- East Molesey
- Reigate Priory
After 6th place in 2016 and 7th place in 2017, Ashtead knew 2018 would be another challenging year in the Premiership.
It was a challenging start with no joy in the first round of limited overs matches, with 3 losses (albeit two of them close defeats to Reigate Priory and Sutton) and an abandonment against East Molesey.
The timed matches, as is so often the case, brought far more success. Draws against Sunbury and Cranleigh prove frustrating, but scores of 290 and 288 proved that the batting, so often a worry, was firing well. Success finally came in Match 7 away to Normandy, with a 7 run victory despite only setting 171.
A loss at home to Wimbledon would prove the only defeat in the long format and with further wins against East Molesey and Sutton, Ashtead would begin the run for home in 5th place in the table and a Premiership spot for 2019 all but secured.
August would prove a revelation, as Ashtead showed their short format credentials, with four crushing wins to propel the side to 3rd place, the best ever finish for the Club in the Surrey Championship. A far cry from the year 2000, when Ashtead spent their only year in the Fuller’s League.
Batting this year was spearheaded by the South African overseas star David White (with 895 runs at 59.67, including two centuries in a remarkable late season run of form that saw consecutive scores of 152, 96*, 94* and 133). Another good season for Guy Harper (521 at 37.21, with 2 centuries) and a welcome return for Conor Young (418 at 29.86) also stood out.
Bowling was a four man affair this year, with Tom Homes leading the way again (39 wickets at 21.69, including a 7 for 107 vs. Banstead). Also in the wickets were Harshil Patel (29 at 25.45), Sam Homes (20 at 23.05) and Tom Deighton (15 at 40.60).
Banstead 1st XI
2018 was an up and down season which saw a pleasing 5th place finish in the 1st Xl’s first Premier League season since 2014. Dan Newton led the side well and dealt brilliantly with every challenge thrown his way.
Without a stand-out strike bowler or a well-known spinner like many other sides a different way to win had to be found. Six out of the seven wins were chasing, showing calmness in the batting line up that had not always been there in the past.
Tom Lancefield and Dan Newton as so often were the mainstays of the batting. New signing George Willis added fight at the top of the order and hopefully in 2019 can turn the four 60s he scored into hundreds. Arsalan Abbas developed into a very useful all round cricketer and it was great to have Tyler Meyer around all season.
A very enjoyable season and with a couple of additions there will be hopes to kick on in 2019.
Cranleigh 1st XI
After climbing 4 divisions in 7 years, Cranleigh suffered a first set back in over 10 years with relegation to Division 1. The league in 2018 was extremely tight and with 3 last over losses being the difference between staying up and relegation.
After an opening season victory against Wimbledon, the Cranes were looking to continue momentum from the 2017 season but 2 narrow losses to Weybridge and Banstead halted that. A crucial away game against Ashtead at the end of season where the home side needed 40 from last 4 overs when the rain came; Ashtead winning by 3 runs of D/L was a tough one to take.
Lewis Bedford in his first full season since leaving school top scored with 460 runs offering the level of consistency you need in Premier League Cricket. Skipper Jack Scriven led from the front with the ball taking 30 wickets for the 2nd year running.
In 2019 Cranleigh CC will be looking to bounce straight back and build on what has been a terrific last 10 years for the club.
East Molesey 1st XI
The Moles completed a third great escape in as many years finishing 8th with one match to go.
Having not won a game in the first half of the season the signs were not looking good. Heavy defeats to Normandy, Reigate and Weybridge were overshadowed by a record loss to Sunbury as the team was bowled out for a record breaking 28.
It was the return of Simon Barrett from injury which sparked a turnaround in fortunes. After beating Sutton at home, Barrett with the bat and Jonny Fawcett with the ball were consistent performers for the remainder of the season.
After Barrett’s battling hundred at Wimbledon overseas player Ben McDermott and Niall Solomon scored centuries in a record win vs. Banstead. This sparked a remarkable August as the Moles won three and secured a tie in a bizzare match with Reigate.
The re-emergence of opening bowling partnership Reed and Westphal supported by Fawcett, Tigg and Knight was the backbone.
The belief was back in the team and each week there were stand out performers helping win games for the club.
