Ashtead bring home the points as Esher is blown away
By Martyn Holloway-Neville
A scintillating 9-wicket win for Ashtead sees them move to mid-table
What a way to state your intent. Ashtead showed they were still a force to be reckoned with as they demolished Esher by 9 wickets in Round 8 of the 2019 Surrey Championship.
Ashtead won the toss and elected to field first on a scorching day and a good wicket. Perhaps not the most popular choice, given the searing heat, but it immediately paid dividends as Prince Singh struck with the second ball of the game. 2-1.
Singh and returning quick bowler Ben Sidwell shared the early duties, causing tremendous difficulties for the visiting batsmen. The pressure built, and built, and was eventually uncontainable as Sidwell found the outside edge and Seb Stewart calmly snared another easy catch. Both openers gone in the first 8 overs and the score just 14-2.
A small period of consolidation followed, but it would be drinks, as ever, that found the next breakthrough – Tom Homes, still on the comeback trail from an earlier injury, claiming an LBW in his third over. He then removed the captain, bowled with a straight delivery, in his next over. Not to be outdone, the return of Sidwell saw another wicket fall. 37-5.
Two more strikes by Sidwell and Tom Deighton saw the destruction continue, and at 43-7, Esher should have been all but done. However, as is so often the case against the Stags, lower order runs come easier. The pair of batsmen now at the crease shepherded the visitors to 51-7 at lunch.
The break brought wickets again, as Sidwell continued his rampage to take him to 4 poles for the innings. At 59-9, all would seem lost, but the final partnerships came out fighting. It would take another 8 overs to depose the number 11, but when Prince found his stumps, the total was still just 86.
Ashtead had two choices available to them – bat carefully and accumulate towards the target – or go hard and fast and try to finish the match as quickly as possible. What do you think they tried?
Well, the batting order didn’t change – but it didn’t need to. Michael Sanderson and Hayden Storey took 2 overs to see the bowling, and then went for broke. Not absurd shots, not power batting, just clean and crisp strokeplay. The Esher bowlers just had no answers, and despite the regular bowling changes, and a mixture of paces, the 50 partnership came up in the 8th over.
When Storey fell for 27, slashing a hittable ball straight to point for 27, 15 runs were required. In the next over, Sanderson manoeuvred himself to 48 (off just 37 balls). However, the team comes first and with a couple of stonking boundaries, David White finished the job – and all by 20 past 3.
This result, and losses for the other bottom half teams, moves Ashtead from the relegation zone to 6th in the table – exposing just how tight the race to avoid relegation is going. Next week sees Ashtead travel to Guildford as the halfway mark of the season approaches. Guildford currently lie 9th in the table, coming off the back of a thumping defeat today against Weybridge. Let’s see if the momentum from this result will see Ashtead to another 24 points.
Join us then.