East Molesey take the points as Ashtead continue to toil
By Martyn Holloway-Neville
5 wickets the margin at Graburn Way as high-fliers East Molesey beat Ashtead in Game 7 of the league
Another day, another opponent, yet the results continue to elude them. Ashtead were to finish second best in their Round 7 encounter of the 2019 Surrey Championship Premier Division, as East Molesey ended the victors by 5 wickets.
Ashtead won the toss and elected to Bat first on what was the best day of the summer so far, with hot and sunny conditions, at least to start with. And the openers initially started well, with Michael Sanderson and Hayden Storey commanding the early overs. Attacking stroke making was foremost, and together they plundered. 43-0 after 10.
But, as is so often the case with cricket, one wicket often breeds another, and the loss of Sanderson for 21 saw Amith Sarma depart shortly after. Harri Aravinthan provided the necessary reset, and the pair guided the visitors to 73-2 after 18.
Intervals also breed wickets – and so it was again, as another two wickets fell shortly after the break, with both set batsmen departing. Consolidation would be the key, and it was initially found in the Ashtead middle order. The rebuilding process had started. Shortly before lunch, however, another pair of wickets was to fall. Conor Young continued the lunch, aided by some more expansive shots from Prince Singh. 125-6 after 33 at the break.
The attack continued after the interval, and the momentum was just beginning to shift back towards the visitors when Prince holed out for 27. The beginning of the end was in sight, and when Young snicked off for 46, the resolve collapsed. Two ducks to finish the innings saw Ashtead capitulate for just 162 off 44.2 overs.
With 75 overs to get the runs, the chase needn’t be particularly strenuous or fast, but a pair of wickets during the first 10 overs gave the hosts pause for thought. The seam combination of Prince and Aaron Rose caused some early problems. Yet, as Dom Reed and the hosts’ overseas batsman began to dig in, the wickets dried up and the low total continued to bear.
Wickets for Aravinthan and Tom Deighton could have been the turning point, but the combative batting of Sam Burge and the continued efforts of the pro saw the target fall to just 56 at tea.
Breakthroughs would be vital immediately into the final session, but despite a single strike to remove the pro for 46, the total was just too low. Burge and Andrew Westphal, long servants of the East Molesey cause, finished the job with aplomb.
This result, and points scored elsewhere, means that Ashtead slip to 9th in the table, and into the relegation zone for the first time. However, it’s worth stating that 5 teams at the bottom half of the table are covered by just 14 points at this stage.
Next week sees Ashtead host Esher in the next round of matches. Ashtead have not faced Esher in competition cricket since 2009, when Ashtead saw their first promotion to the Premier League and Esher fell to Division 2. The long game that year, held at Esher, saw Ashtead run out comfortable winners by 9 wickets. Let’s see if the Stags can do it again. Join us then.