Grayshott began Saturday full of hope against arguably one of the stronger sides in the division. We were greeted with blue skies and a beaming sun, openers Brayshaw and Joyce entered the field of play against a tricky pair of openers in Naude & Shilcock, the former bowling with extreme precision and accuracy, ultimately accounting for 6 of the Shotts team, following a fabulous flick of the legs for 4, the skipper succumbed to a fine catch in the slip cordon. After his visit to the petting zoo, Hannam arrived full of animal based facts, and with his newly lasered eyes felt confident of returning to some form, unfortunately despite the efforts of Brayshaw to illustrate that time was on our side, Hannam was dismissed in near identical fashion to the skipper and fell for 8. It was perhaps a day to savour potential with Charles, Charlie and Tom playing some lovely strokes in a very tricky environment against a good quality bowling line up, showing the senior players how it should be done, Brayshaw eventually toiling his way to 20, but having been unlucky in finding the fielder on several occasions. 

To the surprise of the team, the newly self appointed head of youth development Danny Brown had emerged as a surprise contender at number 6, having coached several youngsters that morning. Brown entered the crease with a certain swagger, the team had heard tales and anecdotes of previous half centuries that Brown had indeed scored & so we eagerly watched on to see what the Grayshott youth set up had also witnessed that morning. After a top edge over mid off, Brown thought the eye was in and had decided attack was indeed the best form of defence, despite the cries from the sideline Brown launched himself at yet another fine delivery by Naude and was removed for 4, cutting a forlorn figure with all hopes of a big score dashed.

The lower order providing a handful themselves and the Shotts were dismissed 93 off 42 overs, in truth a superb bowling display by Naude who was unplayable at times and finishing with 6 for 20 off 13 overs.

We took an early lunch, again the newly appointed number 6 still seething with rage, found himself at the centre of controversy, having been asked by the skipper to grab him a sausage roll at Sainsburys, Brown returned with a meal for himself and nothing for a disgruntled Joyce, it had been rumoured that morning Brown had declared his desire to open the batting, so this clearly was retribution. Upon an investigation from an unknown source, Brown’s bag was found to contain a pack of 6 sausage rolls, an act that has not gone unnoticed by his team mates.

With a team packed full of bowling, we felt we had a chance, Brophy bowling some fantastic deliveries, including an off cutter that by repute had moved 8 foot (although this is unconfirmed), Cam also bowling a decent line and length, but both openers were unlucky, with several balls flying through or over the slip cordon, a game where half chances would be crucial, Shalford opener scoring 27 of 111 deliveries including several streaky shots, illustrating we were bowling well, but chances just didn’t fall our way.

With the game finely poised at 85 for 2 and only 15 overs remaining, Joyce had to look for a hero, a match winner, and fresh from golf that morning, wearing a personalised kit and sharing stories of goal keeping heroics leading him to the cup final in a few weeks time, there was no option but to turn to Larby, who despite his best efforts had let several balls past him at gully, left a few of us questioning his keeping ability.

Larby had assured the skipper he had what it took to win us the game, the team watched on with intent as Larby steamed in, but despite the bravado, it was indeed not to be and Shalford comfortably saw out the game, French hitting a classy clip of the legs into the car park. With a slightly imbalanced squad we should be proud of our efforts and looking forward to returning to winning ways against the Bourne.