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The Third Man

 

1st XI scorer for the 2019 season, Mike Woods will be providing is valuable insight from the scorebox to provide match reports for the 1st XI Surrey Championship Premier League fixtures this season. All reports will be available here.

Saturday 7th September v Sunbury (home): Sutton’s season ends with a whimper.

Sutton CC 1st XI 99 all out (48 overs) ‘b’ ‘t’; Sunbury CC 1st XI 103-2 (18.3 overs. Sunbury win by 8-wickets, (20 points).

 

Sutton’s below par campaign in the 2019 Surrey Championship Premier Division ended on the lowest of notes Saturday when the side lost to Sunbury by eight wickets at Cheam Road.

One or two of us thought the game might be close, but it ended up being a doddle for the visitors, and Sutton’s season ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

  

Sam Season decided to bat after winning the toss; but once the second wicket went down at 59, losing the next 8 for 40 runs simply summed up, in one session, Sutton’s season.

 

Sunbury rattled off the 100 runs required to win in just 18.3 overs.

 

The 2019 league season is now over for Sutton and it will go down as one to forget. Sadly, the club’s 1st XI has been relegated, meaning in season 2020 they will play in the Surrey Championship Division 1.

—-

It has been privilege to take over the role of 1st XI scorer this season, from the greatly missed Anne Jobbins; (who I gather is enjoying immensely her life in North Yorkshire.)

 

I have relished every single moment of the campaign, if not every single ball; and I couldn’t have found a more friendly and lively bunch of lads to score for, anywhere.

 

Thanks to Luke S, Sam S, and every one of the players for making me feel so welcome this year; and for all your support at every game. Your end-of-season gift to me is magical. Cheers!

 

Good luck for 2020.  

 

Saturday 31st August v Reigate Priory (away): Calamitous collapse does for Sutton again.

Sutton CC 1st XI 148 all out (33.2 overs); Reigate Priory CC 1st XI (20 pts) 154-2 (28 overs).

Reigate Priory chased down a routine 148 with ease, to beat Sutton by 8-wickets.

Sam Seadon won the toss for Sutton and elected to bat.  All had been progressing well while Jamie Smith (53 off 27 balls) and Chris Stevenson (14) were together.  Alas, after the departures of Smith with the score on 59, Stevenson at 76 and Conor McKerr (23) at 102, the rest of the order crumbled to 148 all out.  Michael Munday was the biggest beneficiary, as his experienced leg spin accounted for six Sutton wickets, (8.2-0-21-6).

In reply, Reigate eased to victory with 8-wickets and 22 overs to spare.  Captain Richard Oliver notching an excellent 83, well supported by Bradley Scriven’s 43 not out.

With just self-esteem at stake, we move on to Sutton’s final league fixture of the season next Saturday.  Sunbury visit Cheam Road and both clubs will want to sign off their singly disappointing campaigns with a win. 

A Sutton victory next week would certainly help lift the spirits around the Club and, please forgive me for saying, those of the ‘Third Man’ especially.  He would relish the task of reporting a success again!

Saturday 24th August v Guildford (home): Guildford’s win sends Sutton down.

Sutton CC: 183 all out in 47.5 overs (3-points); Guildford CC: 189/6 in 47.2 overs (20-points).    

The first XI’s disappointing defeat by 4-wickets, in a game that was a must win for both clubs in order to maintain a chance of staying up, was determined, ultimately, by an 87 run third wicket partnership between Tom Collins, Guildford’s captain, (39) and Angus Lovell, (37).

On a blisteringly hot day at Cheam Road, Sutton’s Sam Seadon won the toss and elected to bat.

Guildford surprised, by opening the bowling with spinner Jonathan Charles. It proved a very clever tactic as Charles (10-2-24-3) had Sutton’s top order in all sorts of trouble. After 16-overs, Sutton languished at 60/4.

A 5th wicket stand of 67 runs between Joss Blake, (49) and Jamin Patel, who ended not out with an excellent 68, offered Sutton hope that a challenging total was possible. Disappointingly, after losing Blake at 127, wickets fell regularly and Sutton ended their innings at 183 all out after 47.5-overs. 

Despite picking-up wickets steadily, the result was never really in doubt.  When Lovell fell in the 35th over at 134/3, Guildford had 15-overs left in which to score the 50 runs needed to win, which they reached calmly for the loss of 6-wickets.

Consequently, with two fixtures still to fulfil, (away to Reigate Priory this coming Saturday and at Cheam Road versus Sunbury on the league’s final day,) the Club already knows that next season, along with Guildford of course, their destiny lay in 1st Division cricket.

Obviously, the situation would not change if wins against Priory and Sunbury took place but wouldn’t it lift the spirits.  Go to it lads!

Saturday 17th August v Esher (away): So near, yet so far, as Sutton lose in battle to avoid relegation.

