A beautifully-timed run chase enabled Tilford to toast their first I’Anson Cup title for six years on Saturday.
They had not been at the summit of the village competition – which has been in existence since 1901 – since 2014 and feared another year would slip by when no cricket was played in the first half of the summer.
But some fast footwork meant that, once the go-ahead was given for the recreational game to restart, a nine-match programme started on July 18.
Tilford made the most of it by winning eight out of nine matches – the other was abandoned – and claimed the title with victory in their penultimate match, appropriately overcoming last year’s champions Blackheath.
Another success looked certain when they reduced Grayswood to 84-6 but Alastair Gloak’s 94 from 76 balls, which included 13 fours and four sixes, revived the visitors, adding 104 with Henry Hind (29). It took the return of veteran seamer Nigel Martyn (4-48) to remove both as the innings was finally finished off for 212 in the 45th and final over.
Tilford too were in difficulties at 45-3, two of them to Ian Jackson, but opener Mark Ramesar proved their main obstacle and supervised the chase expertly, adding 81 with skipper Andy Hall.
Ramesar’s fellow left-hander Jake Austin increased the tempo of the innings by smashing three giant sixes in one over – one of them over the Barley Mow with the others clearing the houses each side. Both Austin and Matt Cook were among the three victims for Jonjo Conway but, to the enjoyment of their supporters, Tilford cruised to victory with six overs to spare through Ramesar’s 74no and Dan Wrenn’s unbeaten 24.
Others collecting silverware were Tongham (Division 2), Grayswood II (Division 3), Dogmersfield (Division 4), Brook II (Division 5) and Churt (Division 6).