WITLEY and Grayswood are close geographically, but there is currently a yawning gulf between them on the cricket field.
Witley slumped to their 11th defeat in 11 matches on Saturday, while Grayswood chalked up their 11th win in 12 games to retain their lead in the I’Anson Division?One.
The bottom side got off to a decent start after being inserted by Alastair Gloak and a solid base was established at 40-1 from 17 overs. However, Harvey Nash struck twice in three balls in the 18th over, and the game swung inexorably towards the leaders.
A fifth-wicket stand of 32 between George Dale and Jimmy Hill briefly gave hope of a revival, but the late order collapsed to Jon Ashworth and Henry Hind and Witley went from 78-4 to 88 all out in the 33rd over.
Left-arm spinner Ashworth was simply too good for the batsmen and took 5-20 in 10.2 overs.
Grayswood went off at five an over and although Chase Pusey trapped Iain Jackson in front, this only brought together Tom Barnardo and Rhys Dodson in a 58-run partnership that sealed the victory.
A double wicket-maiden from Adam Keane gave the scoreboard a slightly better look for the home side before Dodson hit the winning boundary to complete his half-century.
Pirbright, after back-to-back losses to high-riding opponents, beat Dogmersfield and leapfrogged them into eighth place. Ian Milton put the visitors in on a dry track at the Gardens on the Green and it proved a good decision as his opening bowlers ran in with serious intent. Aman Khan’s first over was truly dramatic as two fours and a dropped catch were followed by a superb delivery that cut back to bowl Patan.
The rampant Aman then took a further four wickets in as many overs to leave Dogmersfield in disarray at 27-5. The visitors continued to bat with their usual freedom, but no-one stayed for long and they were dismissed for 84 in little more than 19 overs. Aman Khan recorded outstanding figures of 10-2-25-7 and the other wickets were shared by Ryland Kelly and Ian Milton. Pirbright looked sharp in the field, with Jonathan Swinney taking a brilliant slip catch.
Dogmersfield were not finished, though. Skipper Miraj Shinwari bowled Swinney in the first over and although James Thompson and Ivan Wright then batted solidly to take the score to 34, the pacey Shinwari (5-38) caused another wobble and, in fact, took all the wickets to fall. However, Robbie Jones scored a typically brisk 34 not out to see Pirbright home in the 18th over.
Andy Wheble, only an occasional bowler these days, produced an inspired spell to turn the game Grayshott’s way after Blackheath had got themselves in a strong position. Put in on a parched wicket, Grayshott made an awful start against Ben Taylor who snapped up the first three wickets to have the home side 18-3. Hugh Jolly then took two wickets and Grayshott were teetering at 61-5.
Nathan Phillimore (39) and Matt Jackson stopped the rot with a partnership of 45. Spinner Will Melhuish (4-61) worked his way through the late order, but Jackson’s 47 and valuable contributions from Kiaran Wells (25 not out) and the tail saw Grayshott to a competitive 173 all out in the 48th over.
Blackheath began badly (24-2) against Mark Richards, but then seemed well on their way to a much-needed win as Josh Milton and Harry Giles added 95 for the third wicket. After several bowling changes, Stuart Kennedy turned to Wheble and the veteran turned the game on its head by taking 4-14 in six overs, dismissing Giles for 46. Richards returned to bowl Milton for 52 and Chris Brophy removed the tail to leave Blackheath all out for 155, just 19 short of victory.
A second straight defeat for Puttenham who fell well short of Chiddingfold’s 246 all out in 47 overs. Given first use of a flat track, Chiddingfold scored heavily through their top five. Matt Wright and Dean Spencer posted 73 for the first wicket and Wright went on to a fine 85, including 13 fours and a six. Imran Khan checked the home side by taking 5-39, while Seamus Leonard claimed five catches behind the stumps.
Puttenham were well in contention at 130-5, with Adrian Van Niekerk making 44. James Crouch and Aks Ilyas threatened to play match-winning innings, but both fell to Ben Evans who bowled another telling spell of spin. Paul Hundley (11-5-26-4) returned to take his fourth wicket and Evans bowled last man ‘Sid’ Ahmed to leave Puttenham all out for 155 in the 38th over.
Frensham, having dismissed Witley for 62 the week before, looked to be doing something similar to Lurgashall as Jack Richards and spinners Tim Knight and Ray Clarke took wickets regularly. However, number 9 Paul White decided attack was the best form of defence and hit a breezy 62 to give his side something to bowl at, Lurgashall reaching 161 all out in the 46th over.
It was not enough to seriously extend the visitors. Aaron Carter did strike early, but George Breddy (44) and Jordan Frost (47) were quickly into their stride. Frensham coasted to a third successive victory with more than four overs to spare and with five wickets in hand.