Esher CC 1st XI 214 all out (44.5 overs) 20 points; Sutton CC 1st XI 210-9 (45 overs) 6 points.

With just four fixtures remaining the prospect of relegation loomed large for both clubs as Sutton’s 1st XI met Esher CC at New Road last Saturday.

In a match reduced to 45-overs after pitch conditions forced a delayed start by 70-minutes, Sutton slipped agonisingly to defeat and now sit 27-points adrift of Esher, the next placed club in the Premier table.

 

Sam Seadon invited Esher to bat first on a wicket suffering from overnight rain that had seeped under the covers.  The going was always likely to be difficult especially with young left-arm spinner Aneesh Jhalla making life difficult for Esher’s mid-order batsmen, (9-1-31-3).

 

After 35-overs and at 145-7 Sutton were on top; but an eighth wicket partnership of 49-runs between Nathan Roberts (34) and Nick Winder (18) helped a grateful Esher to end their innings after 44.5 balls at 214 all out.  The tables had turned!

 

A difficult start to Sutton’s reply saw Esher seamer Johnny Wright, trap Sam Seadon LBW for a duck; and then bowling Arun Harinath for 15.  At 102-7 Sutton were almost down and out; and then with 17-overs left, Rehan Ratnasapathy began his slaughter of the Esher attack, ending with an unbeaten 60-runs.

 

With support from Matt Cawood (20) and Aman Shinwari (17), Sutton and Rehan were fighting all the way.  Sadly, a valiant effort went in vain, as Sutton fell just short, losing by 4-runs.

 

At the foot of the table are Guildford CC, who journey to Cheam Road this coming Saturday.  To have any chance of avoiding relegation, a win for Sutton this week is vital.  Another win or two from the remaining fixtures, (away to Reigate Priory and at home to Sunbury on the League’s final Saturday), and who knows?  Never say never! 

 

On a positive note, it was great to see Rehan back to his devastating best.

Saturday 10th August v East Molesey (home): East Molesey edge Sutton in first-rate game of cricket.

East Molesey CC, (20 points), 204/8 in 42-overs, beat Sutton CC (4 points) 190/9 in 42-overs, by 14-runs.

In the first of the remaining overs games of the season, (50/50), leaders East Molesey stay clear at the top of the Surrey Championship Premier Division after their tight win at Cheam Road on Saturday.

 

The start was delayed by 90-minutes as conditions were given time to dry-out after a deluge covered the grounds overnight.  Consequently, the umpires reduced the game to 42-over a side. Sam Seadon won the toss for Sutton, and he had no hesitation in asking Molesey to bat.

 

After losing Simon Barrett (7) at 21-runs (ct Seadon b Connor Griffin), keeper Nick Stevens (52) and Sam Burge (33) settled the ship; then at 72-runs Burge was stumped by Josh Blake after coming down the wicket to Aneesh Jhalla.  There then followed a couple of decent partnerships and at 166/4 with 7-overs and 6-wickets left, a Molesey total of around 225-runs certainly looked realistic; and as a result, a tall-order for Sutton to reach when they batted.

 

However, at 166-runs Rehan Ratnasapabathy (5-0-32-2) found a way through the defence of Dominic Reed, Molesey skipper, bowled for 23-runs. After, Molesey were never able to escape the clutches of Matt Cawood’s spin, (8-0-39-4), finishing at 204/8 off their allotted 42-overs.

 

At a required run rate of 4.90 and with the wicket holding up well, there was optimism in the air as Seadon and Arun Harinath strode to the crease.  At 31/0 after 5-overs Molesey were becoming a little twitchy; but they’re not top of the table for nothing and were soon amid the wickets.   At 35/0 in the 6th over, Sutton captain Seadon, went for 19-runs; followed 10-overs later at 61 by Harinath, done by a superb direct run-out, for 20-runs.  By this time Molesey’s bowlers were on top; and supported by excellent fielding, Sutton’s run rate had dropped to under 4-runs an over, now requiring at rate of just over 5.50 to reach the target.

 

Cameos (Josh Blake 37, Sam Woods 23 and Ratnasapabathy 22) kept the required rate within reach.  Sadly, wickets fell too regularly to maintain the pace; and despite valiant efforts by the lower order Sutton ended on 190/9, falling short of the target by 15-runs.

 

There was the occasional period in the game when a shock result looked possible; but East Molesey are an excellent all-round team and the sense that they remained in the ascendancy throughout the game was constant.   They are worthy table-toppers and we wish them well in their quest to end the season as Premier Champions.

 

Next week Sutton visit Esher CC in a game that, given respective positions in the table, is a must win fixture for both clubs.  All the same, if Sutton can display similar intensity in their game to that shown on Saturday against Molesey, and also in the game versus Banstead last week, hopes must be high that a win is more than possible.

Saturday 3rd August v Banstead (away): Banstead Hold ‘Mad Mile Derby’ Bragging Rights.

