It was back to 50-over matches for the AJ Sports Surrey Championship as teams entered the final five weeks of the season. Richard Spiller reviews the Premier Division action
Sutton v Malden Wanderers
Aneesh Jhalla’s run out from the penultimate delivery saw this clash of the bottom two finish in a tie – leaving both of them in big trouble.
Chasing 193 for victory, it seemed basement boys Sutton might finally savour the taste of victory in a troubled season when they entered the 43rd over at 169-5. The return of James Rimmer to the attack saw him remove Dan Edwards (11) but even with two overs remaining the hosts remained favourities to win at 188-8. Sam Blake was leg-before to Alex Cormack in an over which yielded two runs, the game going into the final six balls with Sutton at 190-9.
Pete Young kept Dane Currency and Aneesh Jhalla down to two runs from the first four balls, making the scores level, but from the fifth Jhalla backed up too far, Young fielding off his own bowling to run out the non-striker and reward the sides with 10 points each.
Wanderers started the match poorly, slipping to 27-3 after being put in and needing Rafeh Jafri (58) and Cormack’s 48 to lift them to 192-7.
Sutton skipper Sam Seadon launched the reply by making 42, adding 54 with Chris Morris (26), but the loss of Fabian Cowdrey first ball was a huge blow and it needed Rehan Ratnasapabathy (41) to give them a chance.
A tie did neither much good – Wanderers are 48 points off safety and Sutton a further 18 points adrift, which leaves them in danger of being sent down next Saturday.
Reigate Priory v Sunbury
Sam Burgess’s hurricane 108 smashed a major hole in Reigate’s title ambitions as Sunbury claimed a victory which may well guarantee their survival.
Priory’s 215-8 after taking first use might well have been enough to sustain their challenge for the summit – having started seven points off the top – but for a dramatic start to the reply.
Burgess proved almost impossible to contain as he smashed 16 fours and four sixes in an innings which lasted just 44 balls, making all but 30 of the first 138. Former Somerset leg-spinner Michael Munday saw his first over disappear for 20 but recovered to remove the opener and after that it became a different game.
Sunbury’s suspect batting has let them down many times this season, Liam Scott making the next best score of 27 and Conor Fulton’s 26no finally seeing them home by three wickets in the 33rd over.
Earlier Reigate had needed James Crosthwaite (52), Alex Ross (35) and Andy Delmont’s 59no to combat an attack in which Burgess was also the most successful bowler with 3-44.
Reigate are by no means out of it, lying 22 points off the top, while Sunbury now sit 48 points ahead of the relegation zone.
Esher v Weybridge
Suffering a 220-run trouncing put a serious dent in Weybridge’s title hopes – but Esher aren’t done yet. That handsome win not only moved them back into the top half of the table but left them 35 points off the summit.
Justin Broad’s 115 – his third century of the season – at the top of the order led Esher to formidable 375-6 after choosing to bat. First Broad supported Surrey Academy batsman Krish Patel (57) in an opening stand worth 84 and then was joined by Nicholas Smit (64) for a third wicket alliance worth 97 before watching David Brent hammer five sixes in his unbeaten 86. Ben Ladd Gibbon’s two late wickets saw him finish with 3-67 in nine overs.
Having lost Sarel Erwee depart to the South African Test side and missing skipper Matt Laidman, Weybridge rarely looked like challenging that total, Craig Meschede’s 39 the best as they slid to 155 all out from 31 overs. Johnny Wright and Freddie Harrison both claimed three wickets.
Normandy v Wimbledon
A typically efficient and disciplined display from Wimbledon kept them two points ahead of the rest in their pursuit of the title.
Normandy were squeezed throughout their 50 overs, slumping to 29-3 after choosing to bat but being given hope by a fourth wicket stand worth 89 between Liam McKendry (50) and Max Stevenson (68). Once they were separated, the hosts were contained to 192-7, two wickets apiece falling to Ollie Pike, Richie Lamb and David Scott.
Jack Boyle’s 84no underscored the chase, his third wicket partnership with Surrey Academy’s Tim Lloyd (54no) raising an unbroken 119 to cruise to an eight wicket win with 10 overs unused.
East Molesey v Ashtead
Jamie Southgate proved the key man for East Molesey as the champions stayed just two points off the summit.
Director of cricket at Graburn Way, Southgate’s 3-29 from five overs prevented Ashtead getting further than 212-8 from their 50 overs, young paceman Toby Porter having struck three early blows to leave the visitors struggling at 34-3.
Damian Shirazi (33) and Conor Young (65) repaired the damage, left arm spin pair Matt Tigg and Johnny Fawcett producing tight spells, and although Paul Harrison’s 60no from 72 balls made Ashtead competitive, they never threatened to seriously worry Moles.
Skipper Nick Stevens (63) took charge of the chase, Mac Wright cracking 33 and then Southgate piloting the path to victory by making an unbeaten 59 for a win by five wickets with 60 balls in hand.
Best of the rest
The three-way battle for promotion from Division One intensified as they all enjoyed comfortable victories.
Cranleigh – ahead by two points – enjoyed a 210-run success at Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians while Guildford returned to winning ways through a 147-run stroll at Dulwich. Freddie Geffen’s 123, his second century of the campaign, led the way to 346-7, aided by Gus Lovell (70) and Fred McMillan’s 58 from 41 balls. Dulwich started the day in the relegation zone and sank to bottom place after being bowled out for 199, a substantial chunk of those coming after the match was effectively decided. Anwar Khan and Shoaib Bashir finished with three wickets each.
Spencer are the third side in the mix following a 169-run mauling of struggling Old Wimbledonians. Toby Pratt (112) and Tim Young (68) headed the way to 321-8, Max Hunt’s 3-32 the highlight as they dismissed OWs for 152, and the Wandsworth-based side face a crucial outing on Saturday when they head to Cranleigh.
Some issues have already been settled – Cheam secured their promotion from Division Three courtesy of a 30-run victory over Woking & Horsell while Churt’s exit through the Division Four trapdoor became certain upon losing by eight wickets at Addiscombe.