- East Molesey
- Malden Wanderers
- Reigate Priory
Following their 3rd place finish in the 2017 season, Ashtead 2nd XI entered the 2018 season with ambitions of repeating that success or better yet, topping it. The 7th place finish therefore could have been seen as somewhat disappointing, though there were several highlights both as a team and individually. In an open season where most teams could seemingly beat anyone, consistency in performance cost Ashtead a higher league finish, ultimately closing the season on 170 points.
Runs were seemingly harder to come by in the 2018 season, with only three batters surpassing 200 runs. Head and shoulders above anyone else this year with the bat was Michael Sanderson, who's runs (523 at 106.40) came in only 9 innings and also included 2 hundreds and 3 fifties. The next closest run scorers were Gary Martin (278 at 18.53) and Josh Pickering (271 at 27.10), top scoring with 96. Sanderson’s 129* against a strong Reigate team being a particular highlight for the season and a pleasure to watch; that form leading to him playing in the 1st XI for the back end of the season.
As has been the way for the last couple of seasons, youth has made up much of the Ashtead 2nd XI bowling reserves with ball new and old. Marcus Caprano-Wint (22 at 19.36) led the way with his slow left arm and regularly controlled the middle periods of games. Up front Jake Martin (18 at 28.89) provided the most reliable and potent threat ably supported by the likes of Amirali Akberali (12 at 24.92), Tayler Young (12 at 35.58) and Chris Douglas (10 at 7.50).
Banstead 2nd XI
Following promotion in 2017, Banstead 2nd XI looked to assert themselves as a competitive force with yet another young squad and some new winter additions. This combination ensured Banstead sat in the top three after the first five games. Notable performances came from Callum Estall who picked up 10 wickets in this period with the ball. Mid-season the 2s found it tough to string a run of wins together in the 100 overs format. However, Sadiq Kahn, a new addition to the squad shone with an exciting 6 for vs. Malden Wanderers and cemented his place in 2s folklore.
Players continued to develop during the season, particularly the tail where James Culff stood out scoring runs consistently, and a tactical promotion up the order enabled him to score his maiden hundred vs. Spencer in a hard fought knock, assisted by a 49 from Stef Wood and 54 from Alex Elster. This new-found confidence in his game saw Culff score 300 runs in 6 games, not bad for someone who started the season batting 8. The trait of scoring runs in the tail also continued with Mike Condie and Tom Pitchley both scoring important 70s on different occasions to ensure maximum chances of scoring points and winning games.
Banstead were not clear of trouble until convincing back to back wins vs. Weybridge and Ashtead. Spin was the way forward as the end of the dry summer was nigh. It was Sam Thorpe and Sadiq Kahn who took advantage of these conditions, Thorpe taking a beautiful 6 wickets vs. Weybridge and Sadiq running through Ashtead.
With the batting clicking into place at the back end of the season, some solid hitting from the likes of Harawal Wassam and Liam Head saw Banstead set and chase big scores. If Banstead can continue the momentum that was found at the end of the season, there is no doubt they can challenge for the Premier league championship next year.
East Molesey 2nd XI
After a tough 2017, the 2nd XI started the season with high hopes having been strengthened by a number of new recruits over the winter. The optimism was proven to be well justified as the team only missed out on the top spot by two points in the final standings.
It was particularly pleasing that this was the result of a true team effort with important contributions coming from the whole of the squad during the season. This is clear to see in the final statistics as the squad finished boasting 4 of the top 25 run-scorers in the division and 6 of the top 25 wicket-takers. Special mention must however go to some excellent individual performances over the course of the season. Zain Rizvi’s 6 for 10 against Banstead, Jack Miller’s 5 for 26 at Weybridge, Evan Beck’s 4 for 16 at Reigate Priory and Jason Moore’s 100 at Malden Wanderers all set up valuable wins for the team.
