- Guildford City
- Horsley & Send
- Old Emanuel
- Old Pauline
- Weybridge Vandals
Owing to drainage works at the Edward Alleyn Ground the Club had a sabbatical year.
There was disappointment for the nearly promoted 1st XI.
In 2017, Old Paulines pipped Alleyn to the league title but both teams were promoted to Division Five. In 2018, both teams rapidly rose to the top of the table again but so closely did they focus on their sophomore battle, they took their eye off the resurgent Chertsey deservedly cantering to the title. Chertsey's triumph brought about a closing-day promotion face-off between the two alumni teams. A total of 143 proved insufficient and elevation to Division Four was denied by a solitary point. However, it was no hardship to lose to such a spirited and sporting team as Old Paulines; the good-humoured contests of recent years will be much missed, as will the warm hospitality and generosity of spirit of their genial scorer, Alan Hague.
A strong line-up boasted substantial runs from the captain Tom Eadon (588 at 42) as well as Gavin van der Merwe (325 at 23), Simon Norris (238 at 21), Will Deasy (242 at 22) and Phil Lewis (192 at 16). The young Afghan, Karim Oriakhel, batted with great promise. Norris wore the gloves and even took 14 catches while doing so. Runs flowed during the summer including the 1st XI posting a record total; 279 for 9 vs. Merstham.
The bowling quintet was even better than last year, Ryan Foley taking the most wickets (35 at 11.49) and being supported by seamers Tristan Arnold (16 at 18.81) and a newcomer, Rowan Bird (14 at 12.43). The spin twins Chad Balluza (23 at 18.91) and Robert George (19 at 21.53) bowled with their customary accuracy and economy.
Mention is made of Kit Harris who became the first player on record to take 500 wickets for the Club. He also captained the Iceland national cricket team at the sprightly age of 39.
Chertsey 1st XI
At the start of every summer, before a ball is bowled or a run is scored, the goal has always been the same for Chertsey’s 1st XI; achieve promotion.
The side have been playing together as a group for a few years now and, over the last few campaigns, have been threatening to be a force at the sharp end of the table. Last term’s third-place finish, just 20 points shy of the title, felt like a sign of things to come and, sure enough, in 2018 they finally strung together the results they have always demanded.
For the first time since 2005, Chertsey’s 1st XI achieved a Surrey Championship promotion, doing so as Champions with a dominant 83% win-rate and a comfortable 76-point gap to their nearest rival.
It was the side’s ruthless travelling record that helped propel them to this year’s title, as they took maximum points from every ground they visited barring the first away day of the season, which was abandoned at the halfway stage. It was not always as simple as the 10-wicket win at Old Emanuel, where the openers chased 133 in less than 26 overs. In fact, the very next trip saw the side rally from 105 for 8 in pursuit of Merstham’s 185 to secure victory with one wicket in hand. Those two games summed up the season as a whole. No matter the situation, more often than not they found a way to win.
Bowling has long been the backbone of the side and in 2018 that was once again the case. The attack bowled their opponents out in 16 of the 17 matches and conceded more than 180 runs on just three occasions. Will Smith, Jacob Loveridge and Will Cooper took 99 wickets between them, while Luke Westcott and Ben Hanger both claimed 20 each. None of the six regulars averaged more than 21 runs a wicket and the pack will no doubt look for more success together in Division 4.
The side’s growing batting depth was evidenced by four players notching 300+ runs for a second consecutive year. They were topped by Dave Risk’s 395, which included 3 fifties. Captain Greg Burton was close behind on 383, while overseas player Will Smith and Risk’s opening partner James Richards tallying 355 and 303 respectively.
Division 4 awaits with confidence high and the monkey of promotion finally off the team’s back and, before a ball is bowled or a run is scored in 2019, they’ll be setting the same old goal.
Guildford City 1st XI
No report was submitted by the club; the following was written by the Editor.
A very disappointing year for Guildford City 1st XI saw the side relegated to the Fullers Surrey County League. Only two wins all season, and both of these coming at the end August, tells the tale.
The batting was led by Tahir Latif (299 runs) with support from Rizwan Shah (203), Amir Mohammed (183) and Ishfaq Hussain (182).
