LITTLE was riding on Saturday’s match, with Churt already champions and Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian safely in mid-table, but pride was at stake and Dan Higgins’ men were determined to leave the Surrey Championship Division Four on a winning note.
Sent into the field and short on seamers, Churt entrusted the new ball to Greg Talbot and 16-year-old Matt Crane. The youngster bowled seven overs for just 18 runs and the visitors moved cautiously to 43 before Talbot made the breakthrough in the 17th over.
Richard Piggin and Savion Lara, a cousin of the great Brian, moved the score rapidly to 107-1, but Robbie Chhabra’s dismissal of Piggin sparked a collapse and Trinity lost six wickets for just seven runs to spinners Ben Mitchell (9-4-13-4) and Rowley Marshall (8.3-2-16-3).
Churt held their catches and Trinity were all out for a modest 138 after 47.3 overs.
The wicket was giving low bounce, but Will Hucker and Dan Higgins put on 50 without offering a chance until the captain cut off-spinner Gunjal Patel too fine and was caught behind.
Hucker soon followed, but the game was destined for an early finish as Toby Finneran batted like a man possessed, mixing attractive stroke-play with brute strength.
The normally dominant Mitchell contributed one run to a stand of 54 and then Jon Palmer supported Finneran as Churt powered to a seven-wicket victory in the 24th over.
Finneran finished the game with his sixth six, having struck 77 not out from just 49 balls. It was Churt’s 13th win of the season.
Higgins steps down as captain after three eventful seasons and back-to-back titles. He took over after Churt had been relegated two seasons running. In his first season, Churt finished ninth and only avoided dropping out of the Surrey Championship by virtue of Pyrford folding.
Superb individual performances, but, above all, an excellent team spirit and work ethic has been behind Churt’s remarkable recovery. Encouragingly, many of the key players have come through the club’s junior ranks.
Dan Higgins said: “I’d like to thank all those who have made my tenure as enjoyable as it has been. I look forward to Churt continuing to go from strength to strength next season in Division Three.”