GEORGE Ellis scored 138 not out as Headley beat Blackheath to ensure safety in I’Anson Division?One before the final round of matches this weekend.
The victory means that Headley can afford to lose to champions Grayswood and still survive, even if Chiddingfold manage to beat Grayshott in their final fixture.
Brook overcame Dogmersfield, but it was only their third win of the campaign. Strongly fancied to retain their place in the top division after successive promotions through the competition, Brook go back down alongside Chiddingfold.
Grayshott and Blackheath fight it out for runners-up spot behind Grayswood, the runaway, still unbeaten champions.
Two mid-table sides, Frensham and Tilford, featured in an extraordinary tied match at Hollowdene. Frensham turned the game around by taking ten wickets for 45 runs as the visitors fell away from a seemingly impregnable position.
The result followed another league tie between the two teams in June last year.
Frensham decided to bat first and Ben Maxwell played on to the first ball from Huw Town-Jones. Tom Charman was dismissed in Jake Austin’s first over, but Leon Ellen counter-attacked with a swift 53, including three sixes, and shared a partnership of 59 with James Wood.
Jason Stones, coming on second change, then cut into the middle order with a spell of 4-25 in nine overs, reducing Frensham to 105-7 before Sam Charman and Sam Farncombe – a useful number 11 – thrashed some late runs to lift the total to 164-9 – certainly competitive on a drying wicket.
In contrast, Tilford openers Chris Wilson and Martin Cantwell experienced few alarms as they cautiously accumulated runs. Cantwell reached 56 before holing out to Farncombe after a partnership of 119 and although Austin fell to the next ball, Tilford seemed well on their way at 119-2.
But runs dried up as the bowlers ramped up the pressure. Tim Knight bowled a tight spell and finally removed Wilson for 54 with his final ball. The result was suddenly in doubt at 153-6.
Sam Charman and Maxwell took further wickets and Tilford, with their last pair at the crease, eventually needed five from the last over, to be bowled by Sam Charman. The scores were level with three balls to go, but with his fourth delivery, Charman had Stones caught by wicketkeeper Adam Pailing. Match tied, six points apiece.
Headley’s decision to bat first at Blackheath paid rich dividends as they amassed 293-3. Callum Hawtin (54 in 84 balls) and skipper Ellis put on 136 for the second wicket and the run-rate really took off as Gavin Arend struck 61 off 53 balls in a partnership of 122. Ellis hit 22 fours and his 138 runs came from just 113 balls, while Blackheath gave all ten outfielders a bowl.
Tight opening spells by Matt Hall and Mike Constantaras (3-32) made sure that Blackheath would never get near the target. Although eight batsmen reached double figures, Pete Melhuish’s 29 was the top score. Batting ten men, Blackheath were dismissed for 177.
Brook gave one of their best performances to beat Dogmersfield, but it was not enough to spare them the drop. The visitors piled up 248-8 in their 45 overs, with Rhodri Williams (42) and Nick Jackman (34) sharing a good second-wicket partnership and then number 7 Andrew Davies hitting a rapid 57 not out.
Dogmersfield were routed by the bowling of Alex Serrano who took 7-50 in nine overs. Jackman and Serrano held excellent catches and only a spirited effort by tailenders Jamal and Shinwari got Dogmersfield up to 108.
Grayswood have set their sights on being the I’Anson ‘invincibles’ this season and Chiddingfold were on the receiving end as the champions recorded win number 12 out of 14 matches. The prolific Tom Barnardo (82) and Graham Dooling (32) took the visitors from 69-3 to 145-4 and although the bowlers stuck to their task (Tom Gleave 4-40), a final flourish by Jon Ashworth (2 sixes) left Chiddingfold to chase 235.
Opening bowlers Cameron Kent and Iain Jackson snuffed out any sort of challenge. Paul Ward made 36, but the change-bowlers did their job, Ashworth taking 3-43, and Chiddingfold were dismissed for 145.
Put in by Grayshott, Puttenham were well short of a competitive score at 99-5, but James Crouch found batting form with 70 not out and the home team posted 211-8.
Aks Ilyas and ‘Sid’ Ahmed (3-30) then reduced Grayshott to 6-2 and then 21-3 before Matt Jackson and Josh Berry (35) mounted a fightback. But Puttenham rang the bowling changes to good effect and Grayshott were all out for 151 in the 42nd over.