You had to be quick on your feet – and wearing wellies – to find some club cricket in Surrey on Saturday as rain hit the county.
Richard Spiller reviews the action in the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship
No one got terribly far before the weather brought proceedings to a halt in the Premier Division.
Runaway leaders East Molesey – whose lead of 79 points could mean they wrap up a second successive title in the next fortnight – were thriving at lowly Banstead, Marcus Campopiano’s 62no taking them to 134-1 in the 36th over.
Ashtead may feel more sanguine given they were in trouble at 77-5 – Justin Broad striking three times – as they entertained Esher, a contest which reached the 28th over.
Sunbury may not have wasted too many tears either, given they were 59-4 in the 23rd at home to strugglers Cranleigh. Weybridge’s ground has resembled a swimming pool on occasions this season, ducks being seen swimming on it last week, and Reigate Priory reaching 68-3 when the tide came in again in the 17th. And up in SW19, Wimbledon were 84-3 after 35 when rain finished their clash with Normandy.
Division One shines
If you wanted better weather than the place to be was Division One, where three out of five matches were completed. One of those which unfortunately wasn’t was the top of the table clash between Sutton and Malden Wanderers – just a point apart – which saw the hosts on 52-3 after 17 when the taps were turned on at Cheam Road.
Third-placed Spencer wasted an opportunity to catch up, suffering their fourth defeat in five weeks of a difficult July, when they were beaten at Stoke d’Abernon. The visitors were 57-4 from 18.3 overs when rain arrived and when it finally restarted they had just nine more balls to complete 20 overs, returning to finish at 78-4.
Given a revised DLS target of 94 from 20, Stoke’s reply seemed set to fizzle out at 33-5 only for James Corbishley (22no) and Ian Hopton (37no) to knock off the runs with 11 balls to spare, pushing their side up to fifth place.
Winning four out of five matches in July has put Guildford back into the running, albeit 40 points adrift of the leaders, with a win over basement boys Camberley at Woodbridge Road the latest.
The home side had faced 42 overs when the weather intervened, a total of 196-5 owed to Oli Soames (36), Tom Geffen – the 17-year-old’s 54 his second half-century in as many weeks – and Fred McMillan (34), Max Carter and James Crosthwaite taking two wickets each.
A delay of more than three hours, with much fine work by the groundsman, saw Camberley set a steep 148 from 20 overs for their first win of the campaign.
But some suicidal running twinned with excellent fielding brought three run outs, two of them pulled off by Freddie Geffen who also took a catch and a wicket in an outstanding display in the field, as the visitors crumbled to 79 all out.
Valley End were the other winners, Josh Dodd’s 97 from 85 balls seeing them to 206-7 from 42 overs when the weather intervened. Leatherhead found themselves chasing 203 from 42 and had stumbled to 121-5 in the 33rd when the players went off again to make the hosts victors by 81 runs.
No promotions or relegations have been cemented yet but the first may come on Saturday given Byfleet are 90 points adrift at the bottom of Division Five after taking just 13 points in as many games. Ashford inflicted their 13th, and latest, defeat by four wickets.
Priory’s dead end
Reigate Priory’s ambitions of national glory after winning the Surrey Championship’s T20 competition came to nothing when they beaten by Tunbridge Wells on Sunday.
The group four area semi-final saw Priory reach 93-7, skipper Richie Oliver (21) and Richard Stevens (33) making the bulk of them, but the Kent side prevailed by four wickets.
Guildford are staging their cricket week from Monday (Aug 2) at Woodbridge Road, the highlights being an U19 clash against Valley End on Tuesday (6pm) and all-day matches against The Wanderers on Wednesday and Surrey University on Thursday (11.30am).