Despite all the success it is easy to pick the home win against Weybridge as the performance of the season. After losing the toss on a very wet wicket and stumbling to 39 for 4, Paul Malkin (31), Phil Ellwood on one leg (26) and James Smith (42) led the comeback as the side fought its way to 188 all out. James Smith’s 5 for 36 and an excellent all-round team effort in the field saw the Moles squeak home by 16 runs.
The disappointing end to the season should not overshadow what was a very enjoyable summer in which the team integrated a number of fantastic new players into the club. The team was also proud to be able to give a number of the promising junior section a first taste of 2nd XI cricket. More will doubtless be seen of them in seasons to come.
The team is looking forward to next year and doing its best to go one better. Until then, congratulations to Wimbledon on a deserved title.
Farnham 2nd XI
It was a mixed but ultimately disappointing season for the Farnham 2nd XI which ended in relegation from the Premier Division.
Pre-Season was a wash out so the first league game away at East Molesey was, for most, their first match of the season and Farnham were comprehensively beaten. Round 2 saw Farnham travel to Spencer where, at 126 for 1 and in a commanding position at drinks, the weather eventually got the better of them and the match was abandoned. The side’s first win was at home against Weybridge in the fourth game with Matt Clarke and Russell Golding performing well with the ball to finish the game following runs from the ever-reliable Matt Crew.
The side was not able to put together a win in the longer format until the final game versus Banstead where they showed all of their class and proved why they are fully capable of playing Premiership cricket, bowling Banstead out for 162 in their pursuit of 204. Runs again that day from Matt Crew as well as Jamie Jones and Matt Clarke helped build an insurmountable total which was then well defended by Rob Dale and Dom Lloyd who picked up 7 of the wickets between them.
The beginning of August saw relegation confirmed and so the primary objective became enjoyment and preparation for the 2019 season. 2 wins took the side from rock bottom of the league to only a few points off 8th!
Huge thanks, as ever, must go to the Farnham committee for their support, David Goldsworthy for his umpiring and Toni Thorpe, Dom Lloyd, George Osborne and Neil French for scoring.
Finally, thanks must also go to vice-captain Russell Golding for doing such a fantastic job stepping up and captaining half of the game whilst the captain was playing in the 1st XI.
The team thoroughly look forward to the 2019 season!
Malden Wanderers 2nd XI
2017’s report began ‘the 2nd XI had one of those years where everything seemed to go right”.
For 2018, you could replace ‘right’ with ‘wrong’ and be close to the truth, with only two wins and a draw from 17 completed games. Not helped by injuries in the 1st XI, the summer’s heatwave led to pitches which didn’t suit the side’s seam attack and intensified the batting line-up’s vulnerability against spin.
After 2017’s promotion success, the first game of the season against Wimbledon was a rude awakening and a sign that previously papered over cracks would be exposed at Premier league level. Although 83 all out would remain a seasonal low, the lack of runs proved to be an ongoing issue; in the side’s 14 defeats, 150 was passed on only four occasions. Opponents were either able to ride the storm of some early wickets, or come out aggressively to make the chase a formality. The two victories, against Weybridge (by eight wickets) and Farnham (nine wickets) were, however, comfortable.
Encouragingly, Dan Hammond topped the 2nd team run-scoring charts for the first time with 304 and James Marks proved he was not just a bowler. His remarkable 105* from number 8 against Sunbury was the highlight of the season, although John Hess’s 44-ball 83 against East Molesey was a close second. The emergence of classy opener Ragu Aravinthan, aged only 14, was incredibly pleasing.
With the ball, captain Rob Graham led the way with a workmanlike 21 wickets, supported by Ben Flux and James Marks with 14 apiece. There were bright performances from young spinners Jack Morgan and Harry Williams when they were available, alongside those of stalwart Matt Marks. Dan Kenton was unplayable at times, his 4 for 12 against Farnham the pick of the season’s figures. Performances of youngsters in the final game and in the 3rd XI hint at the positive rebuilding process ahead.
