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Rain made its presence felt on week six of the programme, wrecking much of the Premier Division programme and almost everything else. Richard Spiller wrings out the details.


Sunbury v Banstead

Arjun Gill took the starring role in the only Premier Division match to achieve a definitive result as Banstead claimed a higher scoring draw between the showers.

Gill’s 145 – from just 105 balls, including 15 fours and four sixes – led a punishing opening stand worth 156 from just 22.2 overs with Neil Baker (65), both falling to Surrey’s Amar Virdi. It was the off-spinner’s first appearance of the season for Sunbury, having only returned to action last week from a serious finger injury suffered playing for the county second team in April. He added Ayush Patel in a haul of 3-60, Harri Aravinthan’s 26no extending the visitors’ total to 250-5dec in the 36th over.

Despite losing Burgess early on, Sunbury gained a solid start through skipper Rajan Soni (29) and Nico Reifer’s typically aggressive 62, which included six fours and two sixes. Banstead’s spinners turned it into a fight for survival, through several interruptions, Sunbury sliding to 135-6 from the 26 overs possible as Tyler Meyer (3-35) and Paul Byrne (2-48) took charge.

Banstead could afford to be pleased with the 12 points grossed, which takes them out of the relegation zone and dumps champions Sunbury into it, having gained just three.


Sutton v Ashtead

Surprise title challengers Ashtead were blocked by the rain as they pushed for a fourth win of the season.

Sent in by Sam Seadon in a match where the start was delayed until 1.35pm, they had opener Ragu Aravinthan’s unbeaten 89 to thank for guiding them to 201-4. Surrey’s Ben Geddes suffered a rare failure, making 17, but Marcus Caprano-Wint (47) and Middlesex’s Mark Stoneman (29) provided support in an innings which reached 30.1 overs before rain intervened again. Left-arm spinner Aneesh Jhalla overcame the wet conditions to claimed 2-17 from four overs.

Missing Surrey’s Josh Blake and facing 24 overs back, Sutton slipped to 48-2 after losing openers Ryan Hackney (20) and Cameron Tanner (11). They had reached 48-2 from 8.5 overs when rain returned to end the match, 20 being needed in the second innings to avoid an abandonment. Ashtead occupy fourth place in second as they head up the A217 for the Mad Mile derby against Banstead.


Esher v Guildford

Rain of tropical intensity washed out New Road to terminate an already absorbing contest.

Having started on time, Esher were 24-1 from 6.1 overs, the only wicket to fall – although there were several alarms – being Krish Patel (6), who could be forgiven if he felt unfortunate to be given leg-before to Jono Merlo. When the deluge arrived, it dropped more than 5mm inside an hour – as measured by the gauge just up the road at Sandown Park’s flat meeting – while regular showers topped it up as the going changed from soft to sodden.

The six points each mean Esher remain top while Guildford, runners-up last year, have yet to get motoring in seventh place.


Weybridge v East Molesey

It says much about Weybridge’s woes that their most successful day of the campaign so far came on a day they were bowled out for 75.

Just 10 points had come from the first five games, all ending in defeats, and a sixth looked odds-on when East Molesey sawed through their flaky batting order.

Once again, South African Test opener Sarel Erwee was their main hope of a decent total, making 29, but the only other player to reach double-figures being his opening partner Stuart Van Der Merwe (12).

Doing much of the damage was highly promising paceman Toby Porter, who has appeared for Surrey’s second team this season, who cut through the hosts in claiming 7-36 – including a hat-trick – from 15 overs. His treble came in the 21st over, having Jack Cunningham caught by Sam Burge at third slip, bowling Henry Francis and then trapping Luke Golding LBW. Both Francis and Golding may have regretted shouldering arms.

Pakistani all-rounder Hussain Tallat backed up well to finish with 2-26 from 11.

But having completed their job with the ball in 31.2 overs, East Molesey were confined to the pavilion, their hopes of even a 10-over dash washed away.

Six points apiece left the Moles fifth and Weybridge bottom by 35 points, desperately searching for a life raft.


Wimbledon v Reigate Priory

Barring a transfer across the road to Centre Court – preparations for the tennis fortnight are well underway – it was impossible to finish this match.

