Published: 9th September, 2019
It was the final day of the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship campaign. Richard Spiller takes a look at the Premier Division action and underlines the key performers.
Wimbledon v East Molesey
A champagne breakfast opened their day and East Molesey ended in by tasting victory again, the champions popping more corks by going out with an exciting win by 23 runs.
Top of the pile already, for the first time since 1980, Dominic Reed’s men have specialised in low-scoring encounters, which explains why they had just one batsman in the top 20 Premier run-scorers but four bowlers among the best 10.
It’s worked well for them – their success at Church Road was the 16th in a victorious 18-week campaign which saw them finish 25 points and two wins ahead of runners-up Reigate Priory.
They have climbed out of more holes than a cete of badgers this year, a slide to 54-7 against Jonathan Speller (5-58) offset by Matthew Tigg’s 37, which lifted the visitors to 115 all out in the 25th over.
It was one of those leading bowlers, left-arm spinner Jonathan Fawcett, who proved the key this time, removing Surrey’s Ryan Patel and Nick Welch (20) as the first two victims in his 5-20. Tigg added two wickets to a fine day’s work, late resistance from Dewes (18no) being overcome to dismiss fourth-placed Wimbledon for 92 to complete a season East Molesey’s players will treasure for the rest of their lives.
Weybridge v Reigate Priory
The title might have gone but Priory were out to finish on a high note against the side who beat them to top spot last year.
As it was they lost by eight runs in an exciting finish to their campaign, one which started in a blaze of victories only to falter once more.
Ollie Mills (78) held the hosts together after they slumped to 99-6 but it needed useful contributions from Ralph Day (34) and Sammy Managei (23) plus 28 extras to reach 216-9, spinners Michael Munday (3-48) and Luke Beaven (2-46) reinforcing their positions as the leading wicket-takers at elite level – finishing with 49 and 44 wickets respectively.
Openers Richie Oliver (35) and Sam Hall (30) set the visitors on the way to what seemed a likely victory while Andy Delmont (48) boosted their chances but, apart from Rory Haughton’s 34, there was little resistance to Brent Kay (5-36) in the closing overs, Priory being bowled out for 207 with four balls remaining. That result ensured Weybridge finished in the top half of the table.
Ashtead v Guildford
It’s been a pretty rotten summer for Tom Collins, his Guildford side having arrived as Division One champions only to be despatched straight back. But he finished it on a personal high by hitting his maiden Surrey Championship century, reward for refusing to give in when all appeared to be lost and often was.
That could not save the basement boys from a 130-run tanking, their 14th defeat in 18 matches, and it was opposite number David White who dominated early on.
The prolific South African took advantage of being dropped early on to make 125, crashing 16 fours and five sixes, which took him to 807 runs for the campaign and made him highest Premier Division scorer for the second season running. Tom Homes (72no) and talented youngster Ragu Aravinthan (40no) took advantage of their increasingly ragged opponents in extending Ashtead’s total to 335-8. Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir (4-45) was the outstanding bowler and at 15 is a fine prospect.
Bowled out by Weybridge for 55 a week earlier, Guildford were set for another overwhelming reverse at 98-6, Marcus Caprano-Wint claiming four wickets, but Jonny Charles (14) and debutant Jevan Kher (13no) accompanied Collins through to his century in the final over. Ashtead finished the season in sixth position.
Banstead v Esher
A title bid looked possible for Banstead at the start of the summer but they can be more than satisfied with a solid campaign which earned third place, secured with a 91-run success against Esher.
Skipper Dan Newton, who got off the mark 18 weeks ago with a century, cracked 67 which took him to 567 runs – the fourth best in the division – while Greg Dann’s 50 lifted the hosts to 248-9.
Esher fought back well from a difficult start on their long-awaited return to the Premier – finishing eighth but 68 points clear of relegation – and their success has truly been a team effort given they have no one among the leading run-scorers or wicket-takers. Skipper Will Edwards (28) and wicketkeeper Alex Martin (40) lasted longest in their reply but they were bowled out for 157, left-arm spinner Tyler Meyer’s 4-36 taking him to 39 wickets, the third most successful bowler of the summer.
Sutton v Sunbury
Relegated Sutton are unlikely to look back on the season with much affection.
They were beaten by eight wickets at Cheam Road, bowled out for 99 and then saw Sunbury – who overcame their own difficulties through the summer – knock off the runs in 18.3 overs.
Opener Matthew Gardner (28) and Josh Blake, whose 23 took him to 464 runs and a place in the top top 10 Premier run-makers, made early headway. Yet the hosts crumbled against spinners Sam Burgess (3-26) and Vishal Manro, the left-armer’s 10 overs earning him 4-9.
Acting captain Burgess (29) and Martin Andersson (42no) ensured the match ended early. Sutton’s day got even worse with news that their second team had been relegated as well.
Best of the rest
Having lost the leadership in what became a two-horse race for the Division One title, Normandy snatched it back at the last as they saw off Cranleigh.
The resilience which all successful teams need was displayed by the visitors fighting back from 33-4, among them Surrey’s Stuart Meaker who opened the batting but was run out for five. Captain Neal Prowse (42), Charlie Young (34), Viggy Venkateswaran (23) and Will Pereira (25) dragged them up to 167-7, Jonathan Gonszor’s 3-26 the best figures.
Meaker, playing against a side including many former and current fellow pupils at Cranleigh School, enjoyed an early burst of three wickets while Pereira and Russell Withey also claimed a trio of victims, Jack Scriven’s 57 the main obstacle before the hosts were bowled out for 122.
Ups and downs of 2019
Premier Division champions: East Molesey; Relegated: Sutton & Guildford.
Division 1 – promoted: Normandy & Cranleigh; Relegated: Walton & Chessington.
Division 2 – promoted: Chipstead CW & Stoke d’Abernon; Relegated: Rutlishians & Sanderstead.
Division 3 – promoted: Wimbledonians & Epsom; Relegated: Purley & Staines & Laleham.
Division 4 – promoted: Churt & Cheam. Relegated: Ashford & Avorians.
Division 5: Emanuel & Kempton; Relegated: Merstham & Weybridge Vandals.