Reigate Priory 2nd XI
On reflection, it is fair to say that the 2nd XI had a rather frustrating season. There were opportunities for the team to make a real push for the title but, due to inconsistent performances, particularly with the bat, a mid-table finish was a fair result.
At the start of the season, the team set out with the goal of providing competitive cricket, which would help to develop the youth within the squad and allow for those on the cusp of the first team to play cricket in a similar environment to that of the first team and everyone was delighted to see Luke and Rory Haughton given extended runs in the 1st XI. Sticking with the youth element, it was great to see Oli Thilo, Will Hodgson and Johnny Flanders play regular second team cricket and although all three showed glimpses of a bright future, far more important was the steep learning curve that all three experienced. Neil Saker, re-invented as a technically correct, Geoffrey Boycott esque opening batsman, led the side regularly and shared his wealth of experience. I am not sure how much the players realised how lucky the team was to have a player of Neil’s quality, experience and knowledge within the group and he was brilliant, particularly with the youngsters, throughout the season. However, no one was surprised that he was bottom of the batting ‘strike rate’ table.
Matt Hutcheon was outstanding with bat and ball all year and Mobeen Tahir, undoubtedly the find of the season, was invaluable and he also performed well for the Sunday Cup side. As this season draws to a close the team looks towards 2019, it is hoped that everyone enjoyed a year of competitive cricket, whilst being able to reflect that the team didn’t do itself justice.
Spencer 2nd XI
2018 was very much a copy and paste season from 2017, Spencer 2nd XI once again started brightly but mid-season defeats left ended with a mid table finish once again. An early one-wicket win over Banstead, then comprehensive victories over Ashtead and Malden put Spencer top after 5 weeks but a poor run in the timed games meant the side didn’t kick on from there.
Depth in bowling was an issue throughout the club and the 2nd XI struggled at times to stem the runs, which left the batting side with a lot to do and when you combine that with weeks when East Molesey and Ashtead bowled Spencer out for under 130 the side is not going to win many cricket games.
With the ball, Cameron Ponsonby stuck to his task resolutely and led the way with 18 wickets. Babar Hussain supported him well with 16, his personal highlight however was an outrageous 57* to save a game vs. Wimbledon. Anil Iqbal and Asad Bajwa added some street smarts to the bowling towards the end of the year, leading Spencer to victory at Sunbury the peak of this. Both will be key for 2019.
With the bat, Simon McConnell was the mainstay of the batting, leading the way in the aggregates but will need more support so Spencer can consistently post match-winning scores. Adam Caddy also showed glimpses of his quality with two sparkling fifties and there are high hopes of seeing more of him in 2019. James Smith’s 96* to chase down Farnham shows that the unit can take responsibility and get the job done. Here’s to doing that more next year. Phil Cummings kept beautifully (if noisily) and scored valuable lower order runs, proving he can excel at this level. More too can be expected from Fred Horler, Lucas Wilson and Fred Eltringham all showed glimpses of their talent, Horler’s 70 key to beating Ashtead and Eltringham’s 81 versus Malden showcasing their skills.
Sunbury 2nd XI
A similar story followed from the previous season for the 2nd XI. Inconsistency over the 18 games meant that the team was unable to string more than 3 consecutive victories together and despite still being in with a shout for the title in the closing stages, it never seemed like a realistic prospect.
A young core of the side was helped with some returning experience from leading seam bowler Adam Stanier (21 wickets at 16), all-rounder Justin Granger (11 wickets at 24 and 176 runs at 22) and former 1st XI captain Oliver Roland-Jones (173 runs at 58). The batting was led by exciting opening batsmen Sean Ventham (488 at 49) including 2 centuries. Rajan Soni also scored consistently throughout the season (371 at 25) who was unlucky not to make his maiden league ton away at Ashtead.
