- Battersea Ironsides
- Maori Oxshott
- Old Emanuel
- Old Pauline
- Stoke D’Abernon
Mere expletives could not convey just how frustrating this season was! As expected, the team was very much in contention for promotion by the end of June. Results went the wrong way in mid-season but successive July wins against Haslemere, Old Paulines and Battersea kept Alleyn in the hunt. To the team’s utter and indescribable horror, the tiny margins in Division Five then revealed their cruelty as a trio of defeats to Chertsey, Oxshott and Kempton saw the side bombed into the relegation fight. A final week defeat to promoted Stoke on run rate put Alleyn out of the league altogether. This was not supposed to happen. The whole team was gutted.
The team had a neat bowling quintet: Ryan Foley (21 @ 21) and captain Will Bevan (26 @ 22) were useful openers, Tristan Arnold (10 @ 27) bowled tidy seamers at first change, then the off spin of Tom Eadon (18 @ 18) and leg spin of Robert George (10 @ 27) made up a really balanced attack.
The batting was the trouble. Aside from team ‘father figure’ Jim Bridgeman (143 @ 28), new signing Phil Lewis (286 @ 22), wicketkeeper Simon Norris (272 @ 19) and all-rounder Eadon (382 @ 22), the team too often had to rely upon runs from the bowlers; Foley (209 @ 14), Bevan (163 @ 18) and Arnold (165 @ 17). Well, you do the maths. A hard-working but absolutely exhausted core of eight dedicated players could not drag the team in the right direction when it really counted. Edd Galloway, Toby Gallington and Will Murday chipped in when they could but it did not really amount to the cohesive squad that Bevan so desperately needed in the final games.
Battersea Ironsides 1st XI
Another season of contrasting fortunes was seen for the Battersea Ironsides 1st XI in 2016. The side proved successful (albeit somewhat inconsistent) over the first two thirds of the season finding themselves promotion contenders with five matches to play. However, over the final stretch the Ironsides struggled to produce performances anywhere near their potential, eventually limping to 8th place (the same finishing position as in 2015). Nonetheless, another season of cricket in the Championship has been secured.
Willow in hand, runs were at a premium throughout most of the season reflected in a lack of prolific individual contributors; Bishop, McKenzie and Henry Marks each passed 250 runs for the season but generally the entire XIs batting skills were tested most weeks.
The bowling unit was again the side’s stronger suit, always threatening but at times not as consistent as years gone by to regularly deliver the knockout blow. Mentioned in dispatches are McLaglen (31) and Will Marks (28) who topped the wickets tallies and were well supported by Nash and Graham who also passed 20 wickets throughout the year.
Thanks go to the side’s umpire (and tireless organiser off the cricket field) Eric Ferebee and also to Kirsty Stapylton for her immaculate scoring.
Although the XI had hoped for more than eighth place in a classic case of “what could have been”, a brilliant team spirit was maintained throughout; the Ironsides will be back looking for an improved result in 2017.
Chertsey 1st XI
A thrilling final day victory over Battersea Ironsides ensured Chertsey’s Division 5 survival during a season that was full of ups and downs. With seven wins in the campaign the side only recorded four fewer victories than the eventual league champions. However, mixing 10 defeats in with those triumphs perfectly summed up a season of inconsistency and the club eventually settled in seventh place by September.
The overriding strength of the team is with the ball and four players ended the season with more than 20 wickets to their name. Overseas offspinner Leon Van Vuuren proved a stellar addition to the team, leading the way with 33 scalps at 13.33. Not far behind was veteran spinner Daniel Shepherd, who rediscovered his love for both the game and the Blue Caps after a year away to take 25 wickets, although he rarely showed it. New ball pairing Luke Westcott and Jacob Loveridge were an extremely effective partnership up front and claimed 24 and 23 victims respectively, with those wickets costing 16.08 and 19.09 runs apiece.
Unfortunately, the batting was less of a positive point for the side, although there were some notable performances during the season. Zeeshan Mehtab shocked the world by transforming himself from a middle-order six machine into a watchful opener and was unrivalled at the top of the run-scoring charts. The right hander scored 438 runs in 18 innings and had a top score of 54, while elsewhere Jack Ogle’s superb maiden ton against Old Pauline was an obvious bright spot. However, the team will clearly want to improve on a collective tally of five half centuries when the 2017 season rolls around.
The addition of impressive youngsters Josh Jackman and David Sloan into what is already an extremely young team bodes well for the future and a battle at the opposite end of the league table is eyed next term.
Churt 1st XI
Last season, despite finishing 9th, it was felt that there was reason for optimism for 2016 and that the future looked bright. That prediction proved to be accurate as Churt secured its first championship in the Fullers/Surrey Championship structure.
The first match, away at Stoke D’Abernon, was all about the battle of the overseas players. Churt’s Oli Plaistowe (3 for 21) bowled with venom before New South Welshman Ben Mitchell (5 for 15) ran through the Stoke lower order to restrict them to 106 all out. Churt slipped to 80 for 9 courtesy of Stoke’s paceman Miller (6 for 24) before Mitchell (74*) and Plaistowe got the team over the line.
