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It was the final stage in the opening phase of this year’s AJ Sports Surrey Championship, 50-overs matches now giving way to time games for the next nine weeks. Richard Spiller reviews the Premier Division action:


Sutton v Wimbledon

It may have been Derby Day up the road at Epsom but the Thameslink derby was occupying minds at Cheam Road, new boys Sutton taking the opportunity to grab spot spot in the Premier Division as they won by 39 runs.

Sent in by their western neighbours, the hosts were faltering at 46-3, Surrey’s Josh Blake maintaining his consistent start to the season by making 50 in a fourth wicket stand with 76 with Fabian Cowdrey (34), skipper Sam Seadon (36no) and Conor McKerr (22no) extending the innings to 192-6 by taking 46 runs off the last six overs. Sussex seamer Aristides Karvelas claimed 2-22 in 10 overs.

Seadon’s medium-pace was responsible for claiming three wickets early in the reply, which included bowling Ryan Patel for 15, paceman McKerr (1-28) offering little to hit. Only left-hander Michael Turner (43) made much headway as Wimbledon’s much-changed line-up struggled.

Rarely threatening to challenge Sutton’s score, they fell victim to seamer Chris Swanson (2-9) and Cowdrey’s left-arm wrist spin (3-24) to be all out for 153, their first league defeat to Sutton since 2013.

With two wins and two draws, the men from SW19 occupy an unfamiliar eighth place while Sutton, whose last spell in the Premier lasted just a year,  have won three to top the table by a point.


East Molesey v Banstead

Just in case Banstead had not realised it would be a big step up to the Premier Division, being bowled out for 54 at Graburn Way, to lose by 113 runs, was a grim reminder.

Their only success in four outings so far has come at the expense of backmarkers Weybridge while East Molesey will be feeling much happier now that an opening brace of defeats has been matched by a pair of victories.

The Moles looked set for a big total, having been sent in, when they they reached 94-1 thanks to Sam Burge (49) and Michael Sheen (88). But when Burge became the first of four victims for spinner Paul Byrne, the hosts declined to 167 all out in the 41st over.

But at 17-4 – the top four all being bowled – Banstead’s reply was in tatters and it got no better, just two players reaching double-figures and last man Seb Stuart-Reckling finishing with his team’s highest score of 15no. New ball pair Toby Porter (3-18) and Jason Moore (3-16) were supported by left-arm spinner Shean (3-16), lifting East Molesey to seventh.


Esher v Ashtead

Esher’s spinners enjoyed an excellent day, bowling their side to victory by 67 runs and into second place.

Having suffered their first defeat of the season a week earlier, the hosts were guided to 238-6 by Australian Teague Wylie (59), Nicholas Smit (48), Don Bouchart (41) and David Brent’s unbeaten 55. That was despite Sussex seamer Sean Hunt’s 10 overs yielding a miserly 2-19.

Ashtead lost Surrey’s Ben Geddes for 18 but were in a promising position while Ragu Aravinthan (57) and Middlesex’s Mark Stoneman (32) were adding 73 for the second wicket. Off-spinner Bouchart removed both in his 3-25 while Nick Kimber – who was on the staff at the Kia Oval for four years until last summer – and Hunt were despatched for ducks. With Dan Taylor and Smit collecting two cheap wickets each, the visitors were bowled out for 164, although wins in the first two rounds keep them in fifth.


Guildford v Weybridge

A classy 80 from Sarel Erwee could not save Weybridge from a fourth successive defeat as they went down by seven wickets at Guildford.

Choosing to bat first, the visitors were in a strong position midway through their 50 overs  – helped by several catches being missed – at 120-1, Surrey Academy youngster Stuart Van Der Merwe (36) having put on 116 with Erwee.

Both fell to off-spinner Jason Soames, Erwee’s 80 coming off 97 balls, the South African Test opener having returned in an emergency for half a season after Australian Will Pucovski withdrew.

Guildford squeezed expertly after Erwee’s departure so that Weybridge were bowled out for 223 from the final ball of their innings when they should have made at least 250, seamers Zac Donohue (3-37) and Jono Merlo (2-36) proving particularly effective.

Guildford lost Oli Soames (5) early on and were 66-2 when David Scott (36) was bowled round his legs by Eddie Campion in the 19th over. But Merlo and Adam Thomas took command, ensuring left-arm spinner Campion and off-spinner Phil Mann were seen off before accelerating impressively to add 150. Australian all-rounder Merlo’s 104 from 107 balls included 13 fours while 17-year-old Thomas – who had made 71 at Banstead a week earlier plus 82 from 56 balls for Surrey U18s against Kent on Friday – finished unbeaten on 70, securing victory with 17 balls to spare.

At least Weybridge’s three points almost doubled their tally but they are bottom by 27 points and will be hoping the switch to the longer time format for the next nine weeks brings a change of fortune. Guildford’s second win took them into fourth.


Sunbury v Reigate Priory

Champions Sunbury bounced back from two defeats to wreck Reigate’s 100% record and knock them off the summit.

Middlesex all-rounder Martin Andersson was the star of their seven-wicket victory, cracking an unbeaten 88 from 75 balls.

Sent in, Priory were bowled out for 178 with Fraser Sheat’s 52 the best as George O’Connor, Kelly Smuts, Andersson and Jack Greaves all collected two wickets.

Sam Burgess’s breezy 38 launched the response but it was a third wicket partnership worth 134 between Andersson – who hit 12 fours and three sixes in his 75-ball innings – and former Surrey bat Nico Reifer (47no) ensured the game was won inside 32 overs.

Reigate slipped down to third while Sunbury are now sixth.


Best of the rest

It’s 16 years since Dulwich occupied a place in the top tier but they are heading back there after winning four out of four in Division One.

They wrecked Malden Wanderers’ 100% record, beating them by four wickets, and have a 15-point lead at the top of Division One. Alastair Curran’s 48 was the best of Wanderers’ 185 all out, Kaif Ramzan (3-32) doing the most damage. Dulwich, who spent most of the intervening seasons in Division Two before promotion in 2022, were indebted to Apoorv Wankhede’s 89 in 78 deliveries for winning by four wickets.

Runs were in short supply at Beddington, where Normandy plunged to 29-6 after being sent in. Skipper Chris Jones, back to form after thin rations in 2023, was their saviour as he hit 74, gaining vital support down the order from Viggy Venkateswaran (13) and George Allom in battling to 136 all out. Tom Bevan’s eight overs earned him 4-6.

Jones’s labours reaped a rich dividend, Beddington being bowled out for 88 as Neal Prowse took 5-32, leaving Normandy joint second with Spencer. The Wandsworth-based club came unstuck by 19 runs at Walton, who made 198 all out and then dismissed their guests for 179 led by left-arm spinner Mark Bainbridge – the former England U19 captain who spent five years on the Surrey staff in the 1990s – collecting 3-29.

Old Wimbledonians are rooted to the bottom but at least gained their first point of the season in a five-wicket reverse against Cranleigh.


Sunday supplement

Sunbury’s hopes of a run in the ECB National Club Championship came crashing down when they suffered a six-wicket defeat at Banbury.

The Premier Division champions were bowled out for just 103, skipper Rajan Soni (28) and Kelly Smuts (27no) the only ones to reach double-figures.

Sunbury will be hoping for better luck in the Conference Cup this Sunday, when they entertain Sussex side Roffey. Other matches involving Surrey Championship sides are: Three Bridges v Camberley; Horsley & Send v Walton; Bromley v Spencer; Blackheath v Reigate Priory; Minster v Banstead; East Molesey v Waltham.




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