We’re heading into the final third of the Surrey Championship campaign. Richard Spiller sums up the action from another sun-kissed weekend around the county.
East Molesey v Wimbledon
Stubborn resistance from the East Molesey tail prevented Wimbledon claiming victory at Graburn Way – but it could not stop them knocking East Molesey off the top of the table.
Replying to the visitors’ 271-8, Moles looked doomed at 114-8 but they were saved from defeat by defiant ninth-wicket pair Andy Westphal and Toby Porter. Wimbledon had more than 20 overs to separate them, with the pitch becoming increasingly tricky to bat on, but failed to do so and had to settle for 15 points, putting them top of the Premier by six.
Earlier Nick Webb’s 42 and David Scott’s 48 were the main features of their side’s total, being forced to bat the full 66 overs by left-arm spinner Jonny Fawcett’s 4-81 from 19 overs and seamer Westphal slogging through 21 overs in conceding just 63 runs.
East Molesey’s reply never got going as Ben Twine – who bowled Australian batsman Mac Wright for a third ball duck – and Ollie Pike claimed two wickets apiece, backed up by off-spinner David Scott’s 2-21. But Westphal (33no) and youngster Porter (14no) proved impossible to shift, despite the best efforts of Surrey left-arm spinner Dan Moriarty, who claimed 1-32 from 17 overs. Moles finished with five points.
Sutton v Weybridge
They might be plunging headlong to relegation but Sutton made Weybridge fight before wrapping up a 40-run win which lifts Matt Laidman’s side to six points off the summit.
The visitors had found it no easy task to reach 216-9, having to bat 66 overs, South African Test opener Sarel Erwee (49) and James Cunningham (38no) proving most adept at countering an attack led by Trinidadian left-arm spinner Dane Currency, who claimed 6-87 from 25 overs. Fellow southpaw Fabian Cowdrey, having missed a large chunk of the season through a broken thumb, claimed 2-47 from 20.
Sutton suffered two big blows early on, opener Chris Morris departing for four and then Josh Blake – fresh from making 160 for Surrey seconds in his first week on the staff at the Kia Oval – went first ball offering a return catch to Harshil Patel.
The home side’s resistance was mustered around opener Rehan Ratnasapabathy (51) and Sam Woods (42) but off-spinner Phil Mann proved too canny for them, his 5-46 proving key and finally claiming victory for his side with 15 balls remaining when he had Currency stumped by Laidman.
All out for 176, Sutton find themselves a mighty 57 points off safety.
Normandy v Reigate Priory
Thrashing Normandy by 170 runs has put Reigate back into the title fight.
Priory motored to 284 all out from 63 overs after being sent in, skipper Richie Oliver’s 48 early on and Angus Dahl’s 47 in the middle order proving the main features as leg-spinner Nathan Sowter – who has spent the last month on loan from Middlesex to Durham – celebrated his return south by claiming 6-92 from 21 overs.
What appeared to be a formidable target quickly took on even greater proportions. Once Joel Foster (30) had become one of Jacob McLaughlin’s four victims at the cost of 20, only Sowter (33no) lasted long as the tail collapsed to be 114 all out in the 29th over. There were two wickets each for Richard Stevens, Tom Massey and Dahl. Reigate closed the gap to 22 points from the top but taking three from defeat reduced Normandy’s chances of finishing in the top half.
Esher v Sunbury
Justin Broad’s cavalier unbeaten 150 was not enough to earn Esher victory as Sunbury summoned up the resistance to deprive them of victory.
A regular in Surrey’s second team this year, opener Broad cracked 150 from 157 balls, including 18 fours and a six, in leading the hosts to 326-4dec from 58 overs after they had chosen to bat first.
His main ally, in a third wicket alliance worth 159, was Nicholas Smit, whose 90 including nine fours and three sixes. They took severe toll of Surrey off-spinner Amar Virdi, whose 13 overs cost him 75 after taking an early wicket.
