Shalford beat Grayshott by 51 runs (revised target)
The 2s arrived at Shalford on a day where rain threatened, with a youthful side and a few last-minute call-ups. With the hosts top of the table, the Shotts knew they would have to bring their A game.
Fortunately, we had someone other than Toby Joyce doing the toss. Stand-in skipper and Tik-Tok star Andy Wheble won it and put Shalford into bat. With our opening bowlers on excellent form, this proved to be the right call: Barrie bowled with pace and bounce, Julian with unerring accuracy. With his short run up, awkward pace and wobble in the air, ‘the King’ produced a fantastic spell with batsmen 1, 3, 4 and 5 all falling victim. In no time at all, Shalford were 43-4 and we had our tails up.
Shalford dug in, and it was the turn of Graeme Aggar and Ben Downson to make the breakthrough. After being belted for a maximum in his first over, Ben struck in his second. The fifth stump line cramped the in-form batsman for room, and Grayshott’s fourth best wicketkeeper on the day managed to cling on.
The covers were on with Shalford 101-5.
When play resumed, the momentum began to turn in the hosts favour. We bowled well, but a combination of big hitting and decisions that did not go our way set us on the back foot. But we kept persevering, with Cameron Decker and Barrie both taking catches. Wheble and Dowson ended up with 2 wickets a piece, with Barrie sneaking in a deserved wicket at the end.
A revised target of 196 off 37 was always going to be a tough ask and we didn’t exactly start well. Cam left a straight one, Phipps edged to slips and a couple of ducks for our middle order left Grayshott floundering at 11-4.
With nothing to lose, the pair of Gary Hunt and Andy Wheble fought back. Gary later received a fine for making other Grayshott batsmen feel inadequate. Having not played since 2019 (apparently), Hunt found the middle of the bat with ease. He showcased his talents with a some saucy maximums, including one straight down the ground onto the road. Wheble stuck in and pounced on anything short.
When Hunt departed for 50, Shalford must have thought they were nearly there. There was some strong lower order resistance still to come though. Owen and Agar were particularly effective – the ball sailing over the ropes on numerous occasions. In the end though, the total was just a bit much. The Shotts finished 51 runs short, with their heads held high after a strong performance.
A great effort and special thanks to Cameron Decker for standing in last minute!