The bowling was led by skipper Curt Higgins (25 at 25) and apart from Stanier the wickets were shared around. Unfortunately injuries to leading seam bowlers for the last 3 season, Saran Kalsi (broken leg) and Eddie Knight (broken ankle), meant that the side often fielded an inexperienced bowling line up. Despite the inexperienced sides at times, the team showed a lot of fight throughout the season, twice winning games by 1 wicket with last wicket partnerships of over 30 runs and twice winning games by 3 wickets after poor starts to the run chases.
However the flip side of this was apparent as the team often let sides off the hook after reducing oppositions to around 100 for 6 or 7 but partnerships would then build and targets were set in the region of 200+ when they should have been much less.
More consistent availability and performances and this side has the potential to post a serious championship challenge next season.
Weybridge 2nd XI
As with 2017, it was a disappointing season for the 2nd XI, ending up in 8th place but securing safety 4 games before the end of season.
For the first third of the season the team was decimated by poor availability and poor form with the bat which was reflected in the results in only winning one game and sitting bottom of the table. That win was a memorable one though, winning away at eventual Champions Wimbledon, which rarely is done by any visiting team. A run of 3 wins in a row in the middle of the season secured safety but overall it was a poor season especially with a team with so much talent and ability.
The bowling was generally very good, led by Captain Adam Dean who claimed 24 wickets. Sam Crabtree, Masud Javaid and Leo Methley all provided excellent back up and produced some superb spells. With the bat, Tim Cross led the way again and had an excellent season even after a slow start and topped the charts with 438 runs at an average of 43.8. Newcomer Ali Stanley had a good start to his Weybridge career scoring 354 runs which included a superb century against Spencer on the last game of the season. These two were supported by Harry Samuels (254), Haydir Ali (199) and Adam Dean (193) all of which had good individual knocks.
There will need to be plenty of improvement in 2019 in order to challenge Wimbledon, who were once again deserved Champions. Many thanks to Jeremy Dyer who was a true club man and a great support every weekend whether it was scoring or umpiring and to Paul Burgess who helped out when the team was short.
Wimbledon 2nd XI
Starting the season as reigning champions can sometimes add extra pressure but Wimbledon 2nd XI got off to a good start with 3 wins and 1 abandonment from the initial set of overs matches. The resilience shown in these early season performances was to be a recurring theme, defending 170 against East Molesey and recovering from 69 for 5 to beat Reigate by over 100 runs. As well as taking points off major title rivals, these results gave the side confidence that it could win from any position and set the platform to retain the title, although East Molesey were matching the team game for game.
It all came down to the final match of the season away at Ashtead. It seemed as though Wimbledon had thrown the title away when the side slipped to 53 for 6. As had happened throughout the season, however, individuals put their hands up when needed most. Wimbledon recovered to post 234 before bowling Ashtead out for 184 to spark joyous celebrations.
There were significant contributions throughout the season across the whole squad with a total of 31 players used. The team’s leading run scorers were Wills (461 at 27), Gunn (388 at 35) and Mitchell (373 at 37), while topping the wicket taking charts were Clare (28 at 15), Gunn (19 at 18) and Leonard (19 at 21). Special mention must also go to U17 Billy Sewell who, in just 4 games, took 6 wickets at 13 and amassed 226 runs at 75 to be the 5th top run scorer, culminating in a match winning 90 on the final day of the season to secure the title.
Thanks go to scorer Alex Anderson and umpire Martin Conway for their long-standing support, loyalty and dedication.
So after 18 games, Wimbledon came out on top by just 2 points out of 298. Significant credit must go to East Molesey for pushing the team all the way. Ultimately, Wimbledon’s performances in the overs matches (8 wins and 1 abandoned) and against the other members of the top four (4 wins and 2 winning draws) proved just enough to clinch back-to-back titles.
The squad will be looking to make it three titles in a row next year in what promises to be another keenly fought campaign.