Without their own retractable roof, Wimbledon suffered numerous interruptions after being sent in, their innings finally restricted to 38 overs and a tight Priory attack keeping them down to 134-7. Opener Jason Marshall (37) and Tim Lloyd (26) lasted longest, Tom Massey’s 3-15 cutting through the middle-order just as the hosts were attempting to up the rate.

Given 26 overs to make the runs – soon reduced to 21 by yet more rain – Priory had reached 34-1 in the sixth when the umpires decided that more drizzle was making conditions too slippery to continue. It left Priory third, two points off the top, with Wimbledon three places and six points behind them.

Premier Division positions (after six matches):

  1. Esher 82
  2. Sutton 81
  3. Reigate Priory 80
  4. Ashtead 76
  5. East Molesey 74
  6. Wimbledon 73
  7. Guildford 62
  8. Banstead 53
  9. Sunbury 51
  10. Weybridge 16

Best of the rest

The weather wreaked similar havoc on Division One’s programme.

Beddington, hoping they could inflict a fifth defeat in six on bottom side Old Wimbledonians, had to settle for a winning draw worth 10 points. Dharam Vyas (67) and Parth Vyas (54) made the early progress, Javelle Glenn’s 51 speeding the way to 211-5dec from 40 overs. OWs had an opening stand of 50 but were definite underdogs at 110-5 from 28 back, the three points gained only deepening their problems at the foot of the table given they trail Old Hamptonians by six points but are a hefty 27 adrift of Walton in eighth.

There were some positive results lower down the league. SinjunGrammarians went 20 points clear in Division Three on the back of trouncing Hampton Wick Royal by eight wickets, knocking off their 123 target in 21.5 overs.

And in Division Five, Effingham won despite batting first, reaching 198-7 before dismissing Churt & Hindhead for 116 while Kingstonian did likewise as they sped to 201-9dec and then routed Old Paulines for 79.   For that they were indebted to Jacky Shareef, who smashed 80no from 66 balls and then claimed 5-28. When it rains, it pours.


Sunday supplement

An unbroken fifth wicket partnership worth 97 between James Cake and Jamie Southgate has taken East Molesey into the business end of the National Club Championship.

They saw off Richmond with relative ease in the group 12 at Graburn Way on Sunday, although that looked far from certain when the pair came together.

The Middlesex side were dismissed for 159 in the 38th over, Eddie Bruce top-scoring with 43, Toby Porter completing a fine weekend in taking 3-22 and Michael Shean (4-42) wrapping things up.

But Moles’ chase was in trouble at 66-4 when Cake was joined by director of cricket Southgate, the pair steadily making their way and Cake – whose dad Russell played played 37 first-class matches for Cambridge University and Combined Universities, scoring a century against the Australian tourists in 1993 – taking charge. He finished unbeaten on 81, a fusillade of boundaries in the closing stages rushing the hosts to victory in 26.1 overs. Southgate finished 25no.

Sutton had a typically hard-hit century from Cameron Tanner to thank for claiming the group 16 final, overcoming Three Bridges by three wickets.

The Sussex side’s 207 all out was led by 60 from Michael Cowdrey, grandson of the great Colin, although sadly his cousin Fabian – a crucial player for Sutton in recent seasons – was unavailable. Sam Seadon claimed 4-37.

Tanner was soon into his stride, his latest highly successful alliance with opening partner Ryan Hackney (38) grossing 87 as he cracked nine fours and seven sixes. But after making 100 from 80 balls, he was run out in a slump which brought Three Bridges back into the match, the hosts needing Harry Gardner’s unbeaten 22 to assure victory with 11 balls in hand.

Wimbledon’s group 15 final at home to Tunbridge Wells was put back because the Kent club were in a county T20 final.

East Molesey will face more Middlesex opposition in the national stages, heading to Bushy Park to take on Teddington on July 7. Sutton host Essex side Brentwood on that day.

A week earlier comes the third round (last 16) of the Conference Cup, which includes North Middlesex v East Molesey, Camberley v Watford Town; Bromley v Sunbury, Banstead v Harefield and Horsley & Send v Hertford.


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