Banstead 153/6 in 53-overs of 67 back, (24-points), beat Sutton 151/10 in 59.2-overs (2-points), by 4-wickets.

August already!  As the saying goes, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’  Well, what with weather disrupting fixtures and some disappointing results for the 1st XI, last month was not exactly a barrel of laughs for the Sutton faithful.

Nevertheless, it is August and with sunniness high, Sutton’s 1st XI travelled the short distance to Banstead CC looking to even the 2019, ‘Mad Mile Derby’ score, after suffering an uncomfortable defeat earlier in the season.

In line with all of Saturday’s other Premier fixtures, this match was a low scoring affair.  The wicket’s surface was a tad dusty, the type that creates help for decent spin bowlers; and so it proved as the majority of wickets in the game fell to spin.

In the absence of Luke Smith, Sutton’s captain on the day, Sam Seadon, won the toss and justifiably, elected to bat.  Hindered by a few moot umpiring decisions, and the wicket, batting became a struggle; and in a total of 151 all out (59.2 overs), only Seadon (29); David Mitchell (24), and Sangram Reddy, with a well-constructed 56, added contributions of note.  Banstead’s left-arm orthodox, Tyler Meyer, grabbed significant bowling figures of 22.2-7-46-6.

At 106 for 6-wickets, and still requiring another 46 to win, Banstead’s innings was developing in much the same way as Sutton’s had, earlier in the day.  However, despite Aneesh Jhalla’s impressive left-arm spin bowling of 19-5-52-4, a solid 43 not out from James Culff, well supported by Arsalan Abbas’ 24 not out, saw Banstead comfortably home for a win by 4-wickets in 53 of their allotted 67-overs.  

Remarkably, but perhaps not surprisingly on a day of low scores in the Premier programme, Sutton’s 2-points from the game were the only points gained on the day by any of the four clubs currently battling against relegation.  After 13-matches played, the bottom four are:

7) Esher CC 93

8) Sunbury CC 82

9) Sutton CC 77

10) Guildford CC 55    

There are still a number of twists and turns to go in this intriguing dogfight but in the final 5-matches of the season

Saturday 27th July v Ashstead (home): ABANDONED AT 9.00AM WITHOUT A BALL BOWLED…….!  Absolutely no choice

Sunday 21st July: T20 Finals Day: Cranleigh CC worthy winners of the Edwards Cup:

Semi-Finals: Cranleigh beat Weybridge by 4-wickets; Sutton beat Sunbury by 4-wickets.

Final: Cranleigh beat Sutton by 19-runs.

 

On a beautiful summer’s day at Reigate Priory CC, after early morning cloud, Cranleigh eased home against Sutton to lift the Surrey Championship T20 Edwards Cup. 

 

The day’s first semi-final saw Weybridge batting first and struggling to reach 121 for 6 off their 20-overs against a useful Cranleigh bowling attack, supported by an outstanding fielding display.  Chasing the 122-runs needed for victory, Cranleigh blew Weybridge away right from the off by scoring 42-runs in the first two overs received.  From then on it was steady ‘nudging and nurdling’ cricket, until reaching the required target in 18.2-overs.

 

In the second semi-final, Sutton faced Sunbury; and by now the sun was creeping through steadily thinning clouds appreciatively.  Sunbury won the toss and elected to bat but were limited to 122 for 6 off their 20-overs.  Tight, restrictive bowling by Aman Shinwari (16-runs, 1-wicket, off 4-overs) and Chris Stevenson (10-runs, 1-wicket, off 4-overs) was well supported by Sam Blake (38-runs, 2-wickets, off 4-overs) and by a solid all-round fielding display.

In reply, from being 5-runs for 2 wickets down early on, Sutton recovered rapidly.  Initially with Josh Blake (42-runs) and Jamin Patel (21-runs) in a stand of 35-runs seeing Sutton were back on track.  A partnership of 37-runs followed between Blake and Sam Woods (19-runs), at over a run-a-ball and another of 29-runs when skipper Luke Smith (18-runs) joined Blake.  At 106 for 4 and 5-overs left, Sutton were well set for victory.

Two quick wickets, Blake falling at 106 and Smith at 115, and Sunbury thought they might spring a surprise; but Shinwari (10 not out) and Dan Edwards (2 not out) played prudently to see Sutton home by 4-wickets, reaching the target in 18.4 overs, and ensuring Sutton were through to the Final against Cranleigh.

 

Luke Smith won the toss, and given similar success in the semi and in previous rounds, understandably asked Cranleigh to bat first.  Gradually wickets fell as Sutton’s bowling attack doggedly stuck to their task, again supported by excellent fielding in every direction.  Cranleigh ended their innings on 131 for the loss of 9-wickets.  Connor Griffin captured 5 for 25 off his 4-overs, and Aman Shinwari bagged 2 for 22 off his 4.  Cranleigh never really got away, but a tenacious 54 from Lewis Bedford helped them to a total that, given how the semis evolved, would prove challenging, to say the least.