Survival was confirmed with victory at Sutton after a Frank Knight five-fa. Thanks to everyone associated with the club for keeping the faith!
Normandy 1st XI
After the success of 2017, hopes were high for the 1st XI in 2018 and to finish 9th and be relegated was hugely disappointing for all concerned. No excuses can be made but mitigating circumstances can be offered in the form of an injury list to the seam attack that meant five front line seamers played less than six games each. The opening attack of Grimshaw and Pereira, so potent in 2018, made just 8 appearances between them and were absent completely from July onwards.
In the circumstances to carry the fight to the penultimate league game was an achievement in itself and much credit should go the slow men, Viggy Venkat and Chris Jones with 35 and 24 wickets respectively who pretty much carried the attack for the entire second half of the season.
On the batting front overseas opener Tim Ward led the line up like a trooper. His 736 runs, including a splendid 141 versus Sunbury, represent a fantastic effort. He was backed up by Chris Jones with 482 including his maiden 1st team century and the skipper with 433. Perhaps the biggest success of the year was the emergence of Charlie Young whose attacking style had earned him a reputation in 2nd team cricket last year but, in this campaign, he was often forced to curb his natural game and show some dogged resistance. He ended with 324 runs but showed great application and maturity and along with Freddy Austin showed that there is still great talent below the headline acts.
Sadly, when the chips were down too many of the side went missing and the side lost crucial games to Ashtead and Cranleigh in June that meant despite three wins in the last 4 weeks the dreaded drop could not be avoided.
Hopefully a fitter squad will be able to bounce back in to the top flight in 2019.
Reigate Priory 1st XI
Despite topping the Premier Division 1st XI table for a large part of the season, Reigate Priory stumbled in the last few games, ending in second place, 19 points behind Weybridge.
After nine wins in the first 12 games, the Priory could manage only two wins in its last six games, losing to both Weybridge and Sutton (for the second time).
The Priory failed to score four runs in the last over of what proved to be an Even Draw with Ashtead (both sides scoring 304) and were lucky to gain an unlikely tie against East Molesey when the home side lost its last eight wickets for 20 runs with Michael Munday spinning his way to 6 for 10.
The Priory certainly had the bowling attack to win the title. For the fourth time in five years left-arm spinner Luke Beaven topped the league wicket-takers with 43 wickets at an average 16.24. Leg-spinner Munday (40 at 16.93) was in second place and medium-pacer Will Hodson (34 at 18.41) in fifth place. Add in Richard Stevens (23 at 17.45), who like a fine wine only gets better with age, and there’s a top bowling attack.
It was the batting that let the side down. Richie Oliver scored 631 runs at 37.12, Andy Delmont (601 at 50.08), skipper Chris Murtagh (405 at 31.15) also contributed but thereafter the number of runs scored and the averages attained, dwindled.
Still, second place was an excellent season for the Llamas and the side undoubtedly will be looking to challenge for the title again…next season
Sunbury 1st XI
By standards set in previous seasons, 2018 was ultimately a disappointing one finishing 6th and a poor return; performances in the limited overs format was one of the main reasons for this.
Individual players did not find the consistency or play well enough for long enough periods and many will be unsatisfied with their final aggregates whether with bat or ball.
There were many positives; Sam Burgess at the top of the order (440 runs) and young keeper Conor Fulton (316 runs and 20 dismissals). Martin Andersson struck three centuries (474 at 59) impressed when he was available, Chris Green (301 at 43) and John Maunders (392 at 44) both made centuries and valuable contributions in the top order. Due to varying circumstances none of the above three players managed to play over 10 games which for a young squad made a huge difference.
On the bowling front, the spinners did not quite have the same impact but both Green (23 wickets) and Ajit Singh Sambhi (23) bowled well when called upon and the skill of leg spin from Singh Sambhi was excellent and perhaps under bowled at times. Kevin Smith was the leading wicket taker with (27 at 18) and again used the new ball to good effect despite carrying a couple of injuries. No better example was when he destroyed a decent East Molesey side with figures of 9 for 8!; an astonishing performance of skill and intent.
Other bowlers such as Amar Virdi showed his class when available and Vishal Manro bowled some good spells. Ishy Sohi continues to be an all-rounder that impresses at times with destructive batting and quick spells.
