Published: 10th June, 2019
After four weeks of limited overs games, the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship has switched to longer time matches for the next nine rounds.
Richard Spiller reviews the weekend’s action.
Esher v Sunbury
Amar Virdi returned to form with seven wickets as he bowled Sunbury to a victory which took them off the foot of the table.
The young off-spinner was a key component in Surrey winning the County Championship last year but has spent the opening weeks of this season coming back from injury.
Missing skipper John Maunders, Sunbury were sent in at New Road after rain delayed the start by an hour, owing their 222-9 in 57 overs primarily to opener Sam Burgess (62), Alex Hughes (77) and Oli Roland-Jones (32), Ben Collins claiming 5-43.
That total more impressive when Esher were reduced to 0-3 and then 7-4, Virdi taking the new ball alongside seamer Kevin Smith and sharing the spoils.
Will Edwards (56) prevented the hosts caving in altogether but after that only Nick Winder (37) lasted for too long as they were bowled out for 127, Virdi’s 20-over stint earning him 7-55 to secure victory by 95 runs.
East Molesey v Sutton
There was no keeping East Molesey as they wrapped up an eight-wicket victory in double time.
Having started with two wins, Sutton slumped to their third consecutive defeat, bowled out for 90 in 35 overs – Josh Blake’s 24 the best – on what was to prove a highly profitable day for home skipper Dominic Reed. He grabbed 5-39 in 14 overs, Jake King’s 4-12 rounding most of the rest.
With rain around, East Molesey did not linger in their chase, knocking off the target in 14.4 overs. Reed, who generally bats like a man with a train to catch, hammered 46no in 28 balls with five fours and two sixes. That put his side top briefly, on the back of four wins, until Reigate’s win later.
Reigate Priory v Guildford
Leaders Priory had to be patient before they finally overcame Guildford and the weather to make it five out of five.
There were two lengthy interruptions, the first coming in only the third over with the visitors 5-0 after being inserted, returning after lunch with their allocation chopped from 66 overs to 51. Nathan Tilley (28) and Matt Teale (32) threatened a defendable total until they were sent into a tailspin by former Somerset leg-spinner Michael Munday, whose 6-24 included three wickets in four balls.
Fred McMillan’s 29 dragged Guildford to an inadequate 108 all out from 41.5 overs but more heavy rain threatened to save them when it returned at 15-1 after 5.4 overs of the reply.
Priory now had 24 in all to score the runs and managed it by six wickets with nine balls to spare through skipper Richard Oliver (38) and Michael Burgess (30). That put them 17 points clear and dumped Guildford on the bottom of the table.
Ashtead v Wimbledon
Jonathan Speller’s 7-54 bowled Wimbledon into third place but they were run close by lowly Ashtead before prevailing by 17 runs.
Having got motoring with two successive victories, opener Nick Welch’s 31 was the visitors’ highest score, final pair Carlton Anand (19no) and Speller (22) doing a crucial job in lifting them from 109-9 to 154 all out in the 51st over. Harri Aravinthan (4-20) caused most of the early damage.
Seamer Speller struck two vital blows in the first over of the reply, removing opener Ben Geddes with the fifth ball and then trapping kingpin David White leg-before with the sixth. At 35-6 in the 10th the match seemed all but decided but Sam Homes (21) began the recovery and Seb Stewart followed suit. The wicketkeeper hit 10 fours in his unbeaten 54 but despite a final wicket alliance of 47 with James Graham (22), it was not enough to save Ashtead from their fourth defeat.
Banstead v Weybridge
Opener Andrew Curtis took charge to ensure Weybridge came out with a greater share of the spoils at Banstead.
Delayed by an hour for rain, the hosts had captain Dan Newton’s 93 to thank for reaching 227-9 in the 57 overs allotted in a tightly-fought contest between two sides most likely to challenge Reigate for the title.
That left the defending champions with 45 overs back and they were indebted to Curtis’s 88no for reaching 191-5 by the end to take the higher scoring rate draw, left-arm spinner Tyler Meyer’s 3-37 their main obstacle.
Best of the rest
The change of format did not prove an obstacle to Normandy maintaining their 100% record in Division One, although they had to work for it at Spencer.
Left-arm spinner Viggy Venkateswaran’s 6-30 from 15 overs undermined the Wandsworth side, who were bowled out for 181 with opener Ed Kilbee (96) and wicketkeeper Archie Macpherson (36) the only batsmen to reach double-figures.
Normandy appeared set for another overwhelming victory while Ian Prowse (68) and Chris Jones (82) were adding 140 for the second wicket but they stuttered against seamer Michael Edwards (5-40), losing five wickets for 16 before getting over the line.
A new record was set in Division Five, when Horsley & Send were bowled out by Egham for just 27.
The visitors had fought their way to an apparently modest 154 all out – Mike Ramsbottom hitting 49 – and H&S made 15 for their first wicket. But they went into complete meltdown against Ryan Dennis (6-9) and Stefan Kaltner (4-17), six players recording ducks while they were shot out in 18.4 overs. The previous lowest in that division had been Merrow’s 32 at Alleyn last year, although the overall league record still belongs to Leatherhead, who dissolved for 11 against Worcester Park in 2011.