 

The early loss of in-form Josh Blake with the score at 5 was an early blow to Sutton’s hopes; but Chris Morris, (22-runs) and Jamin Patel added 27-runs in good time before Morris fell at 32.  Alas, from that point on Sutton struggled to combat Cranleigh’s clinical bowling and fielding performance.  Jack Scriven’s 3-overs, 3-wickets for 13-runs, and Kiwi Test player, Ajaz Patel’s 4-overs, 2-wickets for 15-runs, constrained Sutton’s batting until the 15thover when at 64 for 7, Shinwari strode to the crease determined to have a go!  His 37 from just 21-balls gave Sutton a glimmer of hope; but when he fell at 111 (NELSON!) any prospect of a dramatic win had essentially, gone. 

 

Sutton finally succumbed, ending after 18-overs at 112 all out, leaving Cranleigh worthy winners, while seeing off Sutton’s challenge by 19-runs.  We wish Cranleigh well in next weekend’s ‘4-Counties’ Finals Day, which takes place at their ground.

 

Thanks to Reigate Priory CC who organised the day splendidly.

 

Saturday 20th July v Weybridge (away): Rain Saturates Weybridge Green.

Weybridge CC 1st XI v Sutton CC 1st XI

Match abandoned; 4-points each.

A hugely frustrating Saturday as players from both clubs were left kicking their heels in the dressing rooms, in the bar, and on the pavilion balcony, whilst the umpires decided the fixture’s fate.

Rain all night, and then again either side of the official 11.00am start time, ruined any chance of play, with the umpires abandoning proceedings at 1.00pm; but only after all participants had enjoyed a very agreeable early lunch. 

The outfield was exceptionally wet and although bright skies appeared early afternoon, the umpires had no choice in abandoning the game, without a ball bowled.

One bright spot though.  After completion of the day’s Premier programme, Sutton had moved up one place in the table, and out of the two relegation spots.  Every cloud and all that……!     

Next Saturday Ashtead CC visit Cheam Road.

 

Saturday 13th July v Wimbledon (home): Thameslink Derby ends in convincing win for Wimbledon.

Sutton 154/10 after 50-overs, (1 point) lost to Wimbledon 157/2 (24 points) by 8-wickets.

The optimism so apparent after Sutton’s excellent start to the season is dribbling away, replaced by nerves and hefty bouts of nail-biting. Genuine concern now reigns as to where the Club’s run of eight consecutive games without a win will ultimately lead, come the season’s end. Sutton can be under no illusions for they would have lost all eight games had they not shown immense spirit. Alas, it’s not just moral fiber that’s needed; a few more runs would help.

Common to all those matches was Sutton’s cricket curse of late – the middle-order collapse; and following defeat on Saturday by Wimbledon in the second Thameslink Derby of the season, Sutton are still waiting patiently for their middle order batsmen to fire.

Dan Edwards, Sutton’s captain, stepping-up for the injured Luke Smith, won the toss on a pleasant day at Cheam Road and elected to bat. Despite losing Jamie Griffin early Sam Seadon (40) and Sangram Reddy (26) took Sutton to a decent start of 74/1 when, after 19-overs, Seadon was snared by Wimbledon keeper, James ‘I Feel Good’ Brown, off Jonathan Dewes bowling. At 82/2 after 22-overs, Reddy went for 26 caught Dewes bowled Cole McConchie, leaving Josh Blake, (23) and Chris Stevenson (4) at lunch on 97/3 off 33-overs. Blake and Stevenson fell soon after lunch and after just 50-overs Sutton were all out for 154.

Wimbledon knocked-off the target for the loss of 2-wickets, (Seadon 2/48 off 9), Nicholas Welch with a chanceless 96 seeing them home from just 32-overs.

In previous matches, individually, Sutton’s middle-order has had their moments; but whether batting first or chasing, they are paying for the wastefulness with the bat. Unless they can find an answer to the most obvious area of weakness, they can expect similar results against all strong and confident teams.

In defence, it has to be said that unforeseen absences, and injuries, have not helped Sutton’s team selection this season; and to rub salt in the wound, Club Captain Luke Smith may be out for a week or two with a shoulder injury.

The team must now regroup and regain their focus, as they turn their attentions to a busy and exciting weekend ahead. First up is a visit to the Cricket Green next Saturday for a vital league fixture versus Weybridge CC; and then on Sunday the 1st XI travel to Reigate Priory CC who host the Surrey Championship’s T20 Edwards Cup 2019 Finals Day, where the expected timings are as follows:

10:30am – Cranleigh CC v Weybridge CC

13:15pm – Sutton CC v Sunbury CC

16:30pm – The Final

A winning weekend is absolutely possible. Go to it lads; you can do it!

