- East Molesey
- Malden Wanderers
- Reigate Priory
The season started well for the 2nd XI with wins against East Molesey, Sunbury and Spencer before a resounding defeat by Normandy brought the team back down to earth. This was the pattern of the season with some excellent wins and close draws interspersed with a few heavy losses.
The 2016 season saw the club welcome some new faces, Kamran Mirza and Rama Vasantham, who each made valuable contributions to the 2nd XI. It is also very pleasing again to report how many of the regular 2nd XI players are under 18 and have come up through the junior section of the club.
Particular mention should be given to young opening bowlers Jake Martin and Aaron Rose who were the leading wicket takers with 23 and 20 wickets respectively, both averaging at 22. Supporting bowlers Connor Caprano-Wint, Paul Cohen, Rama Vasantham and Nikhil Waugh each took 10 or more wickets.
Leading run scorer yet again was team stalwart Gary Martin with 546 (av. 36, high score 89) but mention should also be made of newcomer Kamran Mirza (377), captain Josh Pickering (245), 18 year old Hayden Storey (211 av. 30 including a high score of 90 not out in a losing draw against Wimbledon) and 15 year old Ben Geddes (176 av. 25 including 84 in a winning draw against Normandy).
There were many other valuable contributions in bowling, batting and fielding including some excellent catches spread around the team. The 2nd XI was also lucky to have useful wicket-keeper/batsmen in Tom Laudy and Hayden Storey, not to mention Simon Feeney who was called up at short notice on a number of occasions.
Despite not finishing as high up the table as the team might have hoped from early in the season, the 2nd XI finished comfortably clear of the relegation zone and know that on their day they are capable of beating any team in the league.
East Molesey 2nd XI
A comfortable mid table finish with 8 wins would have been better but for having to use 42 players as other teams took priority. At an earlier point in the season the 2nd XI were placed second and lost a last ball thriller against Reigate who won the game by 1 wicket. The side lost some momentum before rallying again in the overs games.
Runs were at a premium this year with many wickets not supporting free scoring. Neil Campbell was the mainstay with 333 @ 28, with his brother Ben, James Smith, Billy Dawson and skipper Adam Potter all averaging over 20. Quality contributions were provided by Paul Lawford, Greg Brown and Andy Mawson when available.
The bowling was tidy but only one 5 wicket haul tells a story. Jack Miller again led the averages with 22 wickets @ 16 despite playing the first part of the season in the 1st XI. Ben Campbell, James Smith and Senura Jayasinghe all took over 10 wickets. Tahir Kazmi and Frank Knight bowled well and rightfully earned promotion to the 1s.
Giles Green was a welcome addition to the side and showed some real quality behind the stumps. It was also really pleasing to see the progress that home grown talent namely Billy Dawson, James Smith and Senura Jayasinghe made.
Epsom 2nd XI
It was a disappointing season for Epsom 2nd team, suffering relegation into Division 1. After being promoted back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, expectations were understandably set on maintaining Premier League status for the future. This feeling was further enforced after a hard fought victory away at Sunbury, in the first game of the season courtesy of a hundred from Nasir Essa (101). Unfortunately this proved to be one of two victories enjoyed by the team for the whole season, going on to lose 14 out of the 16 games played. Lack of availability was the major Achilles Heel for the team as more than 30 players turned out for the 2s in a league where, unfortunately, the quality of opposition meant that these circumstance often saw the team ruthlessly punished for its mistakes. High points were the return of Stan Somerford to the club, metronomically returning 28 wickets at an average of 18. Another positive was the arrival of Zac Stanger to the club. Opening ‘quicks’ are always in high demand and his 11 wickets at 24 does not tell the full story of how unlucky and threatening he was with new ball in hand. Bowling and fielding were definitely the strength of the team often putting in performances where the game was left in a very winnable situation, however the batting unit failed to fire when required. A frustrating season all in all but looking to bounce back again immediately in 2017!
Malden Wanderers 2nd XI
2016 began brightly before a conspiracy of poor form, bad luck and inclement weather marked an irrecoverable descent into the depths of the relegation zone. There were some excellent individual performances throughout the season but many a post-match beer was spent lamenting a lack of runs and collective inability to bat as well as the side had bowled.
While there were several strong individual batting performances, these were rarely supported by the additional contributions required to transform meagre tallies into imposing totals or to simply chase that which the side should have. Paul Barford and Spencer Stephens set the tone in games two and three with superb centuries. Alex Redmayne, James Edwards, Harri Aravinthan, John Hess and Daniel Hammond were responsible for well-constructed fifties, particularly in the latter stages of the season. A late summer renaissance threatened when vastly depleted stocks surprised Weybridge away but with it all to play for on 3rd September, an aggressive East Molesey response easily overcame an all-too-familiar batting effort.
