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There was plenty of action to savour week three of the AJ Sports Surrey Championship Premier Division on a busy bank holiday weekend for clubs. Richard Spiller reports:

Reigate Priory v Esher

Reigate Priory possess the only 100% record in the Premier Division, wrecking Esher’s along the way.

They followed up wins over Guildford and East Molesey with an 18-run success and have opened up a 16-point advantage as they seek their first league title for a decade.

Skipper Richie Oliver (92) and James Crosthwaite (88) overcame the early loss of Ollie Sykes (10), adding 176 for the second wicket to put the hosts firmly in control. Esher’s bowlers limited the damage by conceding 56 runs from the final 10 overs to prevent the situation getting totally out of control, Joe Lavender and Nicholas Smit claiming two wickets each in a final total of 251-6 from 50 overs.

Missing Justin Broad at the top of their order, Esher were given hope by Australian Teague Wylie’s belligerent 78 from 63 balls. Priory’s spin-heavy attack proved too tight for the rest to make sufficient progress, Surrey’s Tommy Ealham and Angus Dahl both collecting three victims as the visitors were bowled out for 233 in the final over.

Banstead v Guildford

It was edge of the seat stuff at Banstead as Guildford recorded their first victory of the season by winning a one-run thriller.

The visitors had made 286-7 earlier, Tom Geffen returning from ligament injuries to both ankles with a run-a-ball 55 and the innings given substance by a fourth wicket alliance worth 118 between 17-year-old Adam Thomas (71) and Jason Soames (66). Fred McMillan’s 30 brought useful late runs, two wickets each falling to Paul Byrne, Arsalan Abbas and Ben Butterfield.

Neil Baker (69) headed the response, putting on 77 for the second wicket with Australian Patrick Rowe (40) but when Archie Freeth removed Arjun Gill (24) at 169-4, Banstead’s challenge was in danger of falling away.

Harri Aravinthan (46) and Ben Butterfield (34) – the latter having played in Adelaide last winter – turned that round in a fifth wicket partnership worth 69 but Australian Jono Merlo struck two vital blows and conceded just five from the penultimate over to leave the hosts needing 16 off the last. There was a twist to come, Byrne taking four off James McMillan’s first delivery – a no ball – and then smashing the free hit for six. With five needed off as many deliveries, McMillan recovered magnificently, conceding just three more singles to win the match for his side.

Weybridge v Sutton

If Weybridge feared a tough season, then three defeats – and a yield of just four points – has justified those concerns.

Promoted Sutton took advantage to thump them by 133 runs and stand second in the table, a happy contrast to their last visit to the top tier.

It all went horribly wrong from the start for the hosts, who chose to field first only for openers Ryan Hackney (127) and Cameron Tanner to put on 188. Surrey’s Josh Blake made a jaunty 51 as Sutton cruised to 307-4 in their 50 overs, 19 wides helping along the way, and but for Brent Kay’s 4-52 it could have been even more painful for Weybridge.

Despite being strengthened by South African Test opener Sarel Erwee, they knew it would be a difficult chase and never got going against an attack spearheaded by Surrey Conor McKerr, Erwee making 27 before being one of two stumping victims for Joel Walker off left-arm spinner Aneesh Jhalla. Skipper Nathan Tilley made 42 but his side were all out for 174, with McKerr, George Jackson, Jhalla and Fabian Cowdrey all picking up two wickets.

Ashtead v East Molesey

East Molesey got off the mark, inflicting Ashtead’s first reverse of the season by a hefty 86 runs.

Having been sent in, the Moles were given a speedy start by Sam Burge’s 61 from 74 balls. And after sinking to 164-4 – Simon Keene took 4-49 – they needed Jamie Southgate’s 68 to reach 270-7.