Please come and lend support to the team. Members and followers are invited to attend both events, (and all future matches.

Saturday’s League fixture at Weybridge CC: The Cricket Green, Princes Road, Weybridge, KT13 9BY.

Sunday’s T20 Finals Day at Reigate Priory CC: Park Lane, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 8JX. Refreshments are available to all and will include a Nandos van, (a first we suspect!)

Saturday 6th July v Sunbury (away): The Old London’ Club Derby, (Middlesex v Surrey), ends honours even.**

Sunbury 305/3 declared after 58-overs (10 points) v Sutton 268/6 after 62-overs (7 points); match drawn.

The appeal of the timed/declaration game (120-overs in Premiership fixtures) is that it is very difficult on a good wicket to bowl out a decent batting side in roughly 60-overs.  It requires tactical judgement, skilful captaincy, and a modicum of luck.  Giving the side batting second a reasonable chance of winning is the real gamble, as declaring too late almost always ensures a dull draw.  However, performed well a timely declaration can often produce a really exciting climax.  Saturday’s game was a case in point.

Sutton skipper Luke Smith won the toss and asked Sunbury to bat.  Sam Burgess (51), Maunders (37), and Rajan Soni (68) all enjoyed the pleasant batting surface; but it was SA overseas Matt McGillivray, returning from injury, who starred, hitting a devastating 113 not out from just 106 balls.  After 58-overs, Sunbury’s captain, John Maunders, declared the innings at 305 for 3, leaving Sutton with 62-overs in which to reach the target set.

Was Maunders’ decision a positive one?  Was the carrot temptingly dangled, enough for Sutton to, ‘give it a go’?  To start with, any attempt undoubtedly needed a solid base from the top order.  Sangram Reddy (60), and Jamie Griffin, (61), saw to it with an opening stand of 117 before Sangram fell to spinner Vishal Manro.

Jamie is worthy of a special mention.  The 2nd XI skipper was, in the nicest possible way, ‘coerced’ into playing, as one or two 1st XI regulars were absent; and he did himself proud, maintaining his rich vein of batting form whilst playing in his first ever Premiership game.  Furthermore, Jamie batted through the latter part of his innings with a runner after suffering an adductor muscle strain midway through his time at the crease.  Well done Jamie; tenacity personified!

The excellent start was maintained by Josh Blake (40), and Chris Stevenson (44 not out).  At 237 for 3 with 13-overs left, the carrot chase was definitely on.  Sadly, the middle order came and went in a matter of 8-overs.  The intention of each batsman was clear and without doubt the right thing to do; but by then Surrey’s off-spinner, Amar Virdi (22-overs, 3 for 84), had bowled enough overs to find his line, length and flight, and then thwart Sutton’s attempt at reaching an improbable but tempting target.  At 252 for 6, with just 5-overs left, the chase was over, leaving Stevenson and Dan Edwards digging-in for the draw, closing on 268 for 6.

Who said draws can’t be exciting?

A cracking game of cricket, again played in the right spirit; and once more encouraging to see players of both clubs socialising post-game for chat and a drink or two.

Wimbledon travel to Cheam Road this coming Saturday for the second ‘Thameslink Derby’ this season.  Sutton holds the lead one nil.  By the close of play next week, a tad of the resilience, perseverance, and grit shown at Sunbury will give Sutton a good chance of making it two nil!

** I realise I’m pushing it a bit; but during the early part of the last century any Middlesex CCC v Surrey CCC fixture was known as, ‘The London Derby’”.

Saturday 29th June v Reigate Priory (home): Waterworks Derby goes Priory’s way in spectacular fashion

Result: Reigate Priory CC 1st XI won by 8-wickets.

Sutton CC 1st XI 172 all out (62.5 overs); Reigate Priory CC 1st XI 176-2 (32.3 overs).

Unlike the last two fortuitously drawn fixtures, this week Sutton paid heavily for their lack of batting application when it mattered most.  After a cautious but solid start 8-wickets fell for just 30-runs!  Sutton’s fate in this game thus sealed.

Richard Oliver won the toss for Priory on a blisteringly hot day and elected to field.  At 142-2 we wondered whether Oliver’s upbeat choice in making Sutton bat first on a lovely track might actually backfire.  Although Sutton lost opener Sangram Reddy cheaply, right stump spectacularly removed by a Richard Stevens jaffa, Sam Seadon (47) and Josh Blake (61) set out admirably to repair the early damage.  The second wicket fell at 87 when Seadon stepped down the track to leggie Michael Munday, and paid the price; stumped.  Blake was joined by Chris Stevenson and Sutton lunched feeling pretty good at 102-2.

At 142-2 confidence was growing that Oliver’s decision might not go as he planned.  Wretchedly, that belief was smothered during the next hour once Munday had Blake caught behind by Sam Hall.  142-3 soon became 143-4 when Stevenson also fell to Munday, caught Luke Beaven, for 29.  From then on, a display of poor batting ensued.  Just 30-runs were scored for the loss of 8-wickets, of which Sam Woods accrued 24 of them!

