Another Gloak lifts I’Anson Cup for Grayswood

Thursday 28th September 2017 8:10 am
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Grayswood 1st XI – I’Anson champions for the third time. From left to right: standing – Henry Hind, James Atkinson, Graham Dooling, Tom Barnardo, Jonathan Ashworth, Rhys Dodson, Iain Jackson, Richard White (scorer); sitting – Andy Gloak, Andy Major, Cameron Kent, Alastair Gloak (capt), David Soper, Alex Tucker, David Handley. (photo Anthony Ainslie)

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IT was a nice touch when Frensham provided a guard of honour for Grayswood, the new I’Anson champions, at Hollowdene on Saturday.

But Frensham, the only side to beat Grayswood this season, proceeded to do the double over Alastair Gloak’s men who perhaps had their minds on the forthcoming evening’s celebrations, rather than winning their last game of a triumphant campaign.

Grayswood had been confirmed as champions the previous week due to the rain that disrupted the final weeks of the season and were presented with the I’Anson Cup at Frensham.

Unusually, all six divisional championships were decided before the final week, making it a low-key finish to the I’Anson season.

Grayswood are champions for the third time (previously in 2012 and 2013) and seeing that the club only re-entered the competition in 1997, starting in Division Four and gaining a first promotion in 1998, it is a remarkable success story.

A genuine village club, Grayswood CC has been re-formed three times in its long history, first competing in the I’Anson between 1925 and 1930 and finishing runners-up in 1926.

Like Frensham and Grayshott, the only other clubs to field four sides in the I’Anson, Grayswood have a large and thriving youth section. That, surely, is key to a club’s well-being, as well as having senior members committed enough to gain coaching qualifications and run and organise the youth sides.

Clubs like the above three, plus Blackheath and Headley, who both field three sides in the competition, contrast sharply with Lindford and Alfold who have disappeared from the I’Anson ranks due to a lack of support.

Lurgashall have failed to raise even one side in the latter half of this season and Puttenham, the 2016 champions, have seen their second team fail to fulfil their closing fixtures.

There will be a sea change next year when the I’Anson is restructured to allow ten-team divisions. The shorter season should help relieve the pressure on struggling clubs, but the re-configuring of the divisions is hard to swallow for some sides.

The Headley and Grayswood 2nd XIs, for instance, will be dropping a division after finishing sixth and seventh in Division Three. Thursley and The Bourne, I’Anson big guns of former years, finish in the drop-zone after respectable seasons in Division?Two.

That is the inevitable price of a restructuring considered vital to the future health of the 116-year-old competition.

Grayswood, meanwhile, can bask in the success of a Division One season that has netted them 14 wins in 18 matches. Alastair Gloak led the side and older brother Andy was captain in both the earlier championship seasons. Two brothers have lifted the I’Anson Cup as captain. Has that ever happened before?

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