Grayswood clinch I’Anson Division 1 title – despite falling to defeat
Frimley Phoenix: winners of Division 7
‘Grayswood one win away’ was last week’s headline in the Herald.
However, it transpired that three bonus points were all that were required as they lost at Elstead by three wickets – but still lifted the I’Anson championship.
Headley were busy taking three points off Blackheath which meant Grayswood could not be caught – so with one game to go, Alastair Gloak’s side are champions for the third time in six seasons.
Invited to bat first in tricky conditions, and against tight Elstead bowling, Grayswood were in trouble at 54 for three, with only Ben Jeffrey providing any resistance.
He battled for three hours and found an able partner in Alex Tucker, and between them they added 109 for the fourth wicket which enabled Grayswood to reach 185 at the break – no more than par.
Jeffrey, with 83 off 110 balls, and Tucker, whose 48 came off 74 deliveries, provided the bulk of the runs.
Charlie Bird, Bruce Forbes and Paddy Murphy shared the wickets for Elstead but miserly spells from Chris Terry – whose nine overs cost just 12 runs – and Drew Bird, who conceded 25 runs from his nine overs, were crucial.
The hosts got off to a solid start but lost two quick wickets and at 43 for two the game was evenly poised.
Elstead batted sensibly thereafter and were never behind the run rate.
Terry’s wicket at 77 gave the visitors a point but at 183 for four at the start of the penultimate over the game was over and the points looked decided.
However, you don’t win championships without scrapping for every point and Henry Hind (three for 26) took two wickets to earn another point and a classic leg-side stumping by David Handley off Kent Chapman’s last over saw them to three bonus points, before Elstead hit the winning runs with two balls to spare.
Grayshott, meanwhile, completed the double over former champions Tilford, winning by three wickets at their home ground.
The home side won the toss and put the visitors in but they lost Henry Clinton early on.
Ciaran Rooney then added 55 with Mark Ramesar and another 43 with George Ellis before both fell in quick succession, Rooney top scoring with 58.
Henry Marks and Andy Hall Hall boosted the score with a further 51 before Marks departed for 25, after which Hall Hall carried on, falling just before the innings close for 47 and with Tilford totalling 199 for nine in their 45 overs.
Slow bowlers Toby Joyce and Vishwajith Kalubadanage took three wickets each.
In reply, Grayshott made an excellent start with Mordecai Sachikonye and Steven Saul putting on 87 for the first wicket before both fell quickly having made 45 runs each.
Tilford continued to fight back as three more wickets fell but Luke McBain added 42 with Kalubadanage, who made 23, and then a further 35 with Stuart Kennedy, who ended on 21 not out.
McBain was top scorer with an undefeated 47 and Hall Hall ended with three wickets as Grayshott reached 200 for seven with 11 balls to spare.
Tilford play their last game at home on the Green this Saturday against new champions Grayswood.
Alton kept their Division 5 survival hopes very much alive with a fantastic victory against Grayswood’s third team at the Jubilee Cricket Ground on Saturday.
After being asked to bat by the hosts, Grayswood sent in the experienced pairing of Adrian Kent and Chetan Nittur.
What they probably were not expecting to face was the gentle off breaks of youngster Cam Rhodes from the Railway End.
His control, coupled with the significantly-improved bowling from Alex Freeman after last week’s warnings, put the pair under immediate pressure.
With scoreboard pressure mounting, there was a mix-up and Vishwas Iyer executed the run out of Kent, assisted by Freddie Pattenden, who once again gave a great performance with the gloves.
Rohan Nittur joined his father at the crease and expertly rebuilt the innings, without ever really getting away.
When Ethan Orme removed Nittur senior, caught and bowled, youngster Fergus Middleton took the leading role, hitting some lovely straight drives.
As is often the case with the I’Anson ball, the second spells for the seamers seemed to prove fruitful with Abi Green finding the edge of Middleton and debutant Ben Barwick shortly afterwards enticing Nittur to play a lofted drive straight to Rhodes.
The score of 168 seemed about par, especially with the outfield surprisingly getting slower as the game went on.
Ian Cooper and Rhodes opened the Brewers’ chase and it was the youngster who quickly made his mark with late cuts and deflections combined with excellent pull shots for anything short.
One such shot saw off Nittur senior after only two overs.
Freeman joined Rhodes at the crease after Cooper (12) was caught and bowled by Sam Seddon and quickly set about building a score, in his continuing effort to claim the league batting award.
Rhodes (27) was eventually dismissed by Noah Laybourne which brought the experience of Paul Taylor to the crease.
Taylor (37) and Freeman (62 not out) took the game away from Grayswood and the only matter to be settled was how many losing bonus points the visitors could steal.
Taylor eventually ran out of steam and Grayswood secured their third wicket and the magical first bonus point which could yet have a huge bearing on this relegation battle.
With the Brewers leapfrogging Grayswood and moving out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, the record of the two teams are such there are five combinations of results this week which could leave the two teams on identical averages, points, bonus points and wins – and as both games were 23-1 wins for the home teams, the league administrators may be scratching their heads deciding the fate of the second relegation place.
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