Clubs had to cope with the twin threats of more rain and the effects of the pandemic on week seven of the programme. Richard Spiller reports.
Wimbledon v Sunbury
Conor Fulton and Amar Virdi grabbed victory from Wimbledon’s grasp to pull off a stunning victory for Sunbury.
Responding to the home side’s 214-9, Sunbury looked beaten at 117-8, two early wickets for Ryan Patel including Middlesex all-rounder Martin Andersson (20). But Fulton found a worthy partner in Patel’s Surrey colleague Virdi and they staged a remarkable revival.
Wicketkeeper Fulton took the lead, hammering eight fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 90 but Virdi more than played his part by cracking 43no as the pair won the match with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Wimbledon captain Oliver Swann’s 55 had been built upon by David Scott (79) and Billy Sewell (40), Matt Harpur returning 3-21 and Alex Hughes 4-26.
Wimbledon stay second despite two defeats in eight days but Sunbury, who had beaten East Molesey a week earlier, have sped into third, just four points behind.
Cranleigh v Normandy
It was a long time in coming but when Cranleigh finally recorded their first win of the season they did so in style.
Victory by 105 runs over Normandy – the side they were promoted alongside in 2019 – was reward for persisting through a difficult start to the season.
Opener Harry Windridge’s 57 saw him involved in a third-wicket alliance worth 84 with Jack Scriven, whose 87 off 95 balls dominated the innings before he was run out in the final stages as his side finished on 227-8 in their 50 overs. Salas Waqar claimed 3-51 from nine overs.
Normandy failed to get close, Sam Holland’s 38 their best effort in being dismissed for 122 in the 38th over, Scriven enjoying an excellent all-round day as he claimed 4-15. And there was a moment of history for Matilda Callaghan, who capped her achievement in becoming the first woman to play at Premier level by claiming 1-22 in six overs.
That win took Cranes off the foot of the table although they are still 17 points off the eighth-placed side – Normandy.
East Molesey v Esher
Champions East Molesey returned to winning ways and stretched their advantage at the top to a threatening 34 points in seeing off Esher by 20 runs.
Himmat Singh (60), Cole Campbell (57) and Sam Burge (48) put Moles into a position of strength, after being inserted in a game reduced to 31 overs per side, before a late slide against Justin Broad (3-39) and David Brent (3-54) saw them decline from 191-4 to 198-8 at the end.
When the reply slid to 88-6, Esher looked unlikely winners but were revived by a seventh-wicket stand worth 60 between Matt Macpherson (30) and Nick Winder (47no) which raised their hopes before the hosts regained control, left-arm spinner Matt Tigg’s 3-22 the best haul.
Banstead v Reigate Priory
A short trip over the M25 was enough for Reigate Priory to move into the top half of the table – condemning their hosts to the basement.
It said much for the greatly improved drainage at Banstead that play was able to start on time and they were looking good at 71-0 after being inserted. But once Dan Newton (49) and George Willis (33) had been separated, their suspect batting let them down again, Greg Dann’s 41 the best of the rest in being restricted to 204-7. Seamer Richard Stevens returned 3-25.
Sam Hall (38), Andy Delmont (46) and Brad Scriven (49) led the response, Luke Haughton’s 31no ensuring there were no slip-ups in securing a five-wicket success with 7.2 overs in hand.
Reigate’s fourth place is in happy contrast with Banstead going bottom after this fourth reverse.
Ashtead v Weybridge
Friday’s deluge meant that it took until 3pm to get a start at Ashtead but Weybridge wasted no time once the action started.
A 30-over contest saw the hosts bowled out for 143, Ragu Aravinathan’s 44 their best effort and that soon looked inadequate when Odge Davey teed off. He cracked 52 out of an opening partnership of 67 with Nathan Tilley, hitting six fours and two sixes in his 42-ball stay.
Nick Compton (40no) and Matt Laidman (27no) wrapped up victory by seven wickets with 4.4 overs in hand, Weybridge moving into the top half of the table while Ashtead slip in the other direction.
Best of the rest
Still unbeaten at the top of Division One, Spencer added Leatherhead to their list of victims as they triumphed by 32 runs.
Will Harris (54) and James Godrich’s unbeaten 52 down the order lifted the hosts from 125-8 to 190-8, proving sufficient as Leatherhead were dismissed for 158, Hugo Darby claiming 4-38.
Malden Wanderers remain second, 16 points behind, after a comfortable victory over Guildford. Zac Elkin batted through the visitors’ innings to finish on 114no, enjoying an unbroken third wicket partnership of 181 with Pete Young. The left-hander entered at 57-3 but played superbly for 76no on his return to Woodbridge Road, Wanderers reaching 238-3. Guildford’s reply had declined to 155-6 when rain arrived with 10 overs remaining, falling well short of the revised DLS score of 185.
Pandemic hits league
It wasn’t just rain causing issues on Saturday, a number of matches from first to fourth team level having to be cancelled because of players being forced to quarantine because of the pandemic. The Surrey Championship, following advice from the Surrey Cricket Foundation and ECB, have issued a protocol to clubs over steps to take should a player or official return a positive test.
The league’s T20 competition is simmering nicely, Normandy’s second trip of the weekend to Cranleigh resulting in a cracking contest – and a second defeat in as many days.
Olly Batchelor’s superb 126 from 59 balls – including 13 fours and nine sixes – powered the visitors to 200-5 but it proved to be insufficient. Former Hampshire all-rounder James Hamblin’s 82 from 31 saw him clear the boundaries nine times and along with Matt Crump (34) and Harry Windridge (35no) it ensured Cranes won by five wickets with two balls to spare.
There’s plenty of evening action this week too with Sunbury v Weybridge (Monday), Ashtead v Esher (Tuesday), Oxted & Limpsfield v Guildford (Wednesday) and Reigate Priory v Bank of England (Thursday).
Coming up next weekend
After seven weeks of 50-overs matches, the Surrey Championship starts its nine rounds of time games, Premier and Division One fixtures starting at 11am.
And on Sunday there are two appetising ECB National Club Championship clashes – Weybridge host East Molesey in the Group 11 final while Reigate Priory make an early return to Banstead. Both start at 1pm.