Since losing to leaders Grayswood on the opening day of the season, Grayshott have won five in a row and are showing every sign of being serious championship contenders.
Asked to bat by Paul Ward, they responded with a second-wicket partnership of 130 between Wheble and James Cavannagh. The latter was eventually yorked by Neil Garrett for 42 and when veteran Wheble, showing signs of fatigue after completing a measured hundred, was bowled having a swipe at Nick Harman, the visitors were an impressive 187-3.
However, excellent bowling by Paul Hundley (6-21) got Chiddingfold back into the game. The last seven wickets tumbled for 30 runs and a total of 217 looked very gettable on this ground.
But Alex Marden and Mark Richards tore into Chiddingfold’s strong top order. Young Marden claimed the vital scalp of Dean Spencer, while first-change Danny Brown maintained the pressure with a tight spell. Wickets were hard to come by, with eight batsmen reaching double figures, but skipper Stuart Kennedy claimed four victims in a meaningful spell and when Hundley was caught in the deep for a defiant 28, Grayshott had pouched another 12 points. Chiddingfold were all out for 145.
Grayswood captain Alastair Gloak chose to bat first at Blackheath and his confidence proved well justified as his batsmen ran up 270-7 in the 45 overs. There was no respite for a weakened home attack as an opening partnership of 104 between the solid Dave Soper (49) and more forceful Tom Barnardo (60) was followed by a 24-ball half-century, including three sixes, from Andy Major. Rob Parrott picked up three wickets, but Blackheath were set an unlikely run chase.
The target looked even more distant when they were 12-2. Opener Richard Gray dug in to make 51 out of 85 before falling to Rhys Dodson. Alex Bertola weighed in with a typically pugnacious 47, but the result was never in doubt and Blackheath were bowled out for 153 in the 35th over.
Promoted Lurgashall have been batting well, despite a run of defeats, but were crushed by ten wickets at Dogmersfield. Put in to bat, the visitors were dismissed for just 116 in 37.1 overs, with Drew Clark, Dan Bolton and Darren Hodd all getting out in the 20s. Dogmersfield used their varied attack skilfully, with Arshad Dilawar (3-11) and Nick Berridge (2-11) making short work of the late order.
Dogmersfield chased down the target with the greatest of ease. Clark pulled up injured after only three balls and, thereafter, Lurgashall’s bowlers could make little impression on openers Imran Choudhary (68 not out) and Sunny Dhanyal (40 not out) who knocked off the runs in 21.1 overs.
A powerful Tilford side elected to bat at Headley and the decision was vindicated as openers Andy Hall Hall and Rick Seabrook put on 106. Hall Hall played with freedom and nice timing to reach his fifth successive fifty before being caught behind off the accurate Stuart Smith. Seabrook then took a more aggressive role and reached 70 before falling to young Charlie Neville who deserved better reward on his first-team.
At 173-3, Headley’s aim was damage-limitation, but Jake Austin was rampant with 54 not out off 31 balls (one six disrupted a bowls game, another scattered the balcony) and Tilford amassed 252-5, with 20 runs coming from the last over.
Headley struggled to get going against a miserly attack and the situation was not helped when 15-year-old Neville had to retire with a groin injury. They had hope while Harry Clarke and George Ellis were sharing a 50 partnership, but Nigel Martyn broke through and Austin followed up with a flurry of wickets. Only skipper Ellis was able to score freely and his dismissal for a 33-ball 49, playing onto Austin, signalled the end for Headley. Guy Wilson ending the game with a superb one-handed catch off his own bowling. Headley all out for 137.
Witley remain rooted to the foot of the table after losing to Pirbright who recorded a second successive win. It looked good for the visitors at first as Mark White (25) and Chase Pusey (22) saw off Pirbright’s opening attack. But change-bowlers Rupert Howe (3-20) and Awais Khan wreaked havoc and Witley plunged to 101 all out in 31 overs, Awais finishing with 4-8 in 4.4 overs.
Kurt Lyall claimed an early wicket when Pirbright replied, but this only brought in Robbie Jones to play one of his murderous innings. The number 3 savaged the bowlers for 77 not out, including four sixes and eight fours, and Pirbright raced to a seven-wicket victory in 18 overs.
Frensham hoped to restrict Puttenham to under 200 after removing the top six, with Sam Farncombe taking three wickets, but a hard-hitting 43 from Ahsan Ahmed (3 sixes) and Kashif Hussain (31) propelled the home side to 212 all out in the 45th over.
Only James Wood (32) got going as Frensham’s top order failed and they looked set for a crushing defeat at 82-8. Tim Knight (23 not out) and Richard Elliot (23) then put up spirited resistance with a stand of 58 until James Crouch held a return catch. Ahsan Awan ran out Ray Clarke and Frensham were dismissed for 144 in the 40th over.