The squad will get a chance to atone for a disappointing season and will no doubt be looking to improve on this season’s performance going into next year. It is still a very talented squad with a good mixture of experience and youth.
Sutton 1st XI
Sutton, with a very youthful team, faced many challenges throughout the 2018 season and finished with a record of 5 wins 3 draws and 9 loses.
Sutton's wins came against Ashtead, Sunbury, Cranleigh, and twice vs. Reigate, away wins at Sunbury and Reigate were the stand out achievements.
Harry Allen took last year’s form into the 2018 campaign with bat and ball with 632 runs at 42.13 with 100s vs. Sunbury and Wimbledon and 25 league wickets at 30.00 with a match winning five wicket haul at Reigate. Harry will be hoping to take this form to Australia during the winter and everyone wishes him the best of luck.
Many thanks to newly appointed wicket keeper/batsman David Murphy for his season behind the stumps and with the bat 423 at 32.62 and with the gloves 22 catches and 3 stumpings. David set the league standard behind the stumps with under 10 byes throughout the season; the team is looking forward to Murph’s 2019 campaign!!
Freddie Boys 404 runs at 28.86 with 20 wickets at 26.65 with a stand out bowling display at Cranleigh of 4 for 6, Skipper Edwards 343 at 26.38 former Captain Outram 305 and L. Smith 300 runs. A big effort came from Aman, Rehan and Seadon this season bowling in tough conditions and with many injuries along the way.
Many congratulation to Suttons 2nd XI captain Jamie Griffin who won Division 1, a fantastic achievement and the 1st XI wish all the best next year in the Premiership. Also huge congratulations to Jamie Smith who received his first county contract with Surrey CCC.
A massive thanks for everyone who has helped the captain over the past 3 season and all the best for the next captain the best of luck.
Weybridge 1st XI
Finally, after 14 years of waiting, the club 1st XI achieved the prestigious title of Surrey Premier league champions. This team, which has been together for the past three seasons, put in some stunning performances to ensure it just got across the line on the final day of the season.
This was a collective effort of the highest order and on multiple occasions players stepped up to put in match changing contributions including; Matthew Laidman’s 97 off 84 balls (Cranleigh), Jack Winslade’s 5 for 31 (Reigate Priory), Ollie Mills 60 (Sutton), Brent Kay 5 for 58 (Normandy), Odge Davey’s and Thushara Managei’s partnership of 105 (Wimbledon) and Andrew Curtis 124 (Ashtead).
Consistency had been the focus this year and, with only losing two matches, Weybridge managed to pip Reigate Priory at the post to claim the title.
As always the League is hugely competitive environment with no easy matches. Notable batting achievements included Tom Bruce (869 runs), Andrew Curtis (524), Harry Cripps (379), Oliver Mills (336) and Ben Curran (335). Bowling performances included Brent Kay (31 wickets), François Vainker (28), Phil Mann (27), Tom Bruce (16) and Jack Winslade (16).
The Player of the Season award went to Tom Bruce for his contributions with both bat and ball.
As always, it takes more than the players to ensure that the season runs smoothly and the team was hugely grateful to all the efforts from everyone at the club to ensure that the players are able to just focus on cricket.
Wimbledon 1st XI
The 1st XI enjoyed some very good wins but unfortunately, as has been the trend for the over the last few years, the team was unable to string a number of outright wins together in order to really make a play for the league title.
The side started the season poorly in the 50 over competition but following a big team night out on the Southbank, went on a run of games where some fantastic cricket was played. The batters enjoyed success with a total of six 100s being scored, the most for many years. Nick Welch was once again the stand out batsman scoring 689 runs at 45.93 backing up his sensational season in 2017.
The team's best performances were during the 120 over format of the competition but the side did not manage to convert these dominant performances into outright victories.
No matter what the conditions the bowlers trucked in all summer, Kieron Bunting took 30 wickets at an average of 20.77, an impressive return given how batsman friendly the majority of pitches were during the season.
The team finished the season with three consecutive wins over Sutton, Sunbury and Ashtead. This has given the side belief and momentum going into the winter and there is already talk of looking forward to the 2019 season!
A heartfelt thank you goes out to scorer Chris Lowe who was an integral part of the squad often producing (and printing!) match statistics before the first post-match beer!