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It was the first of nine weeks of time matches in the AJ Sports Surrey Championship. Richard Spiller surveys the action:


Ashtead v Sunbury

Ben Geddes hit 90 as Ashtead bounced back from two defeats to inflict another setback on champions Sunbury.

The Surrey strokemaker, whose century ensured a win at Guildford last month, hit 14 fours and a six in his 83-ball innings as the hosts strolled home by seven wickets.

Sunbury’s decision to bat first rebounded on them, being bowled out for 175 in the 50th over with only South African Kelly Smuts (41) and Colby Dyer (50) making much impact against an attack led by Simon Keene (4-38) and Sussex’s Sean Hunt (3-47).

Ashtead lost Ragu Aravinthan to the fifth ball of the reply, caught behind off Kevin Smith, and their hopes were further dented when Dominic Sibley departed for 14. But he was replaced by another England opener of recent times in Middlesex’s Mark Stoneman, whose unbeaten 58 helped Geddes take the hosts within three runs of victory, which was achieved in just 28.5 overs.

Sunbury now find themselves lying eighth in the table, Ashtead much happier in fourth.


Banstead v Esher

Esher hit the top of the table – but they needed to hold out for a draw at Banstead to do so.

Chasing 215 for victory, they finished at 199-8 to claim the winning draw, a dividend of 11 points putting them one ahead of Sutton.

New boys Banstead, having lost three of their first four games, needed a sixth wicket partnership of 81 between Gareth Macaskill (40) and Surrey’s Nathan Barnwell (45) to rescue them from 95-5, Arjun Gill (32) and Harri Aravinthan (57) having made early headway. It took Esher until the 66th and final over of the innings to polish off the rest for 214, seamer Joe Lavender (3-37) and left-arm spinner Dan Taylor (4-52) the main dangers.

The visitors looked favourites for victory while former skipper Will Edwards (43) and David Brent (58) were adding 88 for the fourth wicket but, when they were split at 165 in the 41st over, Esher went into decline against spinners Tyler Meyer (5-70) and Paul Byrne (2-45). With the higher run-rate draw already secured, they played out the last of their 54 overs at 199-8.

Banstead remain ninth, seven points behind Sunbury.


Guildford v East Molesey

Three wins in succession have revived East Molesey’s spirits, a 71-run success at Guildford coming with 4.4 overs to spare.

The 2019 and 2021 champions opened with defeats against Wimbledon and Reigate Priory but wins over Ashtead and Weybridge were followed by Saturday’s success, pushing them into the top half of the table.

Sent in at Woodbridge Road, they had Michael Sheen’s elegant 55 and an increasingly commanding 58 from Pakistani import Hussain Tallat for offering substance but reached the 60-mark at 218-7. A rousing partnership between skipper Nick Stevens (45no) and Jason Moore (27) lifted the Moles to 279-8 from the maximum 66 and that always looked too many for Guildford.

A makeshift top order was blown away – Freddie Geffen’s return from university should ease those worries – left Jono Merlo their main hope. The Australian all-rounder’s most lasting support from James McMillan (34) down the order, finishing unbeaten on 91 but unable to prevent left-arm spinner Matt Tigg (3-14) from cleaning up the tail in a tetchy contest and inflicting a third defeat in five outings. That leaves Guildford seventh and they have much to do to live up to last year’s excellent reintroduction to the Premier Division.


Reigate Priory v Sutton

Last man Ali Raja had to play out the final two balls of the match to earn Reigate Priory a winning draw, which cost Sutton the leadership of the table.

A match delayed by rain for 15 minutes saw the visitors inserted, openers Ryan Hackney and Cameron Tanner making 32 each while Josh Blake’s 30 was the Surrey wicketkeeper’s first sub-50 score this season in the Premier Division.

Tom Massey removed all three among his 4-40 but Fabian Cowdrey’s 102no was his third unbeaten century of a stellar campaign, ensuring his side reached 239 all out in the 64th over.

Skipper Sam Seadon might have wished he had closed the innings earlier when he and George Jackson put Reigate in trouble at 81-4. Reigate had George Ealham’s 73 to thank for saving them, Massey’s 46 continuing an excellent match as the pair put on 80. Yet just as the duo were making their side favourites the match turned again.

Priory easily passed the winning draw target of 191 only to lose three wickets for seven runs, Seadon (5-29) removing Michael Munday from the fourth ball of the final over but Raja holding firm for the hosts to finish on 213-9 and take 12 points to their opponents’ nine in an outstanding contest.

Sutton dropped a place to second, just one point off the summit and one in front of Reigate in third.


Wimbledon v Weybridge

Wimbledon took the opportunity to ease their disappointing start to the season and deepen Weybridge’s misery in the process.