Churt also won the following three matches, with Ronnie DeFreitas (5 for 19) unplayable at Alleyn, important runs from Rowley Marshall (57) and skipper Daniel Higgins (40) at Old Pauline and a great all round display at home to Old Emanuel.
That fourth victory came after the sad passing of Steve Leek, who had been an umpire and scorer, but, most importantly, a true supporter and friend of the 1st XI and Club. The players were motivated to win the League as a tribute to him.
Churt’s season momentarily stuttered and top spot was relinquished after a defeat at Battersea and draw at Kempton but victories against Maori Oxshott, Chertsey – down to a dominant display from Marshall (33 and 7 for 29) – and Alleyn meant that they soon returned and never looked back. With seven victories (more than the previous three seasons combined) and two draws from the first 10 matches, the side were on the right track. Defeats against Haslemere were the only major blips, as Churt continued to notch up victories (11), securing promotion with three matches remaining and the title in the penultimate round.
Mitchell made a tremendous impact with the bat (692 runs @ 43.25) and ball (53 wickets @ 7.75) but also his positive, competitive and fun attitude.
However this was no one-man team. The bowling attack was superb with Plaistowe (24 @ 15.25), DeFreitas (21 @ 15.25), Marshall (23 @ 12.96) and Thomas (16 @ 13.38) allowing teams no let up. Young Josh Williams (15) showed great promise, and took 5 for 16 against Old Emanuel. The batting did not always fire but key knocks from Toby Finneran (413 @ 25.81) and Jon Palmer (356 @ 27.38) ensured results remained positive.
Everyone who played during the season made one or more important contributions. Above all, it was the Churt team spirit in a competitive league, which saw them prevail.
All at Churt are looking forward to the, hopefully prosperous, 2017 season.
Haslemere 1st XI
As no report submitted by the club the following was written by the Editor.
This was Haslemere’s 1st XI’s first season in the Surrey Championship and it resulted in a very creditable fourth place finish.
With seven wins and seven defeats, the side was never quite in the promotion hunt but it was also clear of any threat of relegation. However, losing four of the last five games was a disappointment.
The main highlights of the season were the victory over the eventual winners Churt in a rain affected game in August and chasing Old Pauline’s 151 with one ball to spare. The lowlights were being dismissed for 105 in the final game against Maori, failing to chase 129 against Stoke D’Abernon and only setting 112 vs. Kempton.
The bowlng was shared around, as were the wickets. C May (18 wickets), O Ellis (20), K Cronan (23), S Wiliams (18) and S Eastmont (18) were the main contributors.
The key batsmen were S Eastment (363 @ 26) and C Spooner (283 @20). One significant statistic is that the side only managed four 50s collectively throughout the year.
Haslemere will look to push for promotion in 2017.
Kempton 1st XI
The 1st XI's return to Championship cricket proved not to be entirely straightforward. Variable availability led to inconsistent performances and several heavy defeats. However, a strong finish to the season produced a final position of fifth, with eight wins and six defeats; a foundation to build on in 2017.
Prabjot Cheema headed the batting with 457 runs @ 57, followed by Andy Ward with 234 @ 33. Harjot Singh took 24 wickets @ 21 together with 10 catches, with Nbjot Sidhu and Joel Miah both capturing 19 wickets, at averages of 14 and 20 respectively.
Heartfelt thanks go to regular umpire Derek Maidment and scorer Celia Mackay and for the teas provided by June Inwood and Karen Miah, whose efforts are much appreciated.
Maori Oxshott 1st XI
The MOCC 1st XI enjoyed its best season for 4 years finishing in third place, just missing out on promotion. The team won three games early on against Old Emanuel, Kempton and winning a low scoring game against Battersea Ironsides. The season then took a turn, going five games without a win and by halfway the side had hardly picked up any batting bonus points.
After this point, the team went from looking at relegation places to looking to mount an unlikely charge for promotion, losing only one of the last 10 games. There were good wins against Old Emanuel, Alleyn and Chertsey before beating Stoke D’Abernon in a cracking game with some outstanding bowling performances from both teams. After defeat to champions elect Churt, the team ended the season with three straight wins.
Batting-wise, the team was mainly led by Oskar Kolk (691 runs @ 40.65) and Matt Hutcheon (473 @ 27.82), aided by valuable contributions from Fahad Butt (242 @ 20.82) and Ian Harper providing crucial fast runs in low scoring chases.
Bowling-wise it was the same players leading the charge, Oskar Kolk and Matt Hutcheon taking 38 and 33 wickets respectively. Steve Saker took 19 wickets before retiring to the 2nd XI with Baz Medlycott (14 wicket) taking over the spinners’ mantle.
Thanks must go to Brian Driscoll who umpired, when he was not falling off barges down the Thames!
Nine of the eleven who played the last winning match against Haslemere were 19 or under. If these youngsters can be kept together then the future of the club is looking up. The captain hopes the club can put a plan together to build upon what was achieved and hopefully progress again next year.
