The first 50 over spell ends – with a whimper rather than a roar. Ashtead were comprehensively beaten by 8 wickets against Weybridge, in Round 4 of the 2019 Surrey Championship Premier League. There were, however, signs of encouragement for the Stags amongst the gloom.
Ashtead, unsurprisingly, elected to bat first on a wicket that typically offers much to the batsmen, with a fast outfield and a small boundary, at least in places. And the Stags started well, moving quickly to 25 in the first overs. Yet, in an ominous sign, the 6th over brought a wicket, as Ben Geddes edged behind off the former Ashtead star Harshil Patel for 18. 30-1.
Michael Sanderson and David White took on the mantle, and some attacking batting saw the back of the fast bowlers, including the first six of the game. Trouble was, bringing the spinners into the game would prove Ashtead’s undoing.
First to go was the big wicket of White, caught and bowled for 18 – in the 6th over. The symmetry continued with the next wicket in the 18th over, with the loss of Harri Aravinthan for 10. 86-3 off 18 overs. Sanderson, by this time, had reached 29 and seemed to have overcome a steady start. He was next to go, however, and with the loss of Sam Homes for 2, the visitors had slumped to just 89-5.
It would be two counter-attacking batsmen, Conor Young and Hayden Storey, who would reset the innings, and the two began to build an innings together. Both initially reigned in their explosive style, although the more extravagant shots began to creep in as time went on. The partnership reached 45 off the 10 overs they were together.
All too soon, the wickets began to fall again. First, Storey, courage getting the better of him for 26. 6 overs later, and Young would also go, overbalancing and being stumped for 33. The tail fought admirably, with small cameos for Prince Singh, John Vaughan-Davies and Tom Deighton, but Ashtead were bundled out for 187 with 14 balls to spare.
The second innings was delayed by nearly 50 minutes due to the sudden arrival of an air ambulance during the interval – fortunately, not for any of the players, officials or supporters. We all hope that the casualty will make a speedy and complete recovery.
The second innings meandered inexorably towards the expected result, and sure enough, the hosts achieved their target with more than 12 overs to spare. Highlights for the Stags include a debut wicket for James Graham, removing the opener’s bails with his very first ball in 1st XI league cricket. He eventually claimed both wickets of the innings in a strong debut.
This result puts Ashtead 7th in the league table, leading the group of clubs with just 1 win to their name thus far in 2019. Next week sees Wimbledon travel to Woodfield Lane as we begin the long-format fixtures. Wimbledon currently lie equal 4th in the table, and last year’s encounter saw an easy victory for the visitors, despite a handy 275 from the Stags. Join us then.