GRAYSWOOD moved ever nearer to a third I’Anson championship with their win over Headley on Saturday.
With a 22-point lead over Grayshott and just three games to play, it’s difficult to see anything other than another title for Grayswood – champions in 2012 and 2013 – and the issue could even be settled this Saturday if Alastair Gloak’s side win at Pirbright and things go badly for Grayshott who host lowly Witley, fresh from victory over Frensham.
Headley, opting to bat first, were ruthlessly dissected by the Grayswood attack. At 38-3, with George Ellis brilliantly taken at slip by Jon Ashworth, the visitors were tottering. Marc Hawtin and Harry Clarke offered the last defiance of any significance before Henry Hind bowled Hawtin for top score of 17.
Andy Gloak, Hind and Ashworth each took three cheap wickets and Headley were all out for 82 in the 34th over.
Matt Hall bowled Iain Jackson in the first over, but Cameron Kent was soon driving sweetly and made 23 of the 27 runs scored before tea. On the restart, Hall produced a fast yorker to remove Kent, but this only brought in Alex Tucker who hit seven boundaries in a rapid 35 not out. He and Rhys Dodson completed the formalities in 20 overs.
Puttenham, missing a number of key players, suffered the indignity of being shot out for 53 in reply to Grayshott’s 197-5. Sid Ahmed was difficult to get away and James Crouch bowled a hostile spell, but at 95-2, after the spade-work of Andy Wheble (46), Gary Hunt and Neil Moseley, Grayshott were ready to kick on and Matt Jackson’s free-scoring 48 not out took the home side to a total they were confident of defending.
Mark Richards removed Puttenham’s top three for 26, leaving the combination of Dom Ford and Chris Brophy to dismantle the rest of the batting.
Ford took five wickets for the 1st XI for the first time and figures of 5-21 in seven overs testified to his improved accuracy. Richards claimed 3-7 from five destructive overs.
Witley hardly looked like pulling off an upset as they stuttered to 63-7 against some very tight Frensham bowling. Only 16 overs remained at that stage, but a counter-attacking partnership of 78 between Jamie Rawlinson and Charlie Hunt transformed the game. Hunt hit six boundaries in his 33 before being caught off Sam Charman, but the tail continued to wag as Rawlinson and Chris Munday plundered 30 off the last three overs, taking Witley to a challenging 171-8.
Rawlinson hit two sixes in his run-a-ball 56 not out and it was his first half-century in Division?One. Sam Farncombe returned fine figures of 3-21 in nine overs.
The home bowlers were straight at Frensham and Ollie Hickman struck twice in the sixth over to give his side an excellent start. Kurt Lyall then bowled dangerman George Breddy (16-3) and Frensham were soon reduced to 25-4.
The visitors recovered to 50-5 at the 20-over mark, but the bowlers really turned the screw and conceded only 17 runs in the next 10 overs, leaving Frensham needing seven an over from the last 15. Nick Cobbold and young Freddie Wilson (29) added 49 in a spirited eighth-wicket stand, but Frensham were eventually all out for 137 in the 44th over. All the bowlers returned good figures, skipper Hickman standing out with 3-19 from his nine overs.
Pirbright were inserted by Chiddingfold and the second-wicket pair of Awais Khan and Ian Milton did their best to see off the new ball. They almost did so, putting on 40 in 18 overs, but the final ball of Nick Harman’s spell sneaked through skipper Milton’s defence. Rupert Howe then struck an attractive 43, clearing the boundary with a number of sixes. Dean Burditt chipped in with 21 not out and after 45 overs Pirbright totalled what looked a competitive 144-6.
They needed to get Paul Harrison cheaply to make it truly competitive, but, fatally, they dropped him more than once and the former Leicestershire player made them pay with a classy 50 before falling to Burditt. Skipper Paul Ward gave good support and the hard-hitting Matt Barnett, with Tony King in support, saw Chiddingfold to a five-wicket victory in the 32nd over.
Dogmersfield beat Blackheath by 15 runs in a high-scoring and close-fought match. Having elected to bat, Dogmersfield handed out some heavy punishment to the visiting bowlers, Imran Choudhary leading the way with a cavalier 92 off 86 balls, including 15 fours and two sixes. Arshad Dilawar and the late order also weighed in as the hosts posted 248 all out in 43 overs.
Peter Melhuish emerged from the onslaught with 3-30 in eight overs and it was the Blackheath captain who led the fightback after Imran had taken two quick wickets. Melhuish (44) and Harry Giles shared a fine stand and Giles was steering his side towards victory when he finally fell to Shinwari for 75. Blackheath came up just short on 233-8.