Ashford efforts defy the elements

There is little worse than a showpiece day ruined by the elements. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, as Ashford Cricket Club proved by turning the dampest of squibs into a memorable Surrey Championship T20 finals day. Defying the inclement weather, the efforts of Ashford’s members and friends at their Short Lane ground ensured the trophy was won fair and square rather than by a bowl-out, or worse yet, the toss of a coin.

Steady rain at the scheduled 10.30 start had already reduced the first semi-final between Reigate Priory and Wimbledon to a bowl-out – the latter emerging as victors. But rather than give in to the elements, groundsman Andy Goulding and his hastily assembled 20-strong ‘ground staff’ used the two-hour break to busy themselves hauling rain-sodden tarpaulins from the square and mopping up puddles. With a covered strip dry enough to use, the second semi was a five-over affair, won by Weybridge against Kingstonian.

After the rain returned with a vengeance – covers on, off, on again – a 10-over game was finally given the go-ahead by the umpires, with Wimbledon the winners by 20 runs. The real winner, however, was the spirit of cricket, with all concerned making a tremendous effort, of which the late Virginia & David Edwards, stalwarts of the Surrey Championship, and in whose name the cup was contested, would have been rightly proud.

Ashford’s Twitter feed – was awash, fittingly – with praise for the efforts of all involved. “To all @AshfordCricket – a real credit to your club” read one.

“I wish I could recall and name everyone who helped, but the impressive turnout and blur of activity throughout the day makes it impossible,” said Ashford’s James Berressem, part of the organising committee.

“In addition, numerous members and friends turned up to support the event and watch the cricket.” In their 160th year, Ashford’s positive story is one all cricket lovers should celebrate.