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It was week seven of the AJ Sports Surrey Championship, the torrential rain of seven days  earlier replaced by something more summery. Richard Spiller shines a light on what happened.


Reigate Priory v Weybridge

Top versus bottom in sporting contests often produce a surprise but not this time, Reigate Priory inflicting another painful day on the basement boys.

That was despite the visitors bringing back Nick Compton – the former Middlesex, Somerset and England opener – after a break of three years, in a bid to improve a season which had started with five defeats out of six.

He joined a batting line-up which has often resembled Eric Morecambe’s piano playing – “the right notes but not necessarily in the right order” – and keeps malfunctioning.

First they witnessed Priory make 282-8dec from 63 overs, building on Ollie Sykes’s 110 and Fraser Sheat’s 66. Seamer Harshil Patel (5-81) and off-spinner Phil Man’s 3-77 dominated the attack.

Weybridge were in trouble straightaway, Richard Stevens removing Stuart Van Der Merwe and Sarel Erwee. Compton arrived at 39-3 but his alliance with Craig Meschede (45) was all too brief, becoming Stevens’ third victim for 14 as his side dwindled to 93 all out. That gave them just two points, now trailing by 45 points and needing a periscope to see the rest. Reigate have a six-point advantage at the other end.


Ashtead v Wimbledon

They left it late but Wimbledon completed a comprehensive 120-run victory at Ashtead.

A third wicket stand worth 161 between Tim Lloyd and Jack Boyle (85) rescued the visitors from 49-2 after choosing to bat first, Lloyd’s 96 only ended when he trod on his stumps pushing a Simon Keene delivery on the legside.

The visitors went on to make 306-7 from the maximum 66 overs, seamer Keene claiming 4-54 from 16 overs.

Missing their first-class trio of Dominic Sibley, Ben Geddes and Mark Stoneman left Ashtead’s batting looking understandably thinner but Marcus Caprano-Wint (71) and opener Jevan Kher (37) added 109 for the second wicket after Surrey U18 Sam Freestone had taken a wicket with his first Premier Division delivery.

Left-arm spinner Stephen Reeves, who moved from Weybridge last winter, proved the key for Wimbledon, his 6-34 from 12.5 overs sawing through the home batting to dismiss Ashtead for 186 in the 54th over, with around four minutes remaining.


Banstead v Sutton

Things are certainly looking up for Banstead, who relished their six-wicket victory over fellow promoted side Sutton.

It was the visitors who had started the season more brightly but Banstead got by far the better of a rain-hit draw against Sunbury and overcame a difficult week to maintain their momentum.

A league T20 clash against East Molesey had to be abandoned in midweek when Gareth Macaskill was taken ill at the wicket, suffering chest pains. He has been resting at home.

Left-arm seamer Seb Stuart-Reckling – fresh from three days at LSE playing for Surrey seconds – who gave them the initiative in this Mad Mile derby, removing high scoring openers Ryan Hackney (10) and Cameron Tanner (7). Spinner Tyler Meyer inflicted two big blows, removing Surrey’s Josh Blake (25) on his return from injury and snaring Fabian Cowdrey, scorer of three centuries so far this season, for just a single.

It needed skipper Sam Seadon and Chris Swanson (40) to mount a rescue, Seadon’s 11 fours and four sixes in a late blitz taking him to 99 before he was run out attempting a second to complete his century.

Sutton were all out for 190 from the final ball of their maximum 66 overs, Tyler claiming 4-65.

A third wicket partnership worth 80 between Arjun Gill (45) and Australian Patrick Rowe (71no) kept Banstead on top, Ben Butterfield’s 48 maintaining their momentum towards victory.

Sutton slipped into the congested middle section of the table and host Guildford on Saturday aiming to repeat their T20 Cup win over them last week, Banstead rising to seventh.


East Molesey v Esher

There’s no more potent force in the Premier Division this season than Toby Porter.

The student speedster has claimed 23 wickets so far, following the 7-36 he claimed against Weybridge last week with 6-47 which inspired East Molesey’s four-wicket victory over Esher.

Porter couldn’t defeat left-hander Sheridon Gumbs – who played for Surrey two years ago in the 50-over competition – as he made 87 at the top of the order. The other main contributors to Esher’s 218 all out from 57.5 overs were David Brent (47) and Will Means (31).

Andy Westphal will undoubtedly be missed, having recently had surgery for a knee injury suffered playing football which put him out for the season, but Porter has taken his opportunity to carve a role as the new spearhead.

Sam Burge (52) and James Cake (33) established the reply, spin pair Don Bouchart (3-78) and Dan Taylor (3-40) making regular breakthroughs but Hussain Tallat (44) and Jamie Southgate (43) putting on a crucial 81 for the fifth wicket to earn East Molesey a fourth win in five matches which takes them into second.


Guildford v Sunbury

A pulverising 159 from Kelly Smuts led Sunbury to a mighty 385 at Guildford – but it could only earn them a winning draw.

The South African left-hander cracked 19 fours and seven in his 129-ball stay. Olly Birts had inserted the visitors but saw Smuts and Colby Dyer put on 186 in 21 overs. Just about everything Guildford tried to apply the brake proved fruitless, off-spinner Jason Soames seeing his two overs disappear – mostly out of the ground – for 43.

Dyer’s 100 from 73 balls included six fours and eight sixes but once the partnership was broken only Rajan Soni (39) made much impact, Zac Donohue (3-108) and Birts (4-65) dismissing them in the 56th over.

With 64 overs back, Guildford had plenty of time to mount an unlikely victory bid as Freddie Geffen (38), Oli Soames (60), Jono Merlo (54) and Tom Geffen (47) all enjoyed the excellent batting conditions. Leg-spinner Dyer (3-56) chipped away, though, leaving Jason Soames (24no) and Alex Sweet (30no) to play out for a draw at 290-6 in an encounter which finally ended at 8.30pm.

That left Guildford taking 10 points but dropping to eighth while Sunbury claimed 12 but find themselves ninth after a contest which last year decided the title.


Best of the rest

The battle for promotion in Division One has always promised to be close and it is living up to that billing, given the leading seven teams are divided by just 24 points.

Spencer lead by just a point and had Hugo Darby’s unbeaten 202 against Normandy to thank for leading them to 322-4dec from 62 overs after being inserted.

They were unable to break down a typically doughty fightback from the visitors, who finished on 238-6 from 58 back, openers Harry Bowen (75) and Tom Haynes (55) accumulating 100.

Old Wimbledonians climbed off the bottom of the table thanks to a first victory of the summer, making 228 all out and bowling out hosts Old Hamptonians for 177 to dump them in the basement.


Sunday supplement

Wimbledon joined Sutton and East Molesey in the last 16 of the National Club Championship, beating Tunbridge Wells in the group 15 final.

Billy Sewell’s 3-33, plus two wickets apiece for Matthew Benning and Ben Twine, ensured the Kent side were wrapped up for 139, Jacob Marshall (51) and Tim Lloyd (63) adding 117 in the victory charge.

So on July 7 it will be Sutton v Brentwood, Teddington v East Molesey and Wanstead & Snaresbrook v Wimbledon.


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