- Cobham Avorians
- Hampton Wick Royal
- Maori Oxshott
- Old Hamptonians
- Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian
- Woking & Horsell
There was much excitement and anticipation at Ashford ahead of the 2018 season as there was a new man in charge David Merchant. The season didn't get off to the best of starts with an early defeat to Byfleet but wins against Hampton Wick Royal and Haslemere soon followed. The team’s fortunes really turned when from 63 for 6 against a good Maori Oxshott team, Merchant and overseas William Elliott put on a magnificent partnership of 120 to really show the fighting spirit required. This game eventually ended in a draw with scores level but proved the catalyst for a great run of form over the next 6 matches where the side remained unbeaten.
William Elliott scored 646 runs at an average of 43; his 106* at Haslemere being a quality innings. Many strong performances were built around Elliott who was well supported by golden oldie Chris Evans with 384 runs and Paul Frost 348.
Veteran Jimmy Berressem with 30 wickets (including 6 for 34 at Woking and 5 for 46 at Haslemere) led the attack with Merchant’s 26 wickets and Andrew Tippell’s 21 providing the back up. Credit also to Ben Simper who contributed a superb 6 for 26 against Trinity Mid Whitgiftians where each dismissal was either bowled or LBW. Jamie Tilt proved a real find mid-season and gave the team great control, as well as bringing a new energy to the side fielding at cover point with 12 catches and 3 run outs.
A massive thank you must go to Stevie Smith for his umpiring stints and equally strong appreciation to Jack Frost for scoring each game throughout the season. Thanks also to Dave Hanks for providing the excellent teas and Ian McAllan for his tough training sessions.
There were a few what if's and maybe's - had a few games ended differently - but overall it was a great team effort and everyone is already eagerly anticipating the 2019 season!
Byfleet 1st XI
The 1st XI suffered a disappointing relegation on the final day of the season. A relatively young and inexperienced side played some good cricket at times winning more games than the 2017 season however the league was much tighter meaning any 2 of 4 teams could have gone down on the final day. During the middle of the season the team missed main spinner Sam Tyler which left the bowling attack somewhat short of options. Over the course of the season opportunities were missed to pick up bonus points with some bad decision making plus and a win against league winners Old Hamptonians went begging with them batting out for a draw having been 8 wickets down, dropped catches proving crucial!!!
Overseas player Justin Joseph performed admirably scoring 471 runs and taking 25 wickets. The batting performances improved this season mainly due to the returning Ashley Rannie scoring 412 runs in his 10 league games and Andy Savage scoring 300+ runs.
Matt Rannie was the highest wicket taker with 28 but with more luck he could have had well in excess of 30 wickets. It was the bowling and fielding which was the big let-down culminating in the difference between finishing bottom of the table and a mid-table finish. Byfleet will come back stronger in 2019 and hope to return to Division 4 at the first attempt.
Cobham Avorians 1st XI
No report was submitted by the club; the following was written by the Editor.
It was a disappointing season for Cobham Avorians 1st XI, finishing in seventh position in Division 4 and only avoiding relegation by a mere seven points. However, in a fairly congested division, another couple of wins would have seen the As pushing for promotion.
A tally of 7 wins (9 wins was enough for promoted Woking & Horsell) was probably a reasonable return for the cricket played. Availability and form was inconsistent and so were the results. Good on some days; bad on others.
Two batsmen topped 500 runs; Kumudu Prashad (599) and Dominic Worth (518). There were also useful contributions from Azhar Kiani (333), Mahesh Llyanage (287) and Luke Barrow (277). Similar names appeared in the bowling department too with Kumudu Prashad leading the way with 26 wickets. He was supported by Luke Barrow (19), Dominic Worth (11), Dilan Wimalasena (14) and Kasun Sumanasekera (11).
A little more consistency in 2019 will see a vast improvement.
Egham 1st XI
Egham cannot hide from 1st XI relegation, but the season can still be seen as quite successful. This might be difficult to appreciate but perhaps the following will explain.
Youth. In the last seven seasons at Egham, there has never been a team compromising of so many youngsters. This isn’t just a credit to the juniors but also to the club for bringing them through. No one was carried, there were no passengers and everyone contributed. In the last 7 games no one could be faulted. Everyone gave their all and Egham almost achieved what looked like the impossible at the half way stage.
