pyestock looked slow and runs started to come easier to the home sides openers, so it almost came as a surprise when, in the 18th over, Heath breached the defences of Bartlett to gain Pyestock their first wicket.

Not to be outdone Uddin repeated the trick by bowling replacement James Ewart and suddenly the visitors were back in the game at 77 for 2. Unfortunately the double blow for the hosts failed to disrupt the now fluent Burke, and in finding the perfect partner in Garry Bartlett, the runs really started to flow.

Changing the bowling had little effect as Ben Bromley and Pete Harris not only finished wicketless, but at times were treated with disdain as the boundary was found at regular intervals, without so much of a sniff of giving away their wickets. The scoreboard seemed to race ahead as Jon Ford’s side struggled to maintain control.

The runs continued to flow upon the reintroduction of Chris Heath, Dan Heath and Sam Armes, although the latter did pick up the wicket of Burke, eventually falling for a flawless 88 after picking out Dan Heath on the boundary. Along with Jack Bromley also ousting Bartlett late on, following some safe hands from Pete Harris, some late respectability was added to Pyestock’s cause, despite the total ticking over 200 in the 34th over. Without a doubt however the highlight of the innings came from Jason Ely who executed a perfect ‘switch-hit” drive to the delight of teammates and spectators alike. A truly remarkable shot, seemingly from nowhere.

After tea, the daunting task of trying to find 206 runs needed for victory initially fell on the shoulders of Jon Ford and Jake Baldwin, and after a promising start it came as a blow when Clive Bartlett picked up his first wicket a smart catch as Ford departed in the 4th over for 10.

High hopes rested on the big hitting of Dan Heath, but he too perished early, as immediately after 2 boundaries, mistimed his shot and was well caught at slip. The home side were rightfully delighted as Pyestock fell to 30 for 2.

The in-form Jay Threlfall helped steady the ship, but the bowling change which saw Liam Bartlett introduced disrupted the staying power of Baldwin who became the third wicket of the innings.

Pyestock were losing wickets too quickly, but the re-pairing of last weeks match winning duo rendered hope of a recovery, however a low diving catch at mid-wicket 11 balls later saw Bromley back in the hutch and the away side now in deep trouble. Owen Bartlett quickly added the wickets of lower order batsmen Ben Bromley (1) and Sam Armes (4) and once Charlie Eve was run out first ball, and Threlfall, who really was the only Pyestock player to add any resilience with an enterprising 37, found himself caught to give Jason Ely a wicket, Pyestock were 90 for 8 and the match was done.

Despite the rotation of the bowling, Pyestock had no answers in chasing the total and despite Pete Harris, Danyaal Uddin and Chris Heath delaying the inevitable, Pyestock were bowled out for just 113 in 28.2 overs to meekly surrender by 92 runs.

Other than the result, and an hours worth of adverse weather it was a splendid visit to the welcoming home of Oakwood Hill. It is hoped that a return in 2022 is on the cards, in what will hopefully be a closer contest.

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