After a soggy May, the county’s club cricketers have been relishing the warmth of June as the Surrey Championship hots up.
Richard Spiller reviews the action in week six.
Sunbury v East Molesey
Seemingly unstoppable this season, East Molesey finally met their match just over the Thames at Sunbury, a five-wicket defeat ending their unbeaten run.
Moles were dismissed for 229 with two balls of their 50 overs unused, most of their runs coming from Himmat Singh (46), Cole Campbell (32), Sam Burge (63) and Andy Westphal (37) as captain Kevin Smith (5-57) and Sam Burgess (4-24) did most damage.
Burgess was in form with the bat too, leading an opening stand of 86 with John Maunders (21) and making 69 out of the first 103. At 126-4 the game was still open but Alex Hughes (42) was joined by Conor Fulton, the wicketkeeper making an unbeaten 40 and securing victory alongside Kristan Baumgartner (26no) with 15 balls to spare. East Molesey’s compensation was that they extended their lead to 19 points.
Weybridge v Wimbledon
Leading challengers Wimbledon missed their opportunity to squeeze the leaders as Weybridge began to flex their muscles following a slow start to the campaign.
Opener Nathan Tilley’s form has heated up with the weather, his 132 the backbone of his side’s 265-7. The highlight was his third wicket partnership of 169 with former England opener Nick Compton (70) before the innings fell away against David Scott (4-49).
Missing Surrey’s in-form Ryan Patel, Wimbledon’s task got a whole lot harder when they sank to 56-5, seamers Joe Barrs (2-26) and Jack Winslade (3-38) doing much off the early damage, and although Billy Sewell (44) and Jonathan Dewes (65) fought hard, Josh Van Heerden’s 3-28 finished off Wimbledon for 195 to secure victory by 70 runs.
Esher v Cranleigh
Basement boys Cranleigh looked to be homing in on their first victory since returning to the Premier Division, only for Esher to grab victory by 17 runs.
Justin Broad (65) and Will Edwards (75), adding 144 for the second wicket, had led the hosts to 269-8 from their 50 overs but Cranes were in charge at 155-2, George Ealham and Jack Scriven (50) putting on 112 for the third wicket. Even after they were separated, Ealham – whose grandfather Alan captained Kent and dad Mark played for England – kept the visitors in the hunt. But he finally fell for 104, one of two victims for Broad, while veteran left-arm spinner Dan Taylor’s 2-31 was key in the chase falling short at 252-9.
Esher lie an encouraging fourth but Cranleigh, despite gaining seven bonus points, are already 35 off safety at the bottom.
Normandy v Banstead
A low scoring match at Hunts Hill Road left Banstead still without a victory.
Normandy, with just one previous success behind them, were in serious trouble at 58-6 after choosing to bat first, Oliver Calcott (38) and skipper Viggy Venkateswaran (52) coming to the rescue in an alliance worth 93 and Ollie Bocking’s 22 boosting the total to 150-9 from their 50 overs.
That proved far too many for Banstead, whose weak batting proving their undoing again. Neil Baker (51) once again led the resistance with 51 but they were bundled out for 104, Russell Withey’s 3-12 from 10 overs augmented by seamer Bocking cleaning up with 5-35. Wicketkeeper Olly Batchelor also enjoyed a profitable day by securing five catches.
Reigate Priory v Ashtead
There was another tight finish – the margin again by 17 runs – as Reigate Priory squeezed home courtesy of leg-spinner Michael Munday’s 5-26.
Richie Oliver’s 66 and Andy Delmont’s 41 put Priory in charge at 110-1, falling away to 201 all out after 45 overs, Tom Homes claiming 3-21.
The reply followed a similar pattern, Manoj Sarathchandra (46) and Harri Aravinthan (69) adding 86 for the second wicket. But once they were separated, there was only sporadic resistance, Jonny Flanders (2-18) offering ideal support as Munday, once of Somerset, ran through the rail in bowling out the visitors for 184.
Best of the rest
Still unbeaten at the top of Division One are Spencer, who have won five games with one abandonment, their latest victims being Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians. Chasing 249, the Wandsworth side had a platform of 105 from openers Ed Kilbee (36) and Hugo Darby (62) before Maduranga Zoyza completed the job by five wickets by cracking 85.
Malden Wanderers survived a lower order collapse to inch past Beddington by one wicket, having dismissed the visitors for 165. Sutton shook off Valley End by five wickets, dismissing their guests for 193 before Josh Blake – a regular behind the stumps for Surrey seconds in T20 games – hit 69no and added a decisive 109 with Fabian Cowdrey (60). Guildford’s promotion hopes took a blow by losing at Leatherhead, their 218-8 – featuring Jason Soames (68) and Alex Sweet (54no) – surpassed by Joel Walker cracking 104 against his old club.
The only other unbeaten record remaining belongs to Long Ditton, who were promoted two years ago and were made to wait for their maiden Surrey Championship season by the pandemic. It is proving worthwhile and they top Division Five by 18 points. The latest success saw them inflict Horsley & Send’s first reverse of the campaign, dismissing the hosts for 121. Matt Baker and Oli Fegan claimed three wickets apiece, former Guildford skipper Tom Collins – now coaching at Twinn’s Field – top-scoring with 28. Although Jarred Hunt had Long Ditton rocking at 10-3, Jason Matthews (41no) and Dirk Visser’s 72no saw them to a seven-wicket triumph.