Sunbury looked to be plunging to another defeat – which would have been their seventh – when their first three wickets fell with just two runs on the board, none of the top three scoring a run between them, including Surrey’s Nico Reifer.
But with defeat looming they were rescued by Subhan Ramzan (105no) and Kristian Baumgartner (53) in finishing with seven points for a losing draw. Esher took 12 and lie fifth.
Malden Wanderers v Ashtead
An overwhelming victory by nine wickets strengthened Ashtead’s hold on a Premier Division spot but pushed Malden Wanderers further into trouble.
The hosts were bowled out for just 126, having been inserted, and were struggling to even reach three figures at 53-7 until Richard Croney (26) and Joe Lavender (31) added 56 for the eighth wicket. Doing the damage were Ben Sidwell – whose 4-21 came off 18 overs – plus Sam Hunt (3-28) and Tom Homes (3-27).
Ben Geddes, who has scored two first-class centuries for Surrey this season, relished an outing with his nursery club by making 58no in the reply, guiding Ashtead to victory in a mere 21.3 overs in the company first of Ragu Aravinthan (33) and then Matthew Breetzke (36no). Wanderers now find themselves 37 points off safety with survival looking increasingly precarious.
Best of the rest
Guildford skipper Olly Birts is relishing the dry conditions of a hot summer, a 5-57 haul ensuring his side remain 19 points ahead of Cranleigh.
They made it four out of four wins in July so far through an eight-wicket thumping of Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians, who were dismissed for 178 after being sent in.
Batting first should have been an advantage on a tinder dry pitch but CCW were immediately in trouble at 8-3, two of them claimed by Surrey Academy seamer Tom Humphreys.
Birts, who has claimed 33 wickets so far, wheeled his way through 18.4 overs, Jeremy Ives (28) delaying the leaders initially and then Leigh Padfield thumping a sterling 42no so that his side gave themselves a sniff by reaching 178 all out. Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir took 2-33.
Chipstead’s hopes were quickly extinguished by Gus Lovell (66no) and Matt Teale (45) putting on 79 and although Nathan Heal took two wickets, Tom Geffen’s 48no ensured victory was secured five minutes before tea.
Cranleigh rediscovered their winning ways, having lost twice in a row, in delivering a crushing 189-run defeat on Banstead.
Their South African all-rounder Clyde Fortuin was foremost in reaching 306 all out in the 57th over, crashing 147 from 118 balls which included 19 fours and four sixes, with the next best 48. Spinners Tyler Meyer and Arsalan Abbas took four wickets each but it was Cranes seamer Will Rollings who proved the biggest danger in the reply. His 5-38 from 10 overs ensured Banstead were dismissed for 117 despite Patrick Rowe’s 62no.
Don’t discount Spencer, tbough, despite trailing the top two by 16 points. They saw off Dulwich by four wickets in the south London derby and head to Guildford this week, having already beaten them once this season.
Leading their respective divisions with 12 weeks gone are – Premier: Wimbledon; Division 1: Guildford; Division 2: Camberley; Division 3: Cheam; Division 4: Horsley & Send; Division 5: SinjunGrammarians.
It proved an excellent weekend all round for Wimbledon, who claimed the Surrey Championship’s T20 crown, the Edwards Cup, as they beat Esher by 48 runs.
Nick Welch gave a demonstration of his powerful hitting in the first semi-final, the Leicestershire-contracted opener hammering seven sixes in an unbeaten 104 from just 54 balls which dominated his side’s chasing down of 166-5 with an over to spare.
An all-Premier clash in the other semi saw Reigate Priory’s 178-8 also prove insufficient, first Justin Broad (44) and Nicholas Smit (42) making early progress before Freddie Harrison (42no) and Austin Wilman (23no) smote merrily for success by five wickets with nine balls in hand.
Esher had good reason to believe their tactic of inserting Wimbledon was a success when Dan Taylor bowled Welch for 11. Yet David Scott (47) and Jack Boyle (54) ensured a total of 195-5 and it proved good enough thanks to Jonathan Speller (3-19) leading the attack.