Michael Munday ended with figures of 23.5 overs, 4-maidens, 74-runs, 8-wickets!  172 all out; and Oliver’s judgement in fielding first was well and truly vindicated.  The visitors march to victory took just 32.3 overs, Michael Burgess underlining their superiority over Sutton with a rapid 50 in just 24-balls.

Priory strides on inextricably to the Championship winner’s trophy.  The squad they have mustered is one of the strongest in recent Premier history; and they have the look of a club who could go unbeaten all season.

Sutton’s Waterworks Derby performance ended in tears.  Lady Luck finally ran out on them; and they were made to pay for a string of poor team efforts with the bat over the past few weeks, notable contributions from the few aside.

The Geoff Kaye Memorial Ground and Sunbury CC lie in wait next Saturday.  Heads down lads!

Saturday 22nd June v Guildford (away): Mid-order batting collapse almost proves costly…….again

Guildford CC 263-7 dec (60 overs); Sutton CC 196-9 (60 overs).

Guildford gain winning draw 4 points, (12 incl. bonus points); Sutton 2 points, (6 incl. bonus points). Current league table here.

Sutton journeyed to the Woodbridge Road on Saturday, most travelling via the occasionally scenic Portsmouth Road; and in front of the home club’s newly erected pavilion, Guildford’s captain, Tom Collins, won the toss.  He had no hesitation in batting first on a flat track and in perfect cricket weather. 

The County Town men got off to a decent start with openers Nathan Tilley (89) and Angus Lovell (45) scoring 97 before the initial wicket fell.  Runs were accumulated steadily, if not rapidly, due in the main to a composed effort from Sutton’s bowlers, supported by excellent ground fielding.

After 60-overs Guildford declared at 263 for 7-wickets, leaving Sutton with equal overs in which to score the 264-runs required for victory.

Now, one would have thought that an opening stand of 105, accumulated with speed by the ever dependable Sam Seadon (46) and Sangram Reddy, making his first XI debut (56), would give the later batsmen a foundation on which to build scores of their own.

Not so.  True enough, Chris Stevenson (22) and Josh Blake (46 not out) added runs to the total but none of the remaining batsmen managed to stay with Blake long enough to test the challenge set by Guildford.

The remaining six made an unimpressive 15 runs between them; and 8 of these were made by Aman Shinwari who achieved the longest stay of 30-minutes.

At 195 for 9, with 3-overs left, all seemed lost but young Aneesh Jhalla (0 not out) and Josh Blake were able to stave off defeat.

Most of the damage was executed by Guildford’s part-time spinner Angus Lovell, who took 4 for 28, and by pace man George Barlow’s 4 for 46.

All it needed for this and in last week’s match versus Esher was for a couple of batsmen to score a decent total which would make all the difference.  It does not require one or two to score massively as long as others contribute.

Sutton can still take something from this game.  For the second week running, they stopped a club near them in the table from winning; and they now understand that application with the bat, and concentration are easy fixes moving forwards.

This is a very good, youthful cricket team and the squad need to believe.

Next Saturday presents a tough contest when current league leaders Reigate Priory visit Cheam Road.  Now that is a scalp worth a battle!”

Saturday 15th June v Esher (home): Slippery crease at Cheam Road; caution prevails!

Possibly the biggest nightmare for all cricket umpires is when the weather, ground and/or pitch conditions cause them concern.  All these elements can influence a game; and if something is not exactly right, the fun and games begin!

In Saturday’s home Premier fixture against Esher CC, Sutton’s Sam Blakewas a lucky boy after he walked away from a worrying slip whilst making his ground for a run.  After pondering the incident for a while the umpires called time on the game 30-minutes early, fearing potential player injury.  Esher, 176 all out, gained 9 points from the winning draw; whilst Sutton, 117 for 9, reaped 5 from a fortuitous losing draw.

Batting first after being put in by Sutton’s captain Luke Smith, and after a delayed start to the match, Esher progressed to 140 for 3 at lunch, their overseas and Derbyshire county player, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, looking threatening on 53.  Indeed, at 160 for 3 soon after the break 300-runs plus looked odds-on.  At this point the game changed dramatically.  In the 35th over pace-man Aman Shinwari forced H-P into a sloppy shot, the ball dropping invitingly to Sam Seadon, fielding at mid-off.

Remarkably, by the middle of the 43rd over Esher were all out for 176, with Shinwari, (5 for 69), and seventeen year-old left-arm spinner, Aneesh Jhalla, (5 for 25), sharing the spoils.

With 77-overs available to Sutton, the match was there for the taking; but before the innings could start, rain came again and 17-overs were lost.  Even so, with 60-overs left the target of 177 ought to have been well within Sutton’s batting competencies to eke out.  Alas, by the 45th over, the innings had crumbled to just 117-runs for the loss of 9-wickets, with only middle-order batsmen Chris Stevenson, (39-runs), and Sam Woods, (30-runs), making a score worthy of note.

