Rain and the pandemic have been doing their best to interrupt the action but the clubs and players in the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship Premier Division are not easily put off.
Richard Spiller reviews the action from another busy weekend across Surrey
Banstead v Wimbledon
They left it until the halfway point of the programme but Banstead finally got off the mark, beating Wimbledon by three wickets.
Oliver Swann’s side, who looked the biggest threat to East Molesey early on, were bowled out for 126 after a late start caused by rain, four players getting past 20 but Swann’s 29 the best as they were dismissed in 40 overs. Tom Pitchley and Arsalan Abbas took three wickets each.
Liam McKendry’s 42 made early inroads into the total but Banstead were indebted once more to wicketkeeper Neil Baker, who has scored more than a quarter of their runs this year. His unbeaten 45 held things together to secure a win which takes Banstead off the foot of the table. Without a win for a month, Wimbledon have slipped to sixth.
East Molesey v Reigate Priory
There might be nine matches left but the prospects of anyone stopping East Molesey marching to the title are looking increasingly remote.
They made it eight wins in nine matches through a seven-wicket demolition of Reigate Priory, whose sluggish start to the campaign had given way to three successive wins.
Priory were demolished for 83 in 36 overs, the attack being shared throughout by Andy Westphal and Dominic Reed as they returned 5-34 and 5-39 respectively. Skipper Richie Oliver’s 18 at the top of the order was his team’s best individual effort.
Marcus Campopiano’s speedy 49 from 47 balls saw Moles to victory in the 19th over, leaving East Molesey peering down from the summit with a cushion of 47 points protecting them.
Ashtead v Sunbury
Ashtead’s first victory for a month reversed their slide down the table, terminating Sunbury’s run of three wins in the process.
A late start following rain saw the hosts battle their way to 162 all out from 50.4 overs, owing much to a second wicket stand between Damian Shirazi (65) and Harri Aravinthan (40). Both were victims of left-arm spinner Vishal Manro in his 7-54 from 21 overs.
Sunbury were quickly in trouble, sinking to 40-5, wicketkeeper Conor Fulton’s 39 their best effort before being dismissed for 101 in the 30th over, Tom Homes and Tom Deighton netting three apiece to achieve a margin of 61 runs.
Cranleigh v Weybridge
Weybridge were indebted to the cool head of Nathan Tilley (pictured) once more, steering them to four-wicket success at Cranleigh and into second place.
The visitors looked set for another quick kill, having finished off Normandy early seven days earlier, when their hosts sank to 102-8 despite opener Harry Windridge’s 36. But an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 69 lifted them to 171-8 from 53 overs thanks to Callum Kent (51no) and Jonathan Gonszor (34no). Seamer Harshil Patel claimed 4-71 from 18 overs.
With 42 overs back, Odge Davey ensured run rate wasn’t going to be a problem as he hammered 55 from 37 balls, dominating an opening stand of 87 with Tilley. Once that partnership was broken, though, no one else reached double-figures against an attack led by off-spinner Jack Scriven (4-60), Tilley’s 80no ensuring 24 points were banked with nine balls to spare. Cranes sank back into the basement after being overtaken by Banstead.
Esher’s mixed week
The action has been off the field at Esher’s New Road ground. Their Premier Division clash with Normandy was abandoned after the visitors suffered a positive Covid test, meaning none of their team could play or train for 10 days.
But the drama came last week when Esher’s director of coaching Duncan Pauline – the former Surrey and Glamorgan all-rounder – had his quad bike stolen. Pauline requires the bike to get around, which include performing his duties as general manager of the club as well as coaching, after having a leg amputated several years ago.
Amid the dismay about such a callous action, club members and friends launched an immediate appeal to raise the £8,000 required to replace the bike and the target was achieved in a matter of days.
Best of the rest
Inflicting leaders Spencer’s first reverse of the season has opened up the Division One promotion fight.
The Wandsworth side lost to Sutton, after being dismissed for 217, to be beaten by 57 runs.
Former Kent batsman Fabian Cowdrey’s 114 from 112 balls dominated the Sutton innings, enjoying a fourth wicket stand worth 135 with Dan Edwards (64) and another of 72 with Etinder Bopara (45) to complete their 48 overs – after a short delay for rain – at 274-6.
Ed Kilbee’s 52 led the response but two wickets apiece for Dane Currency and Aneesh Jhalla were complimented by 3-39 from Rehan Ratnasapabathy to finish matters.
That left Sutton just a point behind their hosts and Malden Wanderers, who had in-form South African Zac Elkin (85) to thank for leading them to 179-8 at Camberley, then dismissing the bottom side for 135.
Guildford moved back into the top half of the table on the back of a five-wicket victory over Valley End. Ed Young, formerly of Gloucestershire and returning to his old club, made 57 out of 227-9 from 48 overs. The home side were heading to their fourth successive defeat at 60-4 but acting captain Fred McMillan’s 56 joined Alex Sweet’s 77no in adding 126 and 16-year-old Surrey Academy youngster Tom Humphreys (25no) helped to secure victory with 17 balls to spare.
The final unbeaten record was toppled when Division Five leaders Long Ditton came unstuck against SinjunGrammarians. Having been sent in, they were despatched for 61 – of which Charlie Hinchliffe hit 25, extras the only other account to reach double-figures – thanks to Ali Ajmal (6-28) and Ghulam Rasool (4-23). Batting got little easier but the visitors knocked off the runs for the loss of four wickets in 17 overs.
T20 cup update
There has been many a memorable battle between Sunbury and Weybridge, their battle for the Championship’s T20 competition – the Edwards Cup – being right up there with the best.
Chasing the home side’s 155-7, Weybridge were grateful to Nathan Tilley (82) and Steven Reeves (45) but still needed six off the last ball. It was the first delivery faced by Brent Kay – and he heaved it over the boundary to claim a thrilling victory.
Matches coming up include Ashtead v Banstead (July 6) and Guildford v Weybridge (July 12).