Most of the bowling was undertaken by Mohammed Ali Mohammed with 29 wickets. Other bowlers were Rohail Khan (12), J Hameed (9) and Mohsin Bashir (10).
Guildford City must regroup and come back stronger for 2019.
Horsley & Send 1st XI
With a second relegation in two seasons there was yet another re-election of captains at the HSCC AGM. Following the policy of promoting the youth of the club, 20 year old Jarred Hunt was elected to be 1st XI captain
The season started off slowly as the team adjusted to the new division and conditions and throughout the 18 match season the 1st XI fielded eight under 18 year old players. The results soon picked up thanks to notable performances by 16 year old opening bowler Sean Hunt who took 43 wickets in the season. Thanks also to Shacaya Thomas, Oli Hairs and Luke Trimming who contributed over 350 runs each; the goal for the season soon changed from survival to promotion. This was helped by everyone’s positive attitude to training and game day warm ups lead by Shacaya Thomas and Oli Hairs. Unfortunately promotion was not achieved but with the youth in the side there will no doubt be promotion in years to come.
Thank you to the scorer Veronica Parr who has now retired from scoring.
Kempton 1st XI
Another mid-table finish for the 1st XI ensued from an up-and-down season in which almost all games were played to a finish (7 wins, 9 defeats, 1 draw, 1 abandoned). Alex Dillon provided the foundation for the batting, amassing 474 runs at 32 with a best of 98 versus Merstham. Opener Ellis Miah contributed 298 runs at 21 and Harjot Singh's 115 at Merrow was a match-winning innings. Skipper Andy Ward took the bowling honours with 24 wickets at 15, including 6 for 15 versus Merrow, with good support from Gary Porter (19 wickets at 23) and Joel Miah (18 at 17).
Grateful thanks go to umpire Derek Maidment and scorer Celia Mackay for their sterling efforts and to Karen Miah, June Inwood and team for the excellent teas.
Merrow 1st XI
It has been a tough season for Merrow this year, players not performing to their potential and inconsistent availability leading to players not being able to settle into defined rolls.
Runs were particularly hard to come by with no league hundred this year and the two leading run scorers, Dave Woodriffe and Andy Keeble, only amassing 305 runs each for the season. Richard Gallagher was close behind on 268.
Merrow’s strength again this season was in the bowling, with two stand out performers for the season. Jason Hurst again showed his consistency and skill getting 29 wickets at an average of 21.21 and Mark Tyler (22 wickets at 23.23) bowling some magnificent spells through the whole season, often without getting the rewards he deserved. A special mention must also be made for Matt Maginnis bagging a 6 for 45 mid-season.
Another more pleasing aspect for the club was seeing the juniors not only playing, but contributing significantly to team performances; with a special mention to young Sam Finch who earnt his selection in the 1st Xl and claimed 4 wickets.
So a clean slate for Merrow next year; the club will look to build on the success of the bowlers and the fabulous junior performances, whilst seeking to get a much higher proportion of runs on the board consistently through the season.
Merstham 1st XI
Merstham 1st XI entered their second season in the Surrey Championship full of ambition and aiming for an improvement on the previous season where they had managed a respectable 6th place. Ultimately, this was achieved and whilst the league position slightly improved to 5th, performances and contributions were undoubtedly of a higher quality than the previous year. There were notable achievements throughout the year, including beating both of the teams that achieved promotion.
The bowling attack was lead ably by all-rounder and opening bowler Noman Javed (37 wickets at 16.51), and strike bowler Asim Jaffery (37 at 14.72). There were other valuable contributions from the experienced Humayon Nasir (15 at 30.06) and the youthful Gus Locke (14 at 22.26), both returning to the team after a period of absence. Waqas (14 at 21.43) and George Neal (4 at 28.75) also provided variation and depth to the attack.
There were a number of standout batting performances. Ben Baker (411 runs at 41.10) scored four 50’s in 12 innings and really became the focal point of the Merstham top order. This was highlighted in a well-paced and eventually destructive innings in the victory at Old Pauline. Noman Javed (394 at 26.27) followed up 2017’s match winning century at Chertsey with a magnificent 139* in a successful chase at the eventual league winners. George Neal (168 at 28), a newcomer to the club, provided solidity and fluency at the top of the order. Seasoned campaigners Andy Rivers (201 at 18.27) and Ed Dawson (253 at 25.3) provided ballast to the line-up, with the latter involved in some remarkable match saving innings. There were also contributions from Laurie Nicholson, George Chellis, Gus Locke, and Robin Hardman.