Team spirit. This season was one of the best for feeling like a unit, even though the side was relegated, and that speaks volumes. When players were promoted from the 2nd XI they slotted straight in, and those that dropped down did the same.
Club support. The focus is always on the team and the players and their performances, but the support from the non-playing members was also incredible. Debbie Beasley has been as devoted as ever to scoring, and her commitment and willingness to lose every single Saturday over the summer, to come and sit with the 1st XI and put up with the awful chat is greatly appreciated. If the cricket is not going well, at least the food brings a smile to everyone’s faces and stomachs, with Janet’s Team Teas! For Division 4 cricket, the condition of the pitch and outfield is what you expect in the first Division, showing how the club has moved forward. Finally, the newly refurbished Club House and Bar has completely changed the club, a club that everyone can be truly proud of.
We have got all the foundations needed in place and the players to really push for a higher level of cricket. Everyone can be very optimistic for the season ahead.
Hampton Wick Royal 1st XI
Stability and continuity saw Imran Rashid appointed 1st XI captain for the 3rd Consecutive year. The 1st XI ended 2017 season only 2 wins away from a promotion position, however started 2018 season with losing the top wicket-taker and top run-scorer from 2017; while Ian the best all-rounder struggled with injuries during the season. These changes provided opportunities for new players but meant the captain had to try and find new combinations and team balance. These challenges, along with a more competitive league led to a season of 2 halves; one win out of the first eight matches requiring a massive turnaround to avoid relegation. Strong character and smart cricket helped return to winning ways.
Max Germain (395 runs) was the leading run scorer while Imran Rashid (335) and Dhritiman Sharma (305) made valuable contributions. Moazam Ali Rashid (44 wickets) finished 3rd in the Surrey Championship leading wicket takers. Moazam along with Mik Horvath (20) were the outstanding performers with the bowl and helped the team to stay up. They both also contributed an unbeaten match winning 74-run 8th wicket partnership in a crucial match.
The tough season came to a dramatic end in the last match at home with relegation on the line; not just requiring a win but needing to prevent the opposition from taking 3 or more bonus points. The reliable bowling combination succeeded bowling the opposition out for 125 meaning no batting bonus points. A much-needed captain’s innings completed a comprehensive win and kept the club in Division 4.
With lots of changes and uncertainty the next season is full of opportunities.
Haslemere 1st XI
Haslemere’s first season in Division 4, proved to be something of a ‘curate’s egg’…..good in places!
A disastrous start saw the team lose the first 5 games and, whilst never being completely outplayed, except for the defeat at Ashford undermined by a poor batting performance, they could not find a way to get over the ‘finish line’.
However 3 wins in their next 4 games restored the self-belief, including a stunning 231 run chase at Byfleet when Scott Boxall followed up a 5 wicket haul with a destructive and hard hitting hundred, ably supported by Chris Spooner (72*). The pair shared a stand of over 170 to wrest the game from Byfleet.
The side then lost their mojo again and another series of defeats left their position in the league in jeopardy with 4 games left. The team managed to extract a 3 further wins from these games to ensure safety, including another 200+ run chase against Woking & Horsell, who would ultimately gain promotion; the highlights being 61 from the reliable Chris Hooker at the top of the order and another hard hitting half century from Boxall. The game was won by a delightful ‘Dilshan Scoop’ from Simon Eastment.
It was the inconsistency of the batting which caused Haslemere most problems. Chris Hooker, at the top of the order, was again the leading run scorer with 466 including four 50s at 33.29. Chris Spooner, Scott Boxall and Simon Eastment all scored over 300 runs.
Haslemere’s strength lay in their athletic fielding (A Hooker take a bow) and their four pronged spin attack of Williams, Boxall, A Hooker and Spooner, who took 87 wickets between them, however, both Ollie Ellis and the ‘evergreen’ Chris May opened the attack with accuracy, aggression and pace.
In Pete Dudley, Haslemere possess possibly the best keeper in the league and together they look forward to doing battle again next year in Division 4
Maori Oxshott 1st XI
A newly promoted side to Division 4, the young Maori Oxshott side managed to achieve a highly respectable third place finish losing out on promotion to the stand out sensational winners, Old Hamptonians and Woking & Horsell.
This is a side going from strength to strength and you can grantee this side will only get stronger as they look to launch an assault on the division next year.
