Disley signed off for 2017 with an early-morning trek to champions elect Runcorn for a dead rubber fixture beyond the handful of points required by the hosts to confirm an inevitable league title. They did so with ease and eventually won a match that seemed beyond them as a light-hearted atmosphere contributed to a Rams collapse for the ages.
Batting first with the boundaries roped in after a sodden week, the first innings amounted to a testimonial for Runcorn’s South African star Jordan Grobbelaar. The league’s leading batsman survived an early LBW shout from Toby Carson (2-9) to plough on past his 1,000th run, his personal fifty and then, fittingly, striking a maximum to carry Runcorn beyond the 140 runs needed to confirm the title.
He eventually fell one run shy of a deserved century, skying Josh Henry (2-31) to Stew Reynolds for 99 and prompting a declaration when new batsman Keenan was stumped without scoring (158-8). It gave Disley 55 overs to chase their target but with both sides longing for the bar the second innings would be a short affair one way or another.
Despite losing the skipper in the second over, the Rams began at a blistering pace as Josh Henry (66) and Andrew Clarke (75) picked up where they left off at Middlewich with another quickfire century stand. When the recognised bowlers were replaced a Rams win seemed inevitable but the quick finish expected by observers arrived in a scarcely believable fashion.
From 142-2 the combination of a middle and lower order who hadn’t seen action in several weeks and a dead rubber fixture with nothing riding on the result saw a rank collapse to finish the season. In the blink of an eye the Rams were 151 all out in just 27 overs in a bizarre end to an otherwise successful season.