Round 2 success, and Round 3 disappointment. Ashtead had a day of contrasting fortunes as they hosted Super Monday for the David Edwards T20 Cup, part of the Surrey Championship suite of competitions.
Ashtead opened the day with a morning game against Division 5 side Kempton, who had beaten fellow Division 5 outfit Egham to be at the races. The visitors elected to bat and the Stags showed why they are a potent Premiership outfit. Wickets for Prince Singh and Jake Martin in their opening overs saw the score at 9-2. Another early wicket for Singh continued the effort – 18-3.
A period of consolidation followed, but all too soon the wickets began to flow again, with a sharp run out by Harri Aravinthan beginning a collapse that saw Kempton fall from 39-3 to 48-9. Wickets in this period came from Harri himself, another sharp run out for Tom Homes, a scalp for 1st XI debutant James Graham and three for the erstwhile Tom Deighton. The final partnership caused some problems, playing their shots and frustrating the bowlers, but Deighton finished the job to bowl out Kempton for just 74 in the 18th over.
The result was never really in doubt for the second over, as David White began to demolish the visitors’’ bowling attack. While he soon departed, Hayden Storey and Aravinthan saw the Stags to an easy victory, steady at first but then coming hard at the end. Ashtead were through to the final with 50 balls to spare.
The second match of the day saw Premier league side Weybridge comprehensively defeat Division 5 side Horsley & Send, to set up the expected contest for the final match of the day.
Ashtead elected to bat first this time and went hard from the off. Despite losing Storey for 12 in the 4th over, off the bowling of the former Stag Harshil Patel, the momentum continued as David White plundered the opening overs.
The introduction of overseas spin bowler Tom Bruce slowed the rate considerably, and with some tidy overs, the hosts began to get behind their desired total. Perhaps unexpectedly, it was the loss of White for 51 (off just 43 balls) that galvanized the innings again, as Aravinthan found his power and Conor Young was blistering from the off. 60 runs from the final 5 overs saw the hosts to 149-3 off their 20, Aravinthan departing in the last over.
The chase began slowly for the visitors, and with the seemingly crucial wicket of Bruce in the 3rd over, the stags seemed well on top. This was confirmed by the loss of Harry Cripps in the seventh over, and the required rate reaching 10.5 by halfway.
The fightback came from captain Ollie Mills and wicketkeeper Matt Laidman, who plundered the spin bowling and charged at the paceman. 63 runs were scored between overs 11 and 15, setting up a frenetic and nail-biting final five. The hosts came back hard, with two wickets for Deighton and one for Aravinthan. But the runs kept following. Prince Singh bowled a tidy 19th over to leave 12 to win off the last. Weybridge needed only 4 balls of it, winning by 5 wickets.
This result sees Ashtead return to league cricket for the rest of the 2019 campaign, out of both cups for another year. This Saturday sees Ashtead travel to their T20 vanquishers, Weybridge. The opposition currently lie 8th in the table. Last year’s game, the opener of the 2018 season, saw Weybridge win convincingly by 7 wickets. Let’s hope Ashtead can overturn last year’s and today’s result. Join us then.