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Three teams have won both matches so far as the AJ Sports Surrey Championship Premier Division gets into its stride. Richard Spiller reviews Saturday’s action.


Sunbury v Sutton

Newly-promoted Sutton pulled off the shock of the campaign – so far – as they beat champions Sunbury by 16 runs at Cheam Road.

The hosts were steadied from the early loss of Cameron Tanner (1) and Ryan Hackney (19) by Surrey’s Josh Blake, who made 54 before falling leg-before to leg-spinner Colby Dyer.

Fabian Cowdrey was already into his stride by then, the pair having added 63 in 12 overs, having opened up with a century in the defeat by Esher seven days earlier. The former Kent all-rounder is a key man for Sutton and losing him for the first half of the season through injury two years ago was a major reason for their instant relegation.

His 104no, which included 11 fours and two sixes, guided the hosts to 218-6, left-arm spinner Vishal Manro (2-33) the most successful bowler.

Sunbury suffered a big early blow when Sam Burgess was caught behind off Surrey’s Conor McKerr for nine, Nico Reifer following soon after for 13. South African import Kelly Smuts made 35 but their hopes hung on Kristian Baumgartner, who looked dangerous in his 42 before departing to Harry Gardner. Matt Harpur’s 30 kept them in the game, McKerr proving key by having him brilliantly caught behind by Joel Waker – his fourth catch of the innings – to sew up Sutton’s victory.

Guildford v Ashtead

Ben Geddes was Ashtead’s matchwinner as they made it two out of two in an exciting run chase at Woodbridge Road.

Needing 298 for victory, the visitors were indebted to the Surrey strokemaker’s 136 from 126 deliveries, which featured 17 fours and two sixes.

He added 90 for the second wicket with Ashley Naidoo (42) and Ashtead always looked the most likely winners while he remained at the crease.

Guildford had an outside chance when Oli Soames removed Geddes and Tom Homes inside three balls at 262 but Sam Homes’s 40 took the visitors to within two runs of victory, Aaron Rose cracking his first and only ball for a boundary to win the match by two wickets in the penultimate over.

The home side’s 279-9 earlier had centred on a fourth wicket stand worth 115 between Australian all-rounder Jono Merlo (91) and Fred McMillan, whose unbeaten 104 was his first century at Premier level and second in the Surrey Championship. Vice-captain McMillan, who spent part of last winter down under, overcame cancer two years ago and plays alongside younger brother James while their parents and the family dog patrol the boundary.

Eighth last year, Ashtead now top the table – on alphabetical order – while Guildford, surprise runners-up, have suffered two defeats and are realising that their second season back among the elite could be rather tougher than the first.

Esher v Wimbledon

A blistering century from young Australian Teague Wylie spearheaded Esher’s 157-run mauling of Wimbledon.

The 20-year-old from Western Australia has already played 20 first-class matches, plus being selected at international U19 level, and ensured his reputation spread further as he crashed 148 in 128 balls, including 17 fours and two sixes.

With support from Sheridon Gumbs (31) and Don Bouchart (62), Wylie ensured Esher reached 293-5 from their 50 overs and the visitors never threatened to get close after plunging to 31-4. Joe Lavender, who switched from Malden Wanderers last winter, claimed two of the early victims, the best of the resistance coming from skipper Jack Boyle (25) and tailender Matthew Benning (32) before sliding to 136 all out in the 31st over. Lavender finished with 3-39 and his side are one of the three with a 100% record.

East Molesey v Reigate Priory

An aggressive 65 from Ollie Sykes led Priory to victory by four wickets, condemning East Molesey to their second defeat in eight days.

A disciplined Reigate attack headed by Fraser Sheat (4-26) and Richard Stevens (3-34) had dismissed the hosts for 197 in the 49th over. Moles were given early momentum by Sam Burge (50), who not only chairs the club committee but is now proprietor of the popular café on the ground. He was supported, rather appropriately, by James Cake (48no) and a late 30 from Matt Tigg. Surrey off-spinner Tommy Ealham’s 10 overs earned him 2-37.

But Priory’s chase was given a speedy launch by Sykes, the Wisden schools’ cricketer of the year for 2023, as he cracked five fours and four sixes in making 65 from 51 balls. George Ealham (32), Angus Dahl (25) and Sam Taylor (26) built on that so that while East Molesey plugged away, they could not avert defeat arriving in the 34th over. Pace bowling brothers Toby and Henry Porter took two wickets apiece.

Banstead v Weybridge

Arjun Gill proved the matchwinner for Banstead in their first win since returning to the Premier Division.

The youngster has discovered plenty about the highs and lows of the game over the past fortnight. His superb 196 for Surrey’s second team – only terminated by a freakish run out – was followed by two first-ball ducks before a half-century against Middlesex IIs at LSE last week righting the ship.

Gill hit a crucial 52 in Banstead’s successful run chase, Weybridge having been dismissed for 151 in the 41st over as the final six wickets were lost for 10 runs. Craig Meschede (44) and Nathan Tilley (38) had put on 69 for the fourth wicket but Weybridge’s tail proved very shiftable and they were hampered by South African Test bat Sarel Erwee’s arrival being stranded in Dubai. Gareth Macaskill claimed four wickets.

Neil Baker’s 31 at the top of the reply was followed by Gill stroking nine fours, Harri Aravinthan making an unbeaten 29 to assure victory by six wickets with 15.5 overs to spare.

Best of the rest

Four teams – Dulwich, Malden Wanderers, Normandy and Spencer – share the lead in Division One after making it two out of two.

Wanderers were back home early from the short trip to Old Wimbledonians, who were bowled out for 108 with Ralph Day collecting 3-23, before Zec Elkin (44no) and Dan Holland (50no) knocked off the runs in a 10-wicket pounding.

Cranleigh, relegated from the Premier last year, are among the four sides to suffer two defeats, the latest by five wickets at Beddington. Qamar Mehmood’s 4-27 was followed up by Aamir Raza hitting an unbeaten 77.

National Cup games

There’s ECB National Club Championship action on Sunday as Wimbledon host Kent club Minster in group 15 while Sutton are at home to Blackheath. In group 12, East Molesey take on Stanmore and Weybridge travel up the road to Middlesex for their match with Richmond. Sunbury have a rather longer journey to Oxfordshire to play Banbury.

All matches start at 1pm.



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