TILFORD 3rd XI failed to put the icing on the cake of a title-winning season in I’Anson Division Seven when they fell short in an exciting run-chase against Churt III at the Green.

Churt amassed 208-9, thanks to the batting of the Crane brothers, Ben and Matt. Ben hit a powerful 91 and Matt followed up with 55 before being run out by a direct hit from the boundary by Tom Bussell.

Earlier, Ian Fosten’s superb opening spell of 3-24 had reduced Churt to 4-3, all three wickets falling to diving catches by the bowler. Vinoth Ravi (2-19 off 9 overs) was equally miserly, but Tilford were unable to stem the flow of runs in the middle overs.

Tilford lost a wicket in the first over, but Phil Knight (24) counter-attacked and with Justin Sbresni anchoring the innings, the chase looked on at 87-2 off 17 overs and later 130-3 off 28 overs.

But the loss of key wickets and accurate Churt bowling in the fading light caused Tilford to stutter, despite the excellence of Sbresni who was finally run out for 67.

It has been an impressive season for the newly-formed Tilford 3rd XI, with several players returning to league cricket after long absences.

After Saturday’s game, Tilford were presented with the new Adrian Bunting Cup by I’Anson secretary Gill Rooney.

Alton IV hosted Blackheath III, needing a win to retain a chance of finishing second in Division Six. It was also the last game for Rob Crook and son Sam as the family are emigrating to Australia after 18 years at the club. Rob is the top run-scorer for Alton fourths this season.

Asked to bat, Alton posted 191-5, with Ali Wright making an unbeaten 57 and Crook Snr scoring 39. This always looked too many for Blackheath who were bowled out for 120, with Martin Green taking 4-6. Alton must now win their final game of the season, but they have to play the champions away.

Shane Carrington scored 101 not out for Tongham II as the champions piled up 237-8 against Headley III. But Headley came within 12 runs of victory, with Ben Homewood (66) and Max Sebastian-Todd (49 not out) leading the charge.

There were two other centurions. Richard Stemp made 108 for Midhurst II who lost by five runs to Brook II. Also in Division Seven, Sam Francis, batting at number 6, hit 100 not out as Kingsley II plundered 283-7 against Grayswood IV who posted 209-6 in reply.