Then, with Sutton staring at defeat, Sam Blake slid dramatically, attempting to make his ground, and the umpires were left with one of those difficult decisions they sometimes have to make.  In truth, they had no choice.  For Esher, so near yet so far; for Sutton, hope springs eternal!”

Saturday 8th June 2019: East Molesey defeat continues poor Sutton run.

Following encouraging wins in this season’s opening two Surrey Championship Premier fixtures Sutton suffered their third successive defeat after an 8-wicket loss against East Molesey last Saturday.

Heavy rain overnight, following the previous day’s downpours, caused a slight delay to proceedings. The wicket had been covered, naturally, but one or two damp patches had appeared by the side of the wicket, to which the umpires deemed a little time and attention was required before play could commence.

Gardening completed, the toss was going to be an important factor, given existing weather conditions and an understandably greenish looking wicket. It was Molesey’s captain who called correctly and predictably asked Sutton to bat first.

Promisingly, Sutton’s openers scored 19-runs off Molesey’s first two overs; but when Luke Smith (captain) was caught at point for 10-runs the rot really set in. As the ball nipped around, four wickets fell quickly, leaving an anxious Sutton at just 37-runs for the loss of 5-wickets.  Sutton’s unease concerning the batting conditions did not relent, finally being dismissed for only 91-runs, a total which included five LBWs. 

Josh Blake’s cautious 24-runs accompanied by brief cameos from Sam Woods (11) and Anwar Shinwari (17) helped; but similar watchfulness to Blake’s was needed in order to add the 50-runs or so which, in the circumstances, might have presented Molesey with a more testing challenge than Sutton posed.

Molesey did lose two wickets in their chase but with conditions frustratingly easing skipper Dominic Reed (46 not out) helped see them home inside 15-overs.

Luke Smith’s team badly need a decent result and will be hoping for better fortune in this coming Saturday’s fixture at Cheam Road against one of last year’s promoted clubs, Esher CC, (11.00am start).

 

Full scorecard available at:

www.sutton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3753621

Saturday 1st June 2019: Blow for Sutton as Banstead seize the ‘Mad Mile’ derby. 

Sutton, looking to bounce-back after their disappointing performance against Ashtead last week, were left frustrated once more, as Banstead gained an emphatic 116-run victory.

 

Banstead skipper, Dan Newton, won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on another good looking Cheam Road surface.

An early wicket each for Sutton’s opening bowlers, left the visitors reeling at 22 for 2. However, Sutton’s initial optimism evaporated in the heat of the afternoon, as Banstead steadily clawed back the initiative.   

 

Banstead’s rebuild began with an imposing partnership of 184-runs in 33-overs between Liam McKendry and Tom Lancefield, broken at 205 for 3 when Lancefield departed 2-runs short of his ton.

 

With the game moving decisively Banstead’s way, McKendry and Cameron Gannon (55-runs) added salt to the wound by following-up with a rapid stand of 88-runs.  McKendry finally departed in the 48th over, for a magnificent, chanceless innings of 130-runs.  By then Banstead had amassed 298-runs for the loss of 6-wickets. They closed on 328 for 6 after their 50-overs leaving Sutton’s batting a daunting target.

 

Alas, wickets fell regularly as Sutton’s top order, finding it difficult to up the tempo when required, fell short. By the time Arun Harinath (53-runs) became the 5th dismissal, with just 132-runs on the board, 30-overs had already passed. Gaining batting bonus points then became the only realistic target.

 

Captain Luke Smith (27 not out) and keeper, Dan Edwards (47-runs) saw to that task impressively with a partnership of 63-runs for the 8th wicket. 

 

A frustrated Sutton ended their 50-overs on 212 for 9 wickets, leaving a cheerful Banstead as the Mad Mile derby victors by a substantial and merited margin.

Full scorecard available at:

www.sutton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3753514

Saturday 25th May 2019: Ashtead romp to convincing win over Sutton.

In the Surrey Championship Premier League last Saturday, Ashtead gained their first win this season with a 5-wicket victory over Sutton.

On a good-looking wicket Sutton Captain, Luke Smith, won the toss and elected to bat.  After just 12-overs Sutton found themselves at 48-5!  Ashtead’s pace men, Prince Singh (3-39) and Jake Martin (3-43), ripped through the early batting.  Only Sam Seadon responded to spells of excellent pace bowling with a hard-hitting 28.  Sutton’s innings ending disappointingly at 182 all out.

Sutton fought back mid-innings, with handy contributions from Sam Woods (29), Aman Shinwari (26), and Dan Edwards (23), brilliantly caught one-handed on the wide long-on boundary by Tom Homes off a mighty, destined for the car park hit.

