I’Anson top sides foiled by tailenders

Friday 22nd June 2018 7:00 am
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Iain Jackson top-scored for Grayswood with 77 and then made an early breakthrough when Chiddingfold batted. (photo Antony Ainslie) ()

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TILFORD’S last-wicket pair of Denis Hounsham and Geoff Coombe survived 26 balls to frustrate Frensham in the I’Anson Division One on Saturday.

Similarly, Chiddingfold batted out 50 overs to deny Grayswood victory. The only winners in the top division were Blackheath, who were made to work hard for the points by Headley.

Tilford captain Jason Stones won the toss for the first time this year and duly put Frensham in. George Breddy and Charlie Robertson began brightly for the visitors and it took a terrific running catch by Matt Cook to dismiss Breddy for 45 (out of an opening stand of 56).

The run-rate continued to increase, with Robertson making 41 and the aggressive Leon Ellen hitting 49 off 30 balls, including three sixes.

After 47 overs, Sam Farncombe declared at 204-8, Huw Town-Jones taking 4-74 in 13 overs and Geoff Coombe 2-37 in 11 rather more economical overs.

Nigel Martyn, promoted to opener, lasted only 10 balls and Tilford were struggling at 57-3 after 16 overs.

A partnership of 67 between opener Joel Burrows and Jake Austin repaired the damage. But both went in quick succession, Austin for a 28-ball 48 and Burrows for 51 (80 balls). Both fell to Farncombe who, in between, bowled Cook for a duck.

Farncombe then wrecked the innings with his spin, taking 5-25 in 10 overs, and Frensham were poised for victory at 156-9.

However, they could not dislodge the gritty Hounsham and Coombe and Tilford clawed their way to 162-9 from 43 overs.

Grayswood, inserted by Chiddingfold, gave their near-neighbours plenty of ball-chasing as they rattled up 227-5 declared after only 40 overs.

An opening partnership of 65 between Iain Jackson and Paul Gillespie established the innings. Alex Tucker then shared a stand of 59 with Jackson who was run out for 77 (96 balls) and at 153-3, the stage was set for James Atkinson to accelerate the already brisk run-rate.

Atkinson raced to 67 off 38 balls, hitting seven fours and three sixes, and enabled Alastair Gloak to make his early declaration.

Chiddingfold were an unpromising 9-2 after early wickets for Jackson and Cameron Kent, but Paul Ward and Matt Barnett (24) stopped the rot and set in motion a long rearguard action.

When Jon Ashworth broke the stand during a remorselessly accurate spell of spin (2-8 in 10 overs), the champions seemed certain to win the game as Jackson, Kent and Henry Hind took further wickets and Chiddingfold were eventually 102-9 with plenty of overs remaining.

But Ward was still there and he found a staunch ally in number 11 Archie Spicer who kept out 40 balls for his 18 not out.

Ward remained undefeated on 55, having faced 124 balls, and after their 50 overs, Grayswood were 148-9 and two points to the good.

Conditions were good for batting at Brook and Dogmersfield, electing to bat, kept the spectators well entertained as they amassed 251-5 in typically attacking style.

The Rajas were again in the runs (Z Raja 61), as were the Khans (R Khan 51) and a final flourish by Samad Ayoubi (40 not out) and Imran Choudhary gave the visitors what looked an unassailable total.

The omens were not good for Brook as Samad Ayoubi then clean-bowled Nick Jackman and skipper Tom Williams for not many runs, but Paul Challinor led an excellent recovery, supported first by opener Ed Bishop (25) and then by Robin Hudson (38).

Alex Johns did his bit with 42 and the home side had the victory target in sight, when the persevering Samad (3-49) returned to bowl Challinor for a superb 95.

Brook were 238-6 after their 45 overs, just 14 runs short of victory.

Headley, invited to bat, lost their openers cheaply to Rob Weston and Archie Freeth and Blackheath were cockahoop at 4-2.

Skipper George Ellis (49) and Gavin Arend (40) batted positively, however, and defied a strong bowling attack with a partnership of 92.

None of the other batsmen were able to score freely, although Mike Constantaras and George Worman showed stickability. Alex Bertola took 4-40, spinner Mitch O’Dwyer picked up 3-18, and Headley were bowled out for 151 in the 46th over.

Matt Hall (3-35) then bowled a lively opening spell and, at 42-3, Blackheath had plenty of work to do.

Opener Rob Parrott shouldered the responsibility with another fine innings, sharing a decisive stand of 63 with skipper Peter Melhuish. Parrott was eventually fifth man out for 64 (115 balls), leaving Josh Milton and Bertola to put the final touches to Blackheath’s fourth win of the season.

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