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Match Report: Peper Harow (A)1

Close Finish See’s Pyestock Bowlers

Pepering Batsmen, who endure Harowing Experience


Peper Harow CC Vs Pyestock CC

Sunday 1st July 2012

Weather Conditions: Drizzle early on, Breezy, Sunnier later on

Pitch Conditions: Wicket: Green, damp. Outfield: Short, Dry.


Pyestock Cricket Club continued their near total dominance over their fixture list this week with a 134 run victory over old friends Peper Harow.

A 45 minute rain delay shortened the days play however it was not short enough to stop Pyestock securing their sixth straight win, a feat not achieved by the club in over 15 years.

As big as the winning margin was, this was far from an easy win however, with the hosts falling 1 over short from a draw that would have ended Neil Butler’s sides impressive run.

Losing the toss and batting for the first time this season, Pyesock started in the damp conditions cautiously. The first 4 overs of the match gave Peper Harow, captained by old adversary Steve Bradley a fine start with openers Crawford and Elson removing Jon Ford (0) and Vaughan Newcombe (1) to leave Pyestock stunned at 19 for 2.

Colin Butler joined Glenn Taylor at the crease and a recovery was just starting to appear through the July drizzle when Colin slapped the ball straight at Saunders to give Crawford his second wicket.

Unusually for Pyestock, wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, although the run-rate remained good at roughly 5 an over. Glen was caught for a handy 45 from just 34 balls, and Mike Carpenter bowled for 4 to give Bradley 2 deserved wickets. Bennett then clean bowled Billy Leader for 16 and the game was completely in the balance at 86 for 6.

Regular bowling changes by the home side continued to keep Dan Heath and Neil Butler guessing, but both seemed able to weather the attack as the runs continued to flow. Both batsmen were settling in comfortably and helped Pyestock to a target score that was looking far easier to defend.

In the 27th over, however, Dan managed to injure his knee, and with restricted movement was unsurprisingly dismissed, bowled by Bennett for 24. Bennett soon followed this up with an outrageous run out, cutting Chris Heath’s innings short with a superb throw to reduce Pyestock to 137 for 8.

Neil was next to fall, caught by Cornell for 24, which left the final pairing of Chris McGovern and Jack Bromley. A pair that has collectively scored 166 runs for Pyestock this season. This was to show as they batted anything like a typical number 10 and 11 adding 38 runs in 5.4 overs before Chris was stumped to end the innings. Pyestock had scored 182 and were bowled out for the first time since the match Vs Kings on the 13th May.

Peper Harow’s reply probably couldn’t have got off to a worse start.

With only the 5th ball of the innings, Anderton was struck on the back leg with a full ball from Chris Heath and a huge appeal was enough to convince the umpire that the opener should be dismissed.  The umpire however needed no say with the following ball, an in-swinging gem took the bails clean off the stumps to leave the home side 1 for 2, Smithies in shock and Chris in wonderland.

A period of consolidation was required and Peper Harow slowly stumbled back to their feet, chief tormentor D.Saunders proving as stubborn as ever, now joined by new partner Elson, who was also proving a tricky customer.

With the shortened game due to the earlier rain delay, Neil Butler had to act to get the win he wanted. Removing Billy Leader from the attack having only conceded 6 runs in 5 overs was tough, but justified given Peper Harow had all but given up on the run chase. However before replacement Dan Heath had a chance to get his hands on the ball, Chris had snatched his and Pyestocks 3rd wicket, Elson, unlucky to faintly edge the ball straight into the path of middle stump.

The last ball of this over also produced probably the turning point of this match. Replacing the departed Elson was Captain Steve Bradley, who will never give his wicket away cheaply, and really was the main target for Pyestock from this moment inwards. With a huge amount of luck for the visitors a ball played into the off side by Saunders created a confusion of calling and allowed Colin Butler to gather the ball, take aim and fire to run out the stranded Bradley by a yard.

With the score at 17 for 4, Pyestock now knew victory was in their sights, and with Peper Harow giving every effort to preserve their remaining 6 wickets, the finale to this match was going to be a thrilling ordeal of cat and mouse.

Unfortunately for the home side and Saunders in particular, the middle order appeared to lack the same resolve shown by the young opener as he remained as solid as he ever needed to be, whilst Choudhary and Cornell, instead tried to attack the bowling and only fell all too cheaply for what was needed leaving Saunders and surely other team-mates frustrated.

Bennett came in at number 8 for the hosts and played very well against the bamboozling spin of Dan Heath and pace of Jack Bromley. As the field closed in, and the overs ticked down, both he and Saunders remained solid, and appeared to be closing the game out.

10 overs remained, the score moved on to 43 for 6 and Pyestock looked to be running out of ideas, until Neil Butler played his joker card. Bringing himself on for Jack at the pavilion end of the ground produced a swashbuckling first over to push the game firmly into his side’s hands. Firstly an in-swinging beauty completely deceived Bennett, who, reluctant to play a shot hesitated while the ball rapped the pads. Easiest LBW decision of the season, and the umpire agreed. Two balls later and another wicket newcomer Jones edging straight at third slip Colin Butler who gratefully received the invitation to add to his earlier run out.

9 overs left now, and 2 wickets standing between a battling Peper Harow rear-guard draw, and a convincing Pyestock victory. At this stage, no-one would have begrudged either side what they desired. Dan continued to toil away with seemingly no luck from the far end of the ground, while Neil produced 2 further maiden overs, to keep the batsmen on their toes. The fielders encroached on the batsmen, almost claustrophobically, prowling for the edge and the catch that could swing the match once again in their favour.

The overs continued to tick down, the scoreboard seemed to freeze apart from the continual reduction in the overs. With only 4 left Captain Neil Butler rolled his final dice of the afternoon,  opting to re-introduce Billy Leader to the attack. It was a brave move, Billy hadn’t picked up a wicket, while others had, but Billy has an added unpredictability that others sometimes lack, this wasn’t the time for a “line and length” bowler, Glenn McGrath wouldn’t have even got a bowl at this stage.

All faith went on Billy and the 2 overs he had left to produce the goods. His first was... ok, not great, opener Saunders was not put under enough pressure and soaked up the over with ease before poaching the single of the last ball to protect Crawford and keep the strike.

3 overs left. Dan produces a solid over, finished off superbly by tying up Saunders and keeping him out of harm’s way. Billy now had a full over at Crawford to try and force a last gasp win.

2nd ball of the over and eruption amongst the fielders as Billy produces a beautiful yorker to bowl Crawford. 48 for 9 and with 10 ball of the game remaining Saunders is joined by his father. A few words of advice are exchanged as everyone settles back down. It was felt all round that the following 4 balls of Billy’s over are the crucial point as it was unlikely Saunders would be moved after a full 33 overs at the crease.

The last ball of Billys over produced the winning moment, again a sublime Yorker, proving too good for Peper Harows  last man and giving Pyestock a win that looked very comfortable on the scoreboard, but in reality was just about as close as they come. Opener Saunders finished 21 not out and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side, however Pyestock generally bowled superbly to see off his other 10 team-mates and clinch a nail-biting victory.


Pyestock CC 182 All Out

Peper Harow CC 48 All out

Pyestock CC win by 134 runs

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