AN over-active spring disrupted the start of Grayswood’s season, but they had a spring in their step last weekend as they completed a successful defence of the I’Anson Cup with a crushing victory over Grayshott, their nearest rivals.

The overactive spring that flooded their outfield prevented Grayswood playing a match until May 19, but since then Alastair Gloak’s men have reeled off ten wins in 12 matches, with two draws and no defeats.

Saturday’s demolition of Grayshott only confirmed what everyone has known all season, that Grayswood are far and away the best side in the league.

They are champions with three games to spare and the club – relative newcomers to the competition (admitted 1996, although a former club competed fitfully between the wars) ­ have now twice recorded back-to-back championships. They were winners in 2012 and 2013 and have repeated the feat in 2017 and 2018. Four titles in seven years. That’s approaching the sort of dominance that Rowledge enjoyed in the 1980s (champions 1980-85) and Frensham in the 1990s (champions 1995-97).

On Saturday, Grayswood were able to celebrate being champions on the pitch. The previous three titles had only been confirmed after hearing of other results on the wire, or due to an abandoned match. The celebrations apparently continued into the early hours. Success and failure means a lot to these Grayswood cricketers – as could be seen by their bitter disappointment at losing to Blackheath in the Stevens Cup final last month.

On Saturday, Gary Hunt won what seemed a good toss and inserted Grayswood on a wicket still wet after heavy rain on Friday. Forty-five overs later, the home side had 269 runs on the board.

Dave Soper, playing his first innings since being injured in April, made up for lost time and shared a superb opening stand of 145 with Iain Jackson. Soper contributed a judicious 67 off 104 balls, while Jackson – easily the side’s top scorer this season – raced to 108 at almost a run-a-ball. It was only the second Division One century by a Grayswood batsman since 2015.

Jonny Dow then supported skipper Gloak (41 not out off 26 balls) as Grayswood again blasted 100 runs off the last 10 overs and 50 off the last four. It was not that Grayshott bowled badly – Danny Brown deserved better reward for nine tight overs – but that, on the law of averages, at least one of Grayswood’s powerful top order will play a major innings.

As if he had not been involved enough, Jackson took the new ball and bowled James Cavannagh with his second delivery. He then had Hunt and Nathan Phillimore caught and when Cameron Kent dismissed Matt Jackson, the visitors were a parlous 21-4.

Josh Berry and Charlie Fry counter-attacked for a while, only to fall to the wiles of Jon Ashworth.

The veteran left-arm spinner ran through the rest of the batting, assisted by Dave Handley behind the stumps. Diving efforts by Dow and Soper stood out amongst the seven catches held by Grayswood. Grayshott were bowled out for 92 in 25 overs, the champions winning by 177 runs – you can’t get more convincing than that.

Alastair Gloak has put a strong emphasis on team spirit, trusting in his players’ ability to perform. Like his predecessor, old brother Andy, he has shown a knack for making things happen in the field.

He had a stark warning for the other clubs on Saturday night: “No slacking off, we go the season unbeaten and win a bloody Stevens Cup next year.”