It was the penultimate week of the AJ Fordham Fuller’s Challenge Cup as clubs around the county come to the climax of their shortened season. Richard Spiller reviews the action.
George Barlow’s late assault snatched a remarkable victory for Normandy just as they seemed destined for defeat at Farnham.
The visitors’ 152-6 from 40 overs was built around an opening partnership of 83 between Nathan Thorpe (40) and Guy Hicks (32) but Normandy – whose skipper Chris Jones claimed 2-18 from eight overs – found chasing a seemingly modest total difficult.
Squeezed by Rob Goldsworthy (2-15) and Hamish McCarthy (3-29), they slumped to 67-7 and then 110-9.
But Barlow, the former Surrey Academy paceman, suddenly transformed the match as he smashed six fours and three sixes in his blast of 60 from 46 balls. Last man George Allom (2no) held on at the other end for Barlow to perforate the small boundaries and win the game by one wicket with 3.4 overs to spare, ensuring Normandy remain top of group 11.
That section also saw a six-wicket victory for Guildford over Walton, excellent work from groundsman Ben Brown ensuring the match was unaffected by the torrential rain which had soaked the county over the previous two days. Walton’s decision to bat first rebounded on them as they slumped to 91-8, despite Matt Haddow’s 28, and were only hauled up to 133 all out by a typically astute 28 from Mark Bainbridge, the former Surrey left-arm spinner and England U19 captain. Spinners Oily Birts and Shoaib Bashir claimed three victims apiece.
Wayne White and debutant Ben Garrett (22) headed the reply with an opening alliance worth 61, ex-Leicestershire and Derbyshire all-rounder White going on to finish unbeaten on 67 as the target was reached with 5.3 overs unused.
Should Normandy slip up on Saturday then Stoke d’Abernon will be ready to pounce after seeing off Cranleigh by 89 runs. They had Ian Hopton (44) and Roddy Kelso (67) to thank for reaching 207-7 in 36 overs, Toby Tarrant’s 5-18 then leading the dismissal of Cranes for 118.
Two group one matches fell to the weather – Reigate Priory v Banstead and Weybridge v Ashtead – while Esher may wish they had stayed in bed, suffering a 162-run hammering at the hands of Wimbledon.
Ollie Swann (85) and Nick Welch (63) enjoyed a fourth wicket partnership worth 143 which sped the visitors to 251-6, Esher slumping to 35-5 in reply and eventually limping to 89 all out with three wickets for Kieran Bunting and Sam Dickson.
It was much tighter in the cross-river derby between Sunbury and East Molesey, where it needed a Cole Campbell (53) and Andy Westphal (42) to drag the Moles from 73-6 to 164 all out. Matt Harpur (4-30) and Kevin Smith (3-36) did most of the damage.
Sam Burgess’s 56 led the response but he could not find sufficient support, Sunbury being bowled out for 150 as Jamie Southgate (3-30) and Jonathan Fawcett (3-27) led the bowlers.
It was the Sam Seadon show in group five, where his 3-37 limited Epsom to 185-8 – of which Ben Hudson made 71 – before hammering Sutton to a nine wicket victory with an unbeaten 102, his maiden league century.
Wimbledon were back in action on Sunday for their rescheduled match at Ashtead, which was rained off in July, and made it six out of six.
They restricted the hosts to 155-8, which would have been considerably less but for Michael Sanderson (38) and captain Tom Homes’s 47, Jonathan Burden taking 3-23.
The runs were knocked off with seven wickets and eight overs to spare, Jonathon Webb (74no) and Welch (31no) completing the job in a stand worth 64.