Nathan Tilley’s strugglers, having taken just seven points amid four defeats, had their hopes up when they dismissed the hosts for 186, left-arm seamer Kieran Corbett’s 6-64 from 19.4 overs the main reason behind it. Skipper Jack Boyle’s 35 was the highest score.

But Weybridge too struggled on a difficult pitch for batting. South African Test opener Sarel Erwee saw both Stuart Van Der Merwe and Haydir Ali depart for ducks and when his 66 was terminated at 96-6, the game was pretty much up. They were bowled out for 126, Oliver Pike taking 4-35, to be beaten by 60 runs.

That elevated Wimbledon to sixth place – just nine points off the top – while  Weybridge are bottom by 31 points. If not needing snookers already, they could do with locating a cue.


Best of the rest

Spencer took over at the summit of Division One, disposing of south London rivals Dulwich by 49 runs.

A third wicket alliance worth 142 between Toby Pratt (67) and Troy Johnson (95) ensured the Wandsworth side made 238 all out after choosing to bat first, Felix Watson-Smyth (4-69) and Ahmed Khan (3-55) carving through the rest.

Having gone into the match on the back of four successive wins, Dulwich were bowled out for 189 as Gus Grant and Harry Stothard took three wickets apiece.

Malden Wanderers rose to second, two points off the top, after triumphing in a runfest against Normandy. The visitors looked in command when openers Oskar Kolk (64) and Tom Haynes (54) set the stage for Australian import Scott Palombo to make 103no, the declaration coming at 294-4 from 62 overs.

Wanderers were piloted to victory, though, by Zac Elkin’s 120no from the top of the order, which included a fifth wicket alliance worth 146 with Alex Butler (82).

If Valley End don’t improve on seventh spot then it won’t be from lack of effort by Josh Dodd. The South African’s ferocious 102no to beat Old Hamptonians seven days earlier was followed by an equally fierce 145 out of 326-5dec against Old Wimbledonians on Saturday, cracking 13 fours and five sixes. But it wasn’t enough to win the match, bottom side OWs battling to 186-6 at the end to terminate their run of defeats.

This week’s Rishi Sunak award for going home early belongs to Oxted & Limpsfield, who had Ned Lack (5-24) and Joe Murtagh to thank for dismissing Addiscombe for 76 in Division Two. Murtagh’s 29no ensured the runs were knocked off in 8.1 overs for an eight-wicket drubbing.

It was a happier day for Egham in Division Five, crushing Old Pauline by 128 runs and presenting their long-serving scorer Debbie Beesley – better known as Surrey’s scorer for the last three years – with a trophy marking four decades of service for the club.


Sunday supplement

Interest in the National Club Championship might have ceased for Sunbury but they are eyeing a run in the Conference Cup.

They despatched Sussex side Roffey by five wickets on Sunday, Kelly Smuts hammering an unbeaten 88 to ensure a target of 261 was passed with 5.2 overs to spare.

East Molesey – winners of the competition in 2021 – had little difficulty disposing of Waltham after Dylan Marx (80) led them to 259-8, Joe Akhurst’s 5-29 polishing off the visitors for 121.

Walton’s ambitions to improve on reaching last year’s final – where they were beaten by Hornchurch – expired on the short trip to Horsley & Send. Sam Gorvin (53) and Uddhav Umakanthan (49) ensured the visitors made 231-8 from their 45 overs and they reduced H&S to 22-3. Skipper Tom Collins (76) and Dasun Opanayaka (64) turned the match around in a partnership worth 131 for victory by four wickets.

Banstead enjoyed their day out to the Isle of Sheppey, bowling out Minister for 245 – Ben Brown taking 5-60 – and knocking off the runs by four wickets through Australian Patrick Rowe’s 127no, which rescued them from 125-6. Spencer’s trip to Kent was less profitable, going down by five wickets at Bromley.

Winners in 2022, Camberley could repeat it after a 37-run success against Three Bridges, Aiden Bariol’s 117 behind their 273-9.


Sam’s run for a ton

While his brother Josh is busy constructing tons for Surrey, Sam Blake achieved a notable century of his own on Saturday – and all for a great cause.

Seamer Sam took a break from cricket two years ago to concentrate on endurance running and over the past four months has completed three ultramarathons. The latest was the South Downs Way 100-Mile, from Winchester to Eastbourne, which has to be completed in 30 hours. Sam did in 27.

The main beneficiary to the sponsorship he’s collected along the way are Rays of Sunshine, which helps children living with serious or life-limiting illnesses between the ages of three and 18 across the UK.

Why that cause? Sam and Josh played at Sutton with Joe Lunn, a talented young cricketer highly rated among the county age groups who died three years ago from a rare form of cancer – synovial sarcoma – which attacks soft tissue among the joints.

To find out more about Sam’s run and make a contribution check out



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