It was back to 50 overs a side for the Premier Division in the penultimate week of the campaign and the dry weather pushed up scores.
Richard Spiller reviews all the action from the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship.
Banstead v Weybridge
Troubled Banstead must win at Wimbledon on Saturday and hope that Ashtead are badly beaten at Sunbury if they are to survive in the Premier Division.
They suffered a nine-wicket hammering at the hands of Weybridge, choosing to bat first but soon hitting trouble at 20-3, Henry Chapman claiming all three wickets. Greg Dann (73) and Neil Baker (37) launched a rescue mission of sorts, adding 70 for the fourth wicket, but once they were separated resistance proved sporadic on the way to 175 all out in the 49th over. Joe Barrs claimed 3-13 from 8.4 overs.
Any thoughts that Weybridge’s depleted batting would struggle were rapidly eroded by Odge Davey cracking 73 – including six fours and five sixes – in an opening stand worth 120 with Nathan Tilley, who went on to finish unbeaten on 83 as victory was achieved with 15.5 overs to spare.
Even if Banstead fail to save themselves they can take comfort from the successes of many of their age group teams this season.
Ashtead v Wimbledon
Maiden Premier Division centuries for Tim Lloyd and Jonathan Webb led Wimbledon to burying Ashtead by 114 runs.
If the hosts believed that inserting their opponents was the best way to victory they were to be quickly disappointed, Lloyd (113) and Webb (138) amassing 241 for the first wicket, dominating an innings which culminated in a total of 300-4.
Without a win since July 3, Ashtead lost three early wickets to Jonathan Burden and although Conor Young made 50, they were dismissed for 186. Burden finishing with 5-29 from his 10 overs. That left Ashtead still needing five points to put themselves beyond the reach of ninth-placed Banstead. Having pushed back into the top half of the table, Wimbledon will want to cement that position.
Cranleigh v Reigate Priory
Although it was too late to save them from the drop, Cranleigh recorded an exciting victory as they saw off Reigate by three wickets.
Relegation having been confirmed a week earlier, Cranes bowled out Priory for 181, Ollie Sheen removing Richie Oliver with the second ball of the match and seeing his good work followed up by Tom Lawes (3-38) and Tommy Ealham (4-26). Opener Luke Haughton (32) and Angus Dahl (49) were the most successful batsmen.
Scoring runs to back up their bowlers has been Cranleigh’s major issue this season and they were struggling again at 40-3 – all to left-arm spinner Luke Beaven – until skipper Bruno Broughton (84) and Lawes (35) added 109. Seamer Richard Stevens accounted for both in the end but the hosts scrambled to victory with seven balls to spare and a bright end to the season would at least give them encouragement for next year.
East Molesey v Normandy
Champions East Molesey were back to their devastating best in crushing Normandy by 147 runs – but the visitors could also celebrate survival in the Premier Division.
Banstead’s defeat meant safety had been achieved, ensuring a second successive season among the elite for Viggy Venkateswaran’s side.
When they reduced Moles to 69-3 it was looking good for Normandy but Cole Campbell (61) and Sam Burge (64) – two stalwart members of the side who always seem to score runs when they are most needed – added 134 for the fourth wicket, ensuring a final total of 268 all out in the final over.
Batting against the new ball also proved tricky for the visitors, sinking to 19-3, but there was no escape for them, sinking to 121 all out against Andy Westphal (3-16) and Jonathan Fawcett (4-41).
Esher v Sunbury
Finishing second to such a dominant side as East Molesey is no disgrace and Sunbury ensured that they go into the final week in pole position.
Winning by 102 runs at Esher was their ninth victory of the season and left them eight points in front of Weybridge, their only challengers for runners-up spot.
Sam Burgess cracked 107 from 113 balls – including 12 fours and two sixes – in leading an opening partnership of 111 with Rajan Soni (46), although the innings tapered off to 282 all out against David Brent (3-56) and leg-spinner Freddie Harrison (5-60).
But it proved quite enough, Esher sinking to 180 all out – despite captain Will Edwards (45) and Brent (48) resisting – as left-arm spinner Vishal Manro collected 4-36.
Best of the rest
Malden Wanderers will return to the Premier Division next season after a nine-year absence, despite being beaten by Spencer on Saturday.
The seven points they gained in Wandsworth put them out of reach of the hosts, who won their encounter by three wickets and still harbour hopes, albeit distant ones, of going up.
Wanderers have been led to success by South African opener Zac Elkin, whose unbeaten 126 was his fifth century of a season in which he is leading scorer in all divisions having amassed 914 runs at 101. That is despite four matches being abandoned – and he could achieve the rare feat of reaching four-figures this weekend.
Despite that knock, Wanderers found their 253-6 from 50 overs proved to be insufficient, Spencer chiefly owing Will Harris (61), Maduranga Zoyza (74) and George Roberts (31) for triumphing with an over to spare.
Malden will hope that a final day home clash against Camberley – relegated some time ago – helps them go up as champions but Sutton lie just four points adrift.
They owed a magnificent 147no from Sam Seadon – second only to Elkin this year, with 657 runs – for beating Guildford by six wickets at Woodbridge Road. The hosts looked in charge when Oli Soames (107) lifted them to 258-8, Sutton being without two leading batsmen in Fabian Cowdrey and Luke Smith. Seadon unleashed a devastating assault on seamer Duncan Selmes, hitting six fours in an over, and was aided by Rehan Ratnasapabathy (35no).
Sutton are just four points behind Wanderers and 19 in front of Spencer, who they play on Saturday, so two points would do the trick for the Cheam Road side.
There are still some promotion and relegation issues to be settled in the round of the season but definitely up are Malden Wanderers (Div 1), Dulwich (Div 2), Old Rutlishians and Old Hamptonians (Div 3), Hampton Wick Royal (Div 4) and Hampton Hill (Div 5) while confirmed as down are Cranleigh (Prem), Camberley (Div 1), Addiscombe and Churt (Div3), Trinity MidWhitgiftians and Staines & Laleham (Div 4) and Alleyn and Byfleet (Div 5).