This was a fantastic leaning season for a side that have now played two full seasons together. Winning as a team and losing as team is all part of the development process, watch this space. Bradley Goodsell, Tom Day and Surrey Championship legend Steve Saker were all standout performers.
Old Hamptonians 1st XI
It was a busy OH bunker across the off season; new signings, training methods and a greater intensity set the standard through the spring so that quality practice could transfer to performances in May and beyond. After three league fixtures however, the team had one won, lost one and suffered at the hands to the rain. It looked to be another season of frustration in Division Four, like so many that had come before.
Then a nine game winning streak took place through the middle of the season, setting the standard higher than ever and showing a team that is ready to chase totals and take responsibility. Several players stepped forward, including Young Player of the Season winner, Adam Lee (356 runs), turning his talents into runs at first team level as well as showing an ability to bat the situation in the final stages of an innings. Opener and new signing Bilal Chohan (458 runs) went hard at the ball and whilst he lost his wicket on occasion he put the bowling side on the back foot and went big against Cobham and Egham. Another new face in Adam Scher, signed as part of a swap deal that sent Simon Morris to Cape Town in the opposite direction, had a huge impact with both bat and ball (459 runs and 22 wickets), in particular with a dominant 129* in a chase against Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians. Seasoned campaigner Raza Mughal again terrorised top orders with the new ball and then dismantled tails at the death, scooping 33 wickets in the process. Closely following him in the wickets column was the captain Richard Brown who led admirably from the front in taking 28 wickets and even managed to win a few tosses this year. Player of the Season though, comfortably went to run-machine Shahjeel Butt. The epitome of calmness and consistency, ‘Jeelay’ racked up 721 league runs with an average over 50. The combination of Butt and Scher in the middle order provided a real platform that others could launch from.
Despite the many impressive individual performances, it was the team ethic and environment that ensured so many Saturdays were not only successful but also thoroughly enjoyable. The side will certainly be working hard over the off season in preparation for 2019; it has taken seven years to escape from Division Four and Rich Brown and his team will be keen to show that there is more to come.
Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian 1st XI
Stewart Sales, returning for a second spell as captain, set out with a plan to give opportunities in the 1st XI to developing younger players. As such, TMW can be pleased with the fifth place finish.
A fine start to the season brought the dizzy heights of top spot with five wins from the first seven matches. Poor availability then struck leading to six consecutive defeats despite a fine hundred by Richard Piggin at Old Hamptonians.
Positives were gained though, as on many occasions the youngest team in the division was fielded with Chris Perera, Robbie Warburton and Sam Williams all registering their maiden 1st XI half-centuries for the Club.
Matt Winter and Russell Henley led the attack well taking 23 and 19 wickets respectively. They were complimented in the spin department by Gunjal Patel, Abishek Sabesan and the skipper.
Highlights with the ball included Yousaf Zahari’s spell of 7 for 54 against Maori (he was missed later in the season) and Winter’s hat-trick against the champions in the final game.
On the batting front Sales led from the front hitting 527 runs. He was ably supported by Piggin (342) and 17 year old Warburton who struck 247 runs at an average of 41 in his debut season.
The future looks promising with many talented juniors coming through.
Thanks as always to James Gibson for umpiring and Rob Keenan for scoring.
Woking & Horsell 1st XI
The 1st XI had a brilliant but sometimes strange season. At times the team looked unbeatable, and at others played some of the worst cricket in recent memory! Losses to Egham and Cobham Avorians stand out as particularly poor performances but what is easy to forget is that both of those losses were followed with extremely important wins. The comradery in the team was superb this year.
Both games against Maori Oxshott really stand out not just because they turned out to be crucial in the promotion chase but also because it showed a character which the team has not shown too much in recent years. In both games the opposition were on the ropes early on, only to recover and make 200 and 180 odd. Rather than allow that to demoralise the side they fought back and ended up chasing the scores down. The last game of the season was effectively a cup final and after 4 straight losses to drop out of the top 2, WHCC were definitely the underdogs. At 60 for 4 chasing 180, it didn’t look good but Tim Keene batted superbly to get WHCC over the line.
The entire bowling attack was superb with Arun Aiyer and Mitch Turner, who were well supported by Roger White, Stuart Warner and Phill West, finishing with 28 and 30 wickets respectively.
One key thing the side wanted to promote this year was the inclusion of the young and talented players and the performances of Ramish Malik and James Furness were testament to this policy and one the club has been rewarded for.