The knock of the day for Sutton comfortably belonged to young Josh Blake.  After last week’s 50 not out he was left stranded again, this time on a faultless 47.  Blake has worked hard on his game, and his resolve is now displaying positive results, a development from which Sutton look forward to benefit in this as well as seasons to come.

After reaching 175-7, Tom Deighton’s off-spin (3-29) scuttled Sutton’s lower order.  Ashtead, understandably, viewed the target of 183 with relish.

Sutton’s defence started disastrously as Shinwari, the Club’s main strike bowler, pulled-up after 2-overs with a side strain which, if confirmed, could see him ruled out for up to a month.

Although nipping 5-wickets, Sutton’s remaining attack struggled to maintain a constant flow of Ashtead runs.  Opener Hayden Storey (41) and David White, (75 not out) saw them home comfortably.

On Bank Holiday Monday, Sutton outclassed both Old Rutlishians and Old Hamptonians, to progress to the Surrey Championship T20 quarterfinals, where Sutton’s opponents have yet to be determined.

 

Full scorecard available at:

www.sutton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3753402

 

Saturday 18th May 2019: Sutton Outclass 2018 Champions!

 

At Cheam Road on Saturday, Sutton’s 1st XI overwhelmed last season’s Surrey Premiership champions, Weybridge CC, winning by 34-runs.

On an overcast day, Weybridge won the toss and elected to bowl. Sutton’s openers, captain Luke Smith and Sam Season showed positive intent from the start, punishing any loose deliveries. Looking comfortable at the wicket, it was a surprise when having put on 97 both fell in relatively quick succession. Smith was first to go, LBW for a fine 34. From then on, wickets fell regularly with Seadon next out, stumped after a hard-hitting 61.

At 117 for 4 a crucial partnership stopped the flow of wickets for a while. Josh Blake, (50 not out), and Jaimin Patel, caught in the deep for 30, put on a stand of 64 significant runs. Sutton ultimately closed at 230 for 8 wickets off their 50-overs.

Opening with spells of quality swing bowling, Sam Blake (2 for 20) and Shinwari (3 for 34) put Sutton on the front foot as Weybridge sank to 38 for 4. However, Andrew Curtis and Haydir Ali steadied the Weybridge ship with a 66-run stand; but with wickets falling at 104 and 116, and with the required run rate rising rapidly, a Sutton win looked assured.

Ali was still there though; and with Jack Winslade set about Sutton’s bowling in retaliation. Then at 181 Ali was caught

at deep mid-on by Seadon off Shinwari for 66. Seadon (3 for 27) demolished the remaining Weybridge wickets swiftly, leaving the visitors all out for 196.

Sutton’s triumph was another tremendous all-round performance; their second in a row on the heels of last week’s superb opening success at Wimbledon.

Next Saturday Sutton visit Ashtead CC.

‘The Third Man’

 

Full scorecard available at: www.sutton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3753298

 

 

Saturday 11th May 2019: Sutton win Thameslink Derby!

 

Heavy skies blanketed Church Road Wimbledon on Saturday, where the locals met Sutton’s 1st XI, led by new captain Luke Smith.  It was this season’s opening Surrey Championship Premiership league fixture for both teams.  On a greenish wicket, not unusual at this time of year, a rain-interrupted game saw bowlers maintain the initiative throughout much of the day.  Sutton eventually advanced victorious by 49 runs (DLS method).

 

Batting first, Sutton reached 206 all out one ball short of their allotted 46-overs.  Struggling at one stage on 69 for 5, a couple of 23-run stands followed.  Then at 115 for 7, probably the game’s most significant period of play started to evolve.  A superb big-hitting partnership of 87-runs between Chris Morris, 56 off 41 balls, and Dan Edwards 32, also off 41 balls, regained the edge from a useful Wimbledon bowling attack.  Sam Dickson’s 7 for 25, was outstanding.  In the end, this stand established the main foundation from which Sutton’s victory was secured.  It was a phase of the game which definitely turned the match.

 

In reply, Wimbledon’s batting wavered time and again before ending on 158 all out in 44.5 overs.  Sutton’s predominantly youthful bowling attack simply never let Wimbledon’s strong batting line-up settle.  All chipped-in with a wicket or two.  However, star of the attack was Sutton’s hardened campaigner and all-rounder, Sam Seadon.  Inspiring his young colleagues with a terrific display of swing bowling, Sam, off his allotted 10-overs, ultimately snared 3 wickets for a miserly 20-runs.  A first-rate fielding display ably supported the exceptional team bowling performance.

 

Sutton’s unending resolve throughout the match certainly surprised everyone at Church Road.  A collective groan rose up from the gathered faithful.  Their team had lost.  Sutton had won the, ‘Thameslink Derby!’  It was a wonderfully encouraging start to their season.

 

The Third Man.

 

Full Scorecard: www.sutton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3753189