There was action aplenty in week three of the AJ Surrey Championship Premier Division; Richard Spiller catches the highlights.
Sunbury v Wimbledon
Wimbledon are up and running, although Sunbury gave them a scare before going down by 12 runs at Kenton Court Meadow in a tale of three Surrey players.
The champions owed much to Ryan Patel, omitted from the county side playing Kent at the Kia Oval, finding welcome form as he cracked 84 from 72 balls including eight fours and three sixes. It was the centrepiece of his side’s 263-9 from their 50 overs, opener Ben Coddington’s 49 the next best.
Sunbury would have been chasing considerably more but for George O’Connor cutting through the middle-order to claim 5-55.
As it was, the depended on a superb 124 from Nico Reifer – coming off 124 balls, including eight fours and six sixes – for a chance of victory, adding 124 for the third wicket with Middlesex’s Martin Andersson (43). It was a third Surrey player, Dan Moriarty, who effectively decided the match by having Reifer caught by Patel, sparking the loss of three wickets for no runs. And despite the efforts of Sunbury skipper Kevin Smith to rescue the situation, he was last out for 18 – dismissed by Patel – to dismiss the hosts for 251.
Cranleigh v Esher
Justin Broad’s unbeaten century powered Esher to an eight-wicket victory over promoted Cranleigh.
Promoted last season, the hosts fought hard throughout the day, despite the handicap of being 32-4 after being inserted. They were rocked by a fiery spell from Ben Townsend, who took two early wickets and then returned for another pair to finish with 4-31. It needed a sixth wicket alliance worth 95 between James Hamblin (54) and Lewis Bedford (57) to provide substance to their innings of 190 all out in the 46th over.
Esher lost opener Sheridon Gumbs for 13, trapped in front by Surrey colleague Yousef Majid, but Krish Patel (46) underlined once more why he is regarded as a hot prospect in adding 128 for the second wicket with Broad. Majid ended that by having Patel leg-before at 150 but Broad went on to finish on 102no – his ninth league century since joining the club in 2020 – and with Nicholas Smit (15no) secured a clear-cut success with 6.2 overs to spare.
Esher share the top spot with East Molesey and Normandy but Cranes find themselves bottom of the table.
Guildford v East Molesey
A fine innings of 92 from Ollie Soames could not save Guildford from a 12-run defeat at the hands of East Molesey.
The visitors were sent on their way to a formidable 264 all out by opener Sam Burge’s typically ebullient 71, including five fours and five sixes, Oliver Haley’s speedy 51 and Andy Westphal’s 38 down the order bulking up the total further. Off-spinner Don Bouchart took the bowling honours with 3-36, James McMillan and Zac Donohue claiming two wickets apiece.
Bouchart, who has joined Guildford this year and played one List A match for Leicestershire in 2018, made 45 at the top of the reply, adding 97 for the second wicket with Soames. The former Hampshire opener, who has returned to Woodbridge Road as director of cricket, was always likely to be the key man. As the hosts lost wickets, the fate of the game hung on him and Haley – who has already made a fine impression for Moles this year – removed him for 92 at 229-8 although it was Martin Shean’s 5-58 which took the bowling honours.
Normandy v Ashtead
Victory by 34 runs ensured Normandy are one of three teams sharing the Premier Division summit.
Two early wickets for Surrey paceman Nick Kimber – plus another later to leave him with 3-34 – set back the hosts but in-form opener Oscar Kolk (41) and Nathan Sowter’s 50 ensured Normandy reached 168 all out in the 43rd over. There were two wickets for Harri Aravinthan and Sam Homes.
Losing West Indies batsman Kieran Powell (8) and Surrey’s Ben Geddes (10), both to Prahlad Odedra, saw the reply get off to a rocky start and the visitors never came to terms with Normandy’s attack as they crashed to 134 all out, suffering their second defeat of the season and leaving them three points off the bottom. Spinners Nathan Sowter (3-14), Viggy Venkateswaran (2-31) and Chris Jones (2-23) all played a major role in Normandy’s win.
Weybridge v Reigate Priory
Biggest margin of the day at elite level came at Weybridge, where they suffered a 161-run hammering from Reigate Priory.
Australian Alex Ross vindicated skipper Richie Oliver’s decision to bat first by crunching seven fours and seven sixes in his 119 from 96 balls, adding 116 for the fourth wicket with Ed Fluck (63), the chase being made even harder for Weybridge by conceding 38 extras.
They never looked like challenging after a poor start, Jordan McKinlay’s 31 the highest score in being bowled out for 173 in the 33rd over.
Off-spinner Angus Dahl chopped off the tail to finish with 3-43, giving Reigate their first win of the season but leaving Weybridge still looking for a breakthrough.
Best of the rest
All but one team in Division One have recorded one win and a defeat since the opening round was washed out, Camberley being the unfortunate odd ones out after suffering a 106-run thumping at the hands of Banstead.
Keen to bounce back to the Premier Division, Sutton spiked the guns of Spencer – who just missed out on promotion last year – in a convincing 83-run success.
Sam Seadon (50) and former Kent all-rounder Fabian Cowdrey’s unbeaten 65 led the visitors to 233-8 despite Martel Evans taking 4-55.
Cowdrey’s left-arm wrist spin was key in the reply, his 4-41 filleting the upper order as only left-hander Wilf Harris (62) showed much conviction in picking him. He fell to another southpaw in Aneesh Jhalla (3-44) and with Surrey’s Conor McKerr claiming 2-8 from 7.1 miserly overs, Spencer were dismissed for 150.
Ed Young’s 85 ensured Valley End, the other team to suffer two abandonments, clocked up a first victory in overcoming Malden Wanderers by six wickets after limiting the hosts to 235-7.