With East Molesey racing away at the top of the Premier Division, attention is rapidly turning to the fight at the bottom.
Richard Spiller reviews the action on week 12 of the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship.
Cranleigh v Banstead
Just a point divides the bottom two teams after Cranleigh’s crushing victory by 184 runs.
Winning the toss proved to be the highlight of Banstead’s day as Lewis Bedford’s 138 proved the backbone of their hosts running up 260-6 from just 43 overs, Bruno Broughton’s 38 providing the best support.
Paceman Ollie Sheen wrecked the reply, ripping out James Culff, Arjun Gill and Ayush Patel for a run between them. Opener Dan Newton (24) and wicketkeeper Neil Baker (11) were the only batsmen to reach double-figures, Banstead being routed for 76 as Sheen claimed 5-24 and Jack Scriven wrapped up matters with 3-14.
Cranes are just a point adrift now but both sides remain more than a win behind the rest.
East Molesey v Ashtead
The champions were in their most ruthless form in brushing aside Ashtead by eight wickets.
Held to a draw at Wimbledon a week earlier, East Molesey made it 10 wins in 12 games to inflate their lead to 79 points and local travel agents may be hoping for some August bookings at this rate.
The visitors had Harri Aravinthan (79) and Conor Young (57) to thank for guiding them to 167-3 – the pair adding 122 – but a rain-interrupted innings then stumbled to 227-9 from 56 overs, left-arm spinner Matthew Tigg’s 5-33 from 12 overs to main obstacle.
A rapid start from Tom Phillipe (48) and Marcus Campopiano (88) saw them provide a platform worth 123, the chase completed by Himmat Singh (50no) and Cole Campbell (31no).
Lying seventh, Ashtead may be peering nervously below.
Esher v Wimbledon
An unbroken partnership of 99 saved Wimbledon from defeat at Esher.
Having been sent in, the hosts enjoyed an opening partnership of 97 between Malcolm Lake (52) and Justin Broad (37) before Krish Patel (73) and David Brent (52) contributed on the way to 282-7dec from 57.4 overs, left-arm spinner Jonathan Dewes claiming 5-73.
His side in trouble at 26-3, skipper Ollie Swann (68) stabilised matters but it still required Guy Mitchell’s 59no – his maiden league half-century – and Billy Sewell’s 32 to conjoin, Wimbledon finishing with 232-6 in 62 overs back. Seamer Khurram Irshad (3-59) and leg-spinner Freddie Harrison (2-77) saw their efforts rewarded by Esher taking 12 points to eight for the higher scoring draw, both sides sitting in the top half of the table.
Normandy v Weybridge
Victors over Reigate Priory a week earlier, Normandy staved off worries of the drop with another fine victory as they hammered Weybridge by 74 runs.
Having been sent in, the hosts principally had Freddy Austin (53) and Chris Jones (55) to thank for a solid early batting display and would have expected more than their eventual 207-9 from 60 overs. They looked good bets for it at 184-3 only for off-spinner Phil Mann’s 7-62 from 22.1 overs to wrest control.
At 86-2 Weybridge were eyeing a successful run chase but the departure of Nathan Tilley for 31 sparked a slide which saw them tumble to 133 all out, George Barlow (4-32) and Max Stevenson (4-45) the main destroyers.
Reigate Priory v Sunbury
Having taken three points in as many matches since the start of the month, Reigate Priory were keen to get moving again.
As it was, rain got in the way, despite bowling out Sunbury for 152 with leg-spinner Michael Munday’s 6-45 largely responsible. Colby Dyer’s 33 was the highest score.
Priory only had time for 30 overs back, though, Richie Oliver’s unbeaten 79no leading the way in typically aggressive style. Assisted by 33 from Andy Delmont, he took them to 139-2 from 30 overs to claim the higher scoring draw.
Best of the rest
The run machine that is Zac Elkin is steering Malden Wanderers closer to a return to the Premier Division.
His unbeaten 144 was key to the leaders hammering Stoke d’Abernon by 212 runs, keeping them a point in front of Sutton ahead of the sides clashing this Saturday.
Experienced South African Elkin has now amassed 737 league runs, making him easily the Surrey Championship’s most prolific scorer this season, gaining support from Toby Finzel (64) and Alex Butler (43) on the way to 304-4 from 50 overs. Stoke were soon in strife and sank with all hands for 92, James Rimmer (4-24) and Kevin Boudville (3-15) largely sharing the spoils.
Sam Seadon is enjoying a golden July in driving Sutton’s promotion bid. He followed 142 against Chipstead a week earlier by ripping through Leatherhead with 5-21 as the Fetcham Grove side were rolled for 109. Seadon hadn’t finished, cracking 63no in adding 105 with Josh Blake (40) on the way to a five-wicket success.
Spencer’s challenge faded in the shape of a four-wicket defeat by Guildford, who revived their own outside hopes of catching the top two. The Wandsworth side slid from 121-2 to 167 all out, Wilf Harris’s 50 among the early runs before spinners Olly Birts (4-27) and Shoaib Bashir (3-29) took charge. Another poor start by Guildford saw them dangling at 15-3 but 17-year-old Tom Geffen’s 64 – his maiden league half-century – combined with Fred McMillan’s 58 to add a decisive 129.
Weybridge facing repeat trip
Weybridge’s frustrating weekend got worst when rain deprived them of finishing off a highly promising position in the ECB National Club Championship last 16.
They had Ealing in big trouble at 93-6 when rain arrived and a restart proved impossible, meaning a return trip to the Middlesex Premier Division club on Sunday August 8.