The mercurial nature of the rain. Ashtead were unable to complete a win through the weather in Round 6 of the 2019 Surrey Championship Premier Division, as they ended up with a winning draw against Banstead.
The visitors won the toss and elected to field first but were initially regretting that decision, as Michael Sanderson and Hayden Storey plundered the early overs. Storey, returning from a finger injury sustained at Weybridge a fortnight ago, batted carefully into his innings while Sanderson played some strokes first up. The 50 partnership was reached in the 13th over.
It would be the change of bowling that broke the stand, with young fast bowler Nathan Barnwell removing Storey for 26. Sanderson and David White continued the charge, and the introduction of spin became necessary. They were not to leave their ends for the remainder of the innings.
Tyler Meyer and Tom Lancefield are routinely dangerous for any batsmen, and it told shortly before lunch as Sanderson edged to first slip for 48. An untimely and unfortunate end for what had been a well-constructed innings. White and Harri Aravinthan saw the Stags to 115-2 after 33 overs at lunch.
After lunch, the pair continued to grind along, setting up a strong base for an al-out attack later in the innings. The loss of Aravinthan for 13 was unfortunate, although it did bring hard-hitting Conor Young to the crease.
It would be the first period of rain in the day that would be the undoing of the Ashtead innings. After 50 overs, when the 20-minute break came, the Stags were 174-3. When the next rain break came, they were 189-9 off 54.5 overs. First to go was Young in a chaotic run out, then a string of middle and lower order batsmen came and went, but the loss of White for 67 was the fatal blow. The second rain break saw the final partnership needing to survive 4.1 overs, which they did. 211 to win off 50.
Momentum, seemingly, would be with the visitors, but a blistering opening spell from Prince Singh and Aaron Rose demolished the top order. Two were bowled and two fell LBW, with the jewel in the crown being the dismissal of Liam McKendry. Rose bowled a beautiful in-ducker that took out off stump – with the batsman not even playing a shot. Ouch. 10-4 looked very tasty.
A period of consolidation followed, and the pairing of Danny Newton and Harawal Wassam saw Banstead through to tea. 23-4 after 15 overs. The change bowlers, Aravinthan and Jake Martin, began to cause some problems as well, and all too soon Martin had picked up a pair of wickets. 36-6 after 21 overs.
Newton was still there though. James Culff, formerly of Ashtead, also held up the charge. They began to score runs, not at an alarming rate, but enough to begin to cause some issues. Drinks came and went, but then the breakthrough. Deighton, caught Sanderson at short leg to remove Culff for 21. 85-7. Then the rain came.
A dramatic late breakthrough with the weather, and all hands on deck (including some running from yours truly), gave Ashtead 10 final balls to finish the job. Banstead blocked them out to secure the draw. A frustrating end to a topsy-turvy day.
This result gains Ashtead 9 points, and continues to leave them 8th in the table, equal with Esher below us. Next week sees Ashtead travel to East Molesey for a crunch game, likely to be feisty. East Molesey lie 2nd in the table after their best start to a Premier League season ever, but last year lost to the Stags by 34 runs. Join us then.