Ashtead’s pursuit hit problems when Toby Porter trapped Surrey’s Ben Geddes – a centurion seven days earlier at Guildford – leg-before for 14, going on to remove Ragu Aravinthan for 34 in his 2-39. At 124-7 the hosts were fading fast, Jevan Kher (32) and Tom Homes (22) delaying the end before three wickets apiece for Harry Porter and Matt Tigg finished them off for 174.

Wimbledon v Sunbury

Champions Sunbury sank to their second defeat of the campaign as Jack Boyle hit form for Wimbledon.

The Kiwi was top runscorer in the Premier Division last season and underlined his quality by making an unbeaten 92 to engineer victory by seven wickets.

Earlier he had been grateful to Sussex seamer Aristides Karvelas for two early breakthroughs – including Sam Burgess (42) – and Oliver Pike, who gutted the visitors’ middle-order in claiming 5-33. It took Kevin Smith’s 42 to lift Sunbury to 191 all out in the penultimate over.

Boyle was at the crease three balls into Wimbledon’s innings after George O’Connor trapped Billy Sewell leg-before for a duck and overcame another mini-crisis at 69-3 to steer his side to victory alongside Charlie Whipple (42no).

Best of the rest

Three clubs boast a 100% record in Division One in what is boiling up to be a close fight for promotion.

Dulwich wrecked Normandy’s clean sheet, limiting their hosts for 213-8 despite opener Tom Haynes making 91. Although the openers only made a run between them, Apoorv Wankhade’s 128 – which included nine fours and six sixes – proved decisive, Tom Bishop (25no) securing victory by three wickets.

Malden Wanderers were made to work for their four-wicket success against Walton, who had James Madoc-Jones (56) and Rhythm Bedi (41) to thank for reaching 228-7. Zac Elkin’s 84 spearheaded the chase but he was one of three run outs, two in successive deliveries of the penultimate over before Wanderers scrambled over the line.

Spencer are the other unbeaten side, becoming the latest to crush Old Wimbledonians, who have yet to register a point. For the second time in three outings, OWs failed to reach three-figures as they were dismissed for 98, Spencer knocking off the runs in 14.2 overs as Hugo Darby (58no) took them to victory by eight wickets.

Sunday extra

The bank holiday weekend proved a busy one for Surrey Championship teams, with several involved in the ECB National Club Championship.

East Molesey enjoyed an 80-run victory over Stanmore, lifted to 244-7 from 40 overs by sizeable contributions from Sam Burge (85), Justin Cake (67) and Hassan Talat (61). They dismissed the Middlesex side for 164, Luka Woods and Jamie Southgate collecting three wickets apiece.

It wasn’t such a good day for Weybridge, beaten by five wickets over the Thames at Richmond despite skipper Nathan Tilley’s 63 out of 216-8.

Wimbledon defeated Kentish opposition, Ben Coddington’s 44 the best score on the way to 184-7. Minster, from the Isle of Sheppey, were soon in trouble at 24-3, finally mustering 136 all out as they failed to counter Stephen Reeves (3-18) and Jack Boyle (4-24).

It was another good day for Sutton, who knocked out Blackheath by a 17-run margin. Openers Ryan Hackney (94) and Cameron Tanner (78) made it a prolific weekend in putting on 140, Surrey’s Josh Blake contributing 51no – his second half-century of the weekend – on the way to 236-3. The visitors threatened to overhaul it while George Wells (52) and Riley Ayre (56) were adding 81 for the third wicket but once they were separated the visitors fell away to 219 all out.

Farewell Jack

Sunbury are mourning the death of Jack Prosser, who died last week aged 81.

He captained the club to their first Surrey Championship title in 1988 and edited the Surrey Championship yearbook for a long period.

Long after retiring, Prosser could often be seen patrolling the boundary at Sunbury, jacket generally hung off a finger over his right shoulder, or sat opposite the pavilion so that he could keep an eye on both matches taking place. An astute observer of the game, he enjoyed chatting with old colleagues and opponents, a stern critic of trends he disliked but always appreciative of good cricket.



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