It was week five of the AJ Fordham Fuller’s Challenge Cup for senior clubs in Surrey. Richard Spiller reviews the action.
Pulsating finishes were the theme in a series of low-scoring clashes on another super Saturday of action around the county.
Reigate Priory’s decidedly modest 108 all out against Weybridge in group one owed much to Luke Houghton’s 41 at the top of the order, collapsing from 52-2 against Jack Winslade (3-18) and Sammy Managei (4-11). But the visitors were already in trouble at 28-3 against Will Hodson, whose miserly medium-pace earned him 4-10 from eight overs, Andrew Curtis (24) and Odge Davey (19) clawing them back into the game and looking set to steal it until Richard Stevens (3-25) bowled Curtis to claim victory by four runs.
Edges of seats were occupied at Sunbury too, where Ashtead owed reached 189-6 to youngster Harri Aravinthan (47) and Hayden Storey’s 34no. Although Rajan Soni hit 42, it looked all done at 132-8 , left-arm seamer Sean Hunt grabbing 4-34, but Vishal Manro (37) and Aaron Watson (22no) added 46 before last man Saran Kalsi’s 5no helped Watson edge home from the penultimate delivery.
Wimbledon top the group, though, after inflicting a nine run defeat on East Molesey, defending a modest 166.
Drama was plentiful in the group 11 clash at Woodbridge Road, Cranleigh having to fight their way to 118 all out. They were indebted to Ollie Trower’s top score of 18 and Tommy Ealham’s 16no at the end. Tom Humphreys, James McMillan and Olly Birts all finished with three wickets but Guildford lost the services of Surrey Academy’s highly promising off-spinner Shoaib Bashir when he misjudged a catch and received a nasty blow in the face and was sent to hospital.
Despite his misfortune, Bashir returned to the ground in case he was needed with the bat and the Academy tweeted: “A big thank you to the Royal Surrey County Hospital Guildford, who yesterday looked after one of our pathway players, Shoaib Bashir, after a ball struck him full in the face. A painful and nasty accident was handled brilliantly by the staff.”
The hosts’ fragile batting looked set to cost them once more at 69-7 – Tom Lawes claiming 3-19 and Oliver Sheen 4-28 – until McMillan (16no) and wicketkeeper Andy Parker came together, a determination to take quick singles and feisty Parker’s three fours and a six in his 32no carrying them to victory.
Normandy head that division, despatching Camberley despite James Crosthwaite’s unbeaten 81 out of 163-8. A typically cavalier 76 in just 38 balls from Olly Batchelor – striking 10 fours and three sixes – hurried victory for the hosts by six wickets with 12.5 overs in hand.
If Sutton took just a bit more satisfaction than normal from a four-wicket success at Dorking, in group five, that was their first victory since May 18 last year, which cost them relegation from the Surrey Championship Premier Division.
John Gale (32) and Charlie Kenway (40) were mainly responsible for the Pixham Lane side making 157 all out, their decline from 82-2 much to do with left-arm spinner Aneesh Jhalla’s 4-29 in 6.4 overs.
Skipper Luke Smith’s 45 at the top of the order set the tone for the reply but the match was still in the balance at 127-6 before Sam Woods (24no) and youngster Jay Evemy (13no) finished the job with nine balls to spare.
The format of the competition means some matches rained off over the past weeks have been rearranged for the coming weekend. They include Sutton v Oxted & Limpsfield on Friday and Ashtead v Wimbledon on Sunday.