The final game of the 2016 season was played on Saturday, with the Shotts safely placed in mid-table with little prospect of moving up or down.
Grayshott won the toss and elected to bowl on a slightly damp looking pitch, with an outfield that could do with a trim. The opening attack of Alex Marden and Charlie Tuffin struggled a little with the slopes, and Wrecclesham opener Matt Parkinson made the most of it by blasting his way to a quick fire 44. Alex was unlucky – the hill playing havoc with his run up – and he actually took two wickets from no balls.
The introduction of the ever reliable Danny Brown changed the game. His nagging accuracy and clever changes of pace immediately had the batsmen in trouble. 3 quick wickets – Harris, Bate and the dangerous Mitch Brown – got the Shotts in the game. Ravi Rajapaske struck some excellent shots in his partnership with opener Parkinson, and Wrecclesham were scoring at a great rate, but could they keep the wickets in hand?
Brown again struck in a cluster, taking Parkinson, Cooray and Vasey in the same over, and suddenly he had the first 6 wickets. A clever change of pace got through Rajapaske, and when Hogg and Boniface followed shortly afterwards, Grayshott could sense a potentially history making afternoon. The 11 Shotts players, the attending spectators, and no doubt even some of the Wrecclesham team were willing Brown to take the final – and his 10th
– wicket of the day.
A frustrating few overs followed, and when Dan entered his penultimate over it looked like the achievement might just slip by. However, with the 4th
ball of his 13th
over, Dan bowled his usual nagging length to Graham Larby, who pressed forward to defend. With a bit of lift, the ball struck Larby’s glove, and looped slowly to first slip. So slowly, in fact, that even Andy Wheble could catch it. When the shock of the catch had worn off, the Grayshott players jumped on Dan who had returned figures of 12.4 – 2 – 34 -10.
A feat that has been accomplished only a handful of times in around 115 years of I’Anson league history really puts into perspective what Browny managed to achieve – I suspect it’s only sinking in now for him.
It was important to the rest of the team to ensure Dan could enjoy his feat in a winning performance by chasing down 119, and the opening partnership of Andy Wheble and Ravi Sriharan played the situation perfectly. On a pitch that was still very much up and down, and against the accurate opening spells of Cedric Cooray and Mitch Brown, they both dug in superbly. A slow start was steadily built upon, and the opening stand of 116 was one of the most determined displays Grayshott have seen for a number of years. As was commented by one of our own batsmen – “we could have done with batting like this a bit more regularly”. Huge credit to both Wheble (76*), and Rav (who fell for 27 with just 4 needed to win). When Haywood smashed his first ball to the boundary, the game, and season, were done.
Another safe, mid-table finish, but that isn’t what this group of players are aiming for. In a season where the bowlers have outperformed the batsman consistently, it was fitting that the final headlines go to Danny Brown. Massive congratulations from all at Grayshott Cricket Club on such a rare cricketing achievement – one that is very well deserved! Enjoy it, as you’ll never do it again!
One final thanks from all the players to Captain Nathan Phillimore, Vice Stuart Kennedy and to all the people behind the scenes who make this club run – you know who you are, but special mentions to Roberts, Sampson, and Coleshill et al. You are all overworked and underpaid!