Make that 3 wins out of 3. A perfect pre-season campaign for the Ashtead Stags culminated in a 6-wicket victory against Camberley, following last weekend’s victories over Maori Oxshott and the cup win against Bromley.
Camberley won the toss (so that’s 0 from 3 for the Stags) and elected to bat on a day that would prove elusive with the weather. And, initially, that decision seemed the wrong one, as Prince Singh and Harri Aravinthan caused early problems. Singh picked up two wickets in the opening spells to leave the visitors reeling.
Cue the fightback. Dom Peter and James Crosthwaite dug in, and the runs began to flow. Peter batted cautiously, scoring runs off bad balls but otherwise providing a rock on which to anchor the innings. His partner, meanwhile, set out his stall very early and attacked, sometimes with careless abandon.
30 together became 50, 70, 90. The 100 partnership came up in the 28th over and the runs continued to flow. A breakthrough was desperately needed, and it came through the return of Aravinthan, a rising ball that was spooned up off a top edge. An easy catch for captain, and returning overseas player, David White saw Peter depart for 41.
The carnage began in earnest when Peter’s replacement and then Crosthwaite got out in consecutive overs from Tom Deighton. The spinners thus far had not been penetrating (although Tom Homes continued his trademark economy), and Deighton seemed to be on the receiving end of further punishment. Yet, after the 6, comes the wicket. Crosthwaite going for 112 left Camberley at 196-5 and reeling.
The collapse became catastrophic when Deighton claimed three wickets in four balls to demolish the lower order. Aravinthan finished the job with a ball to spare. Camberley all out for 218 having been 209-5.
The chase started badly for the Stags with Amith Sarma and David White falling cheaply. Michael Sanderson and Sam Homes went on the offensive, and with shots aplenty, the runs just piled up. 80-2 after 10 overs and an early finish beckoned.
The loss of Homes shortly after this, bowled for 43, saw a slight calming, but Harri Aravinthan and Sanderson both continued their charges from the front. Both reached 50 in good time and, with the end in sight, Aravinthan was retired on 60.
Cue some smash and grab batting from Hayden Storey, attempting to finish the job in the smallest number of balls possible. He nearly achieved it, bringing Ashtead within 2 runs of victory before holing out. Tom Laudy finished the job to complete a relatively easy victory.
Next week sees the start of the league season, as Ashtead host last year’s second place side, Reigate Priory. Always a good game, great to watch.
Sunday sees the Stags host Kent Premier League side Bexley in Round 2 of the ECB National Club Championship. Bexley came through narrowly against Banstead by a single run in Round of the competition.
Join us then.