GRAYSWOOD opener Dave Soper gave a batting masterclass against near-neighbours Witley in the I’Anson Division? One on Saturday.

Soper shared half-century stands with Rhys Dodson and Alastair Gloak, and then Dave Handley turned a solid score into the start of a rout with a fast 44 out of a further partnership of 80. Soper fell just short of his century, having faced 148 balls for his 96 (19 fours) and Grayswood closed on 239-7.

It was a tough day for the Witley bowlers and only Kurt Lyall (2-26 in 9 overs) was able to keep the batsmen quiet.

Iain Jackson and Cameron Kent (4-26) soon had Witley on the run and when the stubborn Chase Pusey was run out, the visitors were in terminal trouble at 25-7. Spinners Jon Ashworth and James Atkinson finished the job, aided by Dodson’s sharp catching at short-leg, and Witley were shot out for 50 in the 17th over.

Pirbright skipper Ian Milton inserted Grayshott and the decision seemed a good one at 70-5 after 20 overs. Only opener Gary Hunt got the pace of the wicket and he scored a brisk 31 before falling to a superb catch by newcomer Ryland Kelly. But it seems that having five fit and accurate bowlers in this 45-overs format is a must and Pirbright started to struggle as Grayshott’s middle and lower order prospered against friendlier bowling. The visitors recovered to 170-7 after an excellent partnership between Robbie Judge (48) and youngster Kiaran Wells (56). Some clean hitting by Mark Richards pushed the final total to 224-9.

Pirbright reached a solid 23-0 in reply before Alex Marden made the breakthrough, sparking a collapse that saw the home side slip to 36-5 in the space of six overs. Alistair Hancock and Kelly rallied their side, but a run-out led to another flurry of wickets and Pirbright were bowled out for 109. Will Kriehn took 3-31 after Richards (3-19) and Marden (2-17) had done the initial damage.

Blackheath put last week’s shock defeat to Lurgashall behind them and beat Tilford by a convincing 74 runs at the Heath. Blackheath, invited to bat, lost Josh Milton cheaply, but Rob Parrott and Will Melhuish forged an excellent partnership of 131. After Parrott had departed for 68, skying Mitch Brown to the keeper, young Melhuish took centre stage and reached a deserved century before the home team closed on 239-7 – Melhuish 104 not out.

Andy Hall Hall and Nathan Sprittles replied with a solid opening stand for Tilford, putting on 66 in 18 overs. Hall Hall and Mark Ramesar added a further 44 runs, but the former’s dismissal for a fine 78 signalled a dramatic collapse. Third-change Danny Harrison did the main damage with 5-16 in 5.2 overs and Will Melhuish picked up two wickets as Tilford slumped to 165 all out in the 41st over.

Puttenham, the defending I’Anson champions, reeled off a second successive win, but were made to work hard for the points by Dogmersfield. Choosing to bat, Dogmersfield played in their usual expansive style. Opener Malik hit 46 of his 56 runs in boundaries and Imran Choudhary also hit a fast half-century. However, Yamin Raja and the two Ahmeds got amongst the wickets and Dogmersfield went from 140-4 to 169 all out.

Puttenham were in a bit of trouble at 63-3, with Sajad Hussain out for a very rapid 49. But James Crouch (36 not out) had dropped anchor and with forceful contributions from Sohail Awan and Raja, the visitors got home with four wickets intact.

Headley opted to bat first against Frensham, but never really got going after losing two early wickets to Jack Richards. Ray Clarke (1-13 in 7 overs) was his usual parsimonious self, while skipper Sam Farncombe bowled a notable spell, reeling off nine consecutive overs and taking 3-26. George Worman and Zach Benstead put up some late resistance, but Headley were dismissed for an inadequate 101.

Frensham made light work of the modest total. George Breddy led the way with a stylish 31 not out and Tom Charman looked good for his 28 before falling to a spectacular catch by Worman off Benstead who took the only wicket to fall. James Wood joined Breddy and brought the game to an early finish with a quickfire 32 not out.

Lurgashall topped 200 again, but eight of their overs went to waste and Chiddingfold showed their batting strength by easily reaching the target. Conditions were good for batting (Chiddingfold have invested in drainage improvements) and both sides benefited from a number of dropped catches. Drew Clark (55) and Oli Rose (45) had Lurgashall on course for a 250-plus total at one stage, but then wickets tumbled, with newcomer Paul Harrison claiming three, and the visitors suddenly found themselves all out for 206 in the 37th over.

The result was never in doubt as Chiddingfold’s powerful top three – Dean Spencer, Matt Wright and skipper Paul Ward – picked off the bowlers.?Only Aaron Evans made them work for their runs.

Witley resident Harrison, a former professional with Leicestershire and other counties, briefly showed his class in an unbroken partnership with Ward (52 not out) as Chiddingfold strolled home with nine overs to spare.