It has been a respectable season for the 1st XI and hopefully with the addition of one or two more players over the winter, the side can move into 2017 with high hopes.
Old Emanuel 1st XI
Winter recruitment was essential and achieved with an influx of players wishing to play in a ‘higher’ league than OTs. This was consequently a tough baptism for the newbies with a few senior and key players dropping out for personal reasons just before the start which put a huge dent in the early season planning and results.
The first half was very testing as the team tried to rebuild, struggling to find the right balance and personnel, experimenting with new players and shuffling the batting/bowling order to find the optimum combinations. These contributed to a bottom position in the table for most of the season. Nonetheless, there were some consistent batting performances especially from the classy Suhaas Kaushik (493 runs), the punishing Saleh Mohammed (448 @ 40), and skipper (Mr Cool and reliable) Sajjad Ahmed (507 @39); all three ended up in the top 10 run-scorers in the division.
Keeping faith, the second half of the season showed encouraging signs with a more balanced team and the turnabout was completed with a magnificent run-in of 5 wins in the last 6 games.
Bowling performances of Khurram Malik (20 wickets from the last 6 games, along with the best strike rate in the division), Sajjad Ahmed (28 wickets) and Farooq Butt (economical with the new ball) contributed significantly to this dramatic improvement.
A satisfactory 6th place finish appears comfortably above the relegation zone but in reality the relegation fight was live until the last game. There were lots of positives to take away, with good signs of the nucleus of a solid promotion-worthy squad for 2017. Huge thanks to the back-room support of AB and Khalid.
Old Pauline 1st XI
It was a difficult season for OPCC 1st XI who, under new leadership this year in Chris Berkett, were relegated from Surrey Championship Division 5. Far from being the weakest team in the division, Old Pauline’s found themselves in a remarkable amount of close games with matches regularly finishing in the final over or two. Unfortunately, Lady Luck did not shine and the team failed to cross the line more often than not.
Injuries certainly did not help as skipper, first choice keeper and most experienced batsmen all missed varying chunks of the season. As always, availabilities also played their part, with consistency in selection often lacking. However, despite showing a never-say-die attitude throughout, ultimately the team failed to produce 100 overs of good cricket on a regular basis with either bowling or, more commonly, batting letting the side down.
One man who shone was Tom Rigby, who had his most successful season, topping the division tally with 699 runs at 53 apiece. His season will always be remembered, though, for three successive (the first two unbeaten) centuries towards the back end of the season to add to his 3 fifties earlier on. Alex Duncan narrowly missed out on more league centuries, twice making 99, the second one unbeaten! Wickets were generally shared amongst the bowlers, with skipper Berkett topping the tally with 23 wickets.
Team spirit never dwindled and it was a pleasure to spend long Saturdays with a group of individuals who showed passion and determination throughout. If the same group of players can carry that through until next season, coupled with a bit more application with the bat, it should not be too long before Championship challenges await again.
Stoke D’Abernon 1st XI
Following too many near misses, the 1st XI finally cracked the Division 5 promotion code.
After doing a great job as U 19 T20 and Trust League Captain in previous seasons, James Trower took over as Club Captain and learnt the demands of the role quickly. By the end of the season he established a brand of cricket that was both successful and involved everyone. 28 players were used, all made a positive contribution to one or more matches.
In a low-scoring division, Ian Hopton (344) was the only one to pass 300 runs. Trower, Will Gudgeon, Adrian Taylor and Alastair Curran all registered half-centuries. James Whitmarsh glued several innings together and did a fine job behind the stumps. Youngsters James Corbishley, Nico Spreeth and Max Subba Row made good runs in low-scoring affairs. Vital runs down the order also came from Jase Earl (@ 45.67) and Will Thomson.
No centurions but Trower (85*), and Hopton (75*), looked set for one each against Kempton, instead walking off with a club Championship-era record opening stand.
Bowling was the stronger suit. James Miller, this year’s Overseas, became part of the furniture quickly and made time for players at all levels. His 43 wickets @ 12.63 included 6 for 24 on debut vs. Churt and 7 for 35 vs. Chertsey when the team only had 88 to defend.
New-ball partner Toby Tarrant took a few games to get going but once loose his final tally of 30 wickets @ 11.97 with an economy of just 2.76 was a huge factor.
Hopton (23 @ 22.53) completed a match double against Kempton with 5 for 35, Matt Gottschalk, newcomer Roddy Kelso and most improved player Charlie Hill (a vital 3 for 29 at Haslemere), provided excellent support. However the bowling performance of the season came from Dan Gluckman whose 7 for 22 forced Battersea Ironsides to collapse from 92 for 2 to 105 all out to secure another win.
A catch by Taylor against Old Pauline that will live long in memory for those who were there was the highlight of the fielding effort. Jack Raimondo deputised well with the gloves when asked.
Thanks to Drew for umpiring for the last eight years and to Jo for the enormous teas and all the other things she does to keep the side running. Hopton and Miller worked wonders to get the ground playable during the wet part of the season; extra points gained those weeks were crucial to the final points total thus completing a real team effort on and off the field.