Farnham secured their Surrey Championship Division 2 status on Saturday – and blew away league champions Camberley in the process.
A rampant display of bowling from Nathan Thorpe in what was Camberley’s first defeat of the season in the 50-over format served as a fitting tribute to former life member Toni Thorpe, who had died the previous week.
Tom Grimes was captaining Farnham for the final time after seven seasons at the helm.
He said: “I’m really proud of the lads – this was a really well-rounded team effort against a high-quality Camberley side.
“Each member played their part, be it with bat, ball or in the field – that’s what got us over the line today and will continue to stand us in good stead in the future.”
Club president Patrick Strachan said after the win: “Today marks a famous victory against local rivals Camberley in a hard-fought match nearing the end of another long season for Farnham.
“I’d also like to recognise Tom’s contribution as first XI captain over the past seven years and thank him for his considerable efforts both on and off the pitch.”
Grimes, with a full-strength side for the first time since June, lost the toss and Farnham were asked to bat by Camberley skipper Elliott Green.
Guy Hicks and the returning Nathan Thorpe approached the start of Farnham’s innings with caution on what was a challenging wicket following the heavy midweek rain.
Hicks, struggling for form in recent weeks, was bowled by opener Holden for three which brought wicketkeeper Jamie Strachan to the crease.
Thorpe and Strachan battled hard and began to build a base for Farnham until Strachan was caught at mid on for ten.
At 38 for two vice-captain Jim Berry joined Thorpe and the two began to build Farnham’s score by punishing the bad ball and running well between the wickets.
The two departed in quick succession, Berry first caught behind by Camberley’s overseas pro Lauchie Johns for 18 and then Thorpe LBW, sweeping ex-Northants spinner Farhaan Khan for a well-made 36.
Captain Grimes and Tom Flack then came together and built real momentum in the Farnham innings, putting on 60 with Flack playing the aggressor and Grimes turning the strike over well and using his innovative batting style to great effect.
Flack drove, swept and slog-swept well, putting the Camberley bowling to the sword before being caught off the bowling of Elliott Green, taking the attack to the opposition towards the end of the game.
Skipper Grimes took Farnham over the 150 mark but in the end the team lost five wickets for 19 runs with the team dismissed for 159.
With three of the Camberley top four batters of varying professional status, Farnham knew they had their work cut out – and it wasn’t long before Kiwi Johns took the attack to Farnham with a lusty blow for six towards Verran Road.
Rob Goldsworthy had the better of him very quickly, though, and had Johns well caught at cover by opening partner Dominic Lloyd.
Goldsworthy soon had his second wicket with Glenn Taylor hitting out to mid off where the waiting Luke Griffiths took a good catch to his left.
At 40 for two Griffiths himself was introduced to the attack and rewarded his skipper by having Todd Hutcheson brilliantly caught by all-rounder Russell Golding at gully for just 11.
Hethen bowled Josh Halsey two balls later and Camberley were reeling at 44 for four.
Skipper Grimes introduced spinner Nathan Thorpe, who promptly found his line and length, bowling with superb discipline to frustrate Camberley batters Khan and Griffiths.
Despite this the pair batted sensibly, putting on 35 before Griffiths was adjudged LBW to Thorpe for 23.
Thorpe then proceeded to dismiss the lower-order trio of Holden, White and Carter, all bowled for single figures with only Khan showing any sign of patience or resistance to Thorpe’s onslaught.
At 128 for nine, with Farnham needing just one wicket for victory and to confirm Division 2 status for next season, and Camberley needing 32 for victory, the game was on a knife-edge.
Grimes introduced Berry to the attack and after his first over going for just three runs, Nathan Thorpe came on to bowl the final over of his allotted ten with four wickets to his name.
Khan took a single off the first ball of the over, turning the strike to skipper Green, who duly blocked the second for a dot – and made a well-taken single off the third ball before Khan blocked the fourth ball of the over.
With the crowd on the edge of their seats and the travelling Farnham supporters on tenterhooks, Khan over-balanced while missing a huge slog sweep, allowing the ball through to Jamie Strachan who broke the stumps before Khan had a chance to return to his crease.
It ended the match to seal Farnham’s Division 2 status amid jubilant celebrations both on and off the field.
Thorpe ended his spell with a match-winning five for 25 off 9.5 overs, with a very proud family in grandfather Geoff, dad Alan, mum Theresa and fiancée Mollie all cheering from the boundary.
Farnham were also well supported on the day by club president Patrick Strachan and ex-president Andrew Kieft.