Surrey closed out a four wicket win to move to three wins from three in the London Championship.
An excellent performance from the bowling unit restricted Essex to 135 and, despite some clusters of wickets falling, a strong 7th wicket partnership secured the victory.
Essex won the toss and chose to bowl at Chipstead CC. Priyanaz Chatterji and Charlotte Lambert opened the bowling for the Three Feathers and Chatterji struck early, dismissing both openers within the first five overs.
Lambert joined in on the action, sending Hollie Dring-Ricahrdson’s middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground to leave Essex 29-3. Claudie Cooper and Dani Gregory restricted Essex’s scoring in the middle overs with Cooper striking first to have Katherine Speed caught at deep midwicket before Gregory dismissed Bella Howarth caught at first slip and Tilly Callaghan was bowled.
A superb piece of fielding by Kira Chathli from backward point saw Bella Johnson run out going for what should have been a simple single and Essex found themselves 87/7 after 30 overs. A superb 36 from Erica Hobson, at nearly a run a ball, helped Essex climb well into three figures before Cooper, Lambert and Gregory all struck again to bowl them out for 135 with eight and a half overs remaining.
In response, Surrey too lost early wickets as Chloe Brewer and Kira Chathli fell within the first five overs. Opener Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones found some fluency, making 22 before she was bowled by a beauty from Bella Johnson that jagged back in sharply.
Rhianna Southby looked in great touch, and Surrey looked to be in control whilst she was at the crease as the score moved into the 60s. However, Southby swatted a full toss straight back to spinner Prisha Bedi to be caught and bowled for 30 leaving Surrey 68/4.
Amy Gordon and Laxmi Johal both departed as the runs dried up and Surrey found themselves 86-6 and looking at a first defeat in the London Championship. However, Chatterji and Gray came together and built a strong partnership. Chatterji played some innovative shots, reverse pulling Bedi for four to move Surrey into three figures.
In the 27th over, Chatterji flicked MacGregor off her pads for four and followed it up with a powerful on-drive, straight back over the bowler’s head to move Surrey within 20 runs of victory. Surrey calmly closed out the win with some more confident strokeplay as Gray finished 16* and Chatterji 29* – their unbroken partnership worth exactly 50 runs taking Surrey home with four wickets and 17.4 overs remaining.