Overall the 1st XI can be pleased with an improved second year in the Surrey Championship, and will hope to continue their development as they move into 2019.
Old Emanuel 1st XI
There was an encouraging first half of the season, with some new blood, during which the side was in contention for promotion. Unfortunately the second half did not provide strong enough results due to patchy availability and a few narrow and critical losses at crucial times. There were notable performances from Sajjad Ahmad (consistent all round performance with 17 wickets, batting average of 32 and 9 catches), Qaiser Ali (326 runs at 32.60), Awais Chughtai (26 wickets) and Talha Mumtaz (355 runs at 35.50).
The club is already planning to strengthen the squad for 2019 season.
Old Pauline 1st XI
2018 will have to go down as arguably the most successful season in OPCC history, with both teams earning promotion from their respective leagues. The 1st XI, tasked with needing to win the final game of the season and restrict the opposition to one point or less, managed to do just that to leap frog into 2nd position to claim promotion to Surrey Championship Division 4; uncharted territory in the club's history.
The season started in unfamiliar parts, as Richard Hay resurrected the Old Pauline preseason tour with an incredible 10 day trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Playing 4 games interspersed with trips up Table Mountain and to the vineyards, it was a fun and successful trip with four wins out of four. It also paved the way for a fast start to the League season; the 1st XI won the first 6 completed matches.
In hindsight, clinging on for a draw away at Alleyn ultimately proved crucial but after the wheels came off in July (2 defeats and 2 draws) mid-table mediocrity appeared to beckon. The team never gave up, however, winning 3 of 4 in August, (a bad defeat away at Kempton the only blip, but even there an unlikely but vital point was eeked out), before the dramatic scenes on the final day.
The 1st XI was buoyed by the return to the club of all-rounder Sam Cato, who had a fantastic season; 25 wickets and 285 runs. Stalwart ex-captain Alex Duncan had a remarkable season, scoring 576 runs at 72. Once again, the spinners (sometimes up to 5 in the one game) were at the forefront of the team’s success; always miserly throughout the middle overs, they picked up a century of wickets between them. Behind Sam Cato, Bhanu Dhanjal and Saumitra Gorani were top contributors to that total, with 18 and 17 wickets respectively. Skipper Chris Berkett kept the seamers’ end up with 22 wickets.
The season brought due reward for a group of players who have brought fantastic commitment and energy to the club. The ambition remains to continue to take the club where it's never been before over the coming years!
Weybridge Vandals 1st XI
The lack of recruits in the off-season meant that the 1st XI’s playing strength and depth was not what they had been a couple of years previously. Despite showing glimpses of promise early on, Vandals got off to a poor start, losing eight out of the first ten fixtures and notching up just one victory. Encouragingly, this start and inconsistency in selection week-on-week never dented the hope or confidence of the players. The tide began to turn with victory at Kempton and what followed were four more victories and a losing draw in the final seven fixtures, which secured Surrey Championship status for 2019.
Vandals’ ‘MVP’ was Mark Fenton, whose miserly bowling yielded 32 wickets at 15.00, plus 194 invaluable runs at 19.40; he was clearly missed when unavailable. Other notable performances include Jonny Powell’s 22 wickets at 16.18, Woo Powell’s 23 wickets at 24.13, plus 292 runs at 22.46, Tom Neville’s 316 runs at 26.33, Garry Foreman’s 259 runs at 32.38 and Sam Buckell’s 21 wickets at 24.9, plus 265 runs at 15.59.
In the field, Vandals were generally very reliable. The positive and proactive attitude shown towards fielding has been a delight to see.
A true test of a team’s cohesion is whether the glue will stick when the results are trying to erode the bond. Every player who represented the 1st XI in 2018 can be proud of their personal contribution, their team mates and their desire to keep trying to improve throughout the season. The league table shows that Vandals finished eighth but the club can be proud of its players and their character and optimistic for 2019.