Ashtead up to 2nd in the table
An eventful games with two near centuries, injury and a broken bat as the 1st XI score highly against Valley End.
A sunny day brought relief after the previous two weeks of rain. The Stags won the toss and decided to bat and it wasn’t long before the first incident of the game, as Lalit Bose played a shot only to see most of his bat follow the ball down the wicket, leaving him holding just the handle. A bat borrowed and a few overs later Bose stroked a four towards the boundary in front of the score box, where the ball bounced up and neatly landed on the table inside the score box, narrowly missing two laptops.
Openers Bose and Guy Harper continued apace with Bose initially scoring more boundaries and reaching his 50 in 43 balls after 10.3 overs. Another 20 minutes and Harper also reached his half century (72 balls). Valley End tried different bowling attacks, but could not break the partnership as Harper and Bose matched each other in the run making. Ashtead’s score reached 196 with both openers in the nineties, before Bose wandered out of his crease to be stumped on 95 in the 35th over. As is the way of things, a few balls later Harper played a careless shot and was caught by Tristan Caviet for 92. Two excellent but not quite complete innings. The challenge was taken up by Mahesh Rawat partnered first by Stew Cameron (22) and then Michael Sanderson (15) and the score was moved on to 288 before Sanderson was bowled by Mitchell Turner in the 47th over. Three more overs and another 26 runs as Ashtead finished on a challenging 315-4 at the end of their 50 overs, with Rawat unbeaten on 60.
Tea was taken and the Stags took to the field keen to make inroads into the Valley End line up. A first ball wicket as Harshil Patel bowled opener Chris Peploe and the visitors initially found it hard to score against the seam attack of Patel and Rafeh Jafri, so when the second wicket fell in the 7th over, they had only scored 20. During this time the game had been stopped twice for an injury to young Ben Geddes, who twisted his hip while stopping a four and spent 15 minutes lying prone on the pitch whilst being assessed, before being helped off the ground. The game restarted only to be stopped again when the ambulance arrived. Luckily no serious damage.
Valley End captain Ben Kingsnorth and number 4 Sam Behr added another 50 runs before Behr was lbw to Tom Deighton.
Kingsnorth was joined by Ryan Macciocci and the score moved on to 94 in the 22nd over when Macciocci was run out for 26 by a direct hit by Rawat. There followed something of a collapse of the middle order with three cheap wickets for Rawat, who was having a day off keeping. Valley End were down to 102-7, then 117-8 with a wicket for Harry Williams. Surely the game would be finished soon, but Kingsnorth stubbornly refused to give up and together with Cam Colloff they added another 54 runs before Kingsnorth was finally out for 79, caught by Guy Harper off Rawat. That was more or less it with the last wicket of Colloff caught by Bose off Deighton for 22 soon after. The visitors had made 173 in 39 overs and Ashtead had bagged the 20 points.
With rivals Cranleigh and Reigate Priory both losing, the Stags move up to second in the table, but teams are snapping at their heels and they will have to perform well in the remaining three games if they are to maintain that position.