The bowling, by contrast, was led superbly by Khayyam Shakeel and executed with relentless pressure. ‘Shak’ delivered a seam-bowling masterclass; his ungodly control and wicked seam deviations reaped a league-topping 36 dismissals. Ben Flux added raw strike power with 15 victims including a five-wicket haul in the first East Molesey fixture and Rob Graham’s old-ball control yielded 14 wickets in just 9 matches. Overall, a ninth-place finish was hugely disappointing given the talent on the playing roster but a fair reflection of the season’s performance. Demotion offers the opportunity to develop the side against more forgiving opposition and, if the club’s cards are deployed correctly, it should expect to return to the top flight a better and more capable outfit in the future.
Normandy 2nd XI
The 2nd team’s aim for the season was to retain Premier League status under a new captain.
Things started a lot better than expected with 4 wins in the first 5 games. Availability was a lot stronger than previous years but unfortunately only one win in July meant that a 5th place finish was a fair result.
The runs this year came from the likely candidates, Andrew Hemmingway 332 @ 33, Jay Ganapathy 333 @ 27 and the explosive Mo Khan 328 @ 27 but not enough runs were scored this year at vital times. The most notable performances with the bat came from Jay Ganapathy scoring his maiden century against eventual champions Spencer and Andrews McPherson and Hemmingway both with three 50s each.
Alex Grimshaw once again showed that he is a vital part of the bowling attack with an economy rate of less than 3, while taking 17 wickets @ 21. Mo Khan and George Mackenzie were the team’s top wicket takers with 21 wickets apiece with the captain Leon Robinson getting 18. The side boasted a very good bowling unit this year, with notable performances from Will Pereira (6 for 58 against Wimbledon), Jay Ganapathy (6 for 35 against Sunbury) and Mo Khan (5 for 13 against Weybridge).
It was heartening too that there were solid contributions from young players coming through from the 3rd team while other youngsters have cemented their place in the 2s, most notably wicket keeper Richard Burton who has improved a huge amount since the previous season behind the stumps.
Overall a very good season from all involved. Thanks to Geoff and Christine Burton for scoring and to RJ Home and DI for umpiring.
Reigate Priory 2nd XI
The 2nd XI enjoyed another successful season and if it had not been for 3 washed out games in the middle of the season the team could have provided more of a threat to Spencer for the title and possibly achieved its 3rd consecutive league championship. A mention has to be made of the great game played away at Spencer where the home side chased down 260 to win the game and put one hand on the trophy.
Players deserving of mention are Will Irving who enjoyed his best season in RPCC colours, taking 15 wickets @ 15.93 and scoring 376 runs @ 37.6 and new captain, Fraser Macdonald, who scored 2 hundreds in a season total of 491 @ 44.64. Chris Wigley was again the leading wicket taker with 29 victims @ 14.28. Special thanks go to all umpires, scorers and tea ladies throughout the season.
Spencer 2nd XI
The 2016 season was an unbelievable one for Spencer and the 2nd XI kicked it all off by winning the 2nd XI Premier League at the first time of asking following promotion the previous year.
Spencer rose from being taught a harsh lesson on day one by Reigate to a winning pursuit of 232 at Normandy on the Bank Holiday weekend to clinch the title with a week to spare. Tight early victories over Wimbledon and Sunbury set the tone for the season and dominant wins over Weybridge, Normandy and Epsom kept Spencer’s remarkable record going in the time games over the last three years.
Spencer’s strength in the early games was the runs the team scored from the lower order. Abid Jafri rose to the challenge set to him in the winter and his 332 runs @ 23.71 turned 150 into 200 on many occasions. In fact, Spencer’s number 8 averaged over 27 for the course of the season showing either strength in depth with the bat, or dodgy batting orders!
At the top James Smith showed that it is indeed not ‘how’ but ‘how many’ and his 510 runs helped set a platform on many occasions. His century versus Malden while marshalling a young batting line up was a trademark captain’s innings. Luke Billingham came in for the final six weeks to secure the title with his imperious 136 at Normandy showcasing his talent as did an average over 100. Adam Caddy added much needed fire power with the bat, whilst James Parker and Mahad Ikram both played vital roles along the way.
With the ball, the Jafri brothers led the way. Abid’s 31 wickets @ 18 and Mohsin’s 22 @ 15 were excellent returns for tireless spells. Mohsin’s two 5-wicket hauls against Ashtead and Weybridge displayed his skills as the best leg spinner in the division and was rewarded by ending the year leading the attack for the ones. These two were ably backed up by Sameer Khan, who gave four match winning performances in the seven games he played and Caddy with plenty of aggressive spells. Peter Tilley, Monty Sajdewa and Seb Schusman all, too, did fine jobs defending totals.
Another exciting thing about the year was the potential within the side. Of the 41 players used, only three were over 33. The likes of George Roberts, Dom Johnsen, Lucas Wilson and Freddie Horler all benefited from exposure to the upper echelons of adult cricket and it is hoped that they will lead the club onwards to greater things in the coming seasons.
Sunbury 2nd XI
2016 was a very difficult season for the 2nd XI; losing four experienced members from the prior year meant that the team often fielded a very young side with only four regular players over the age of 21. This experience shone through at the start of the season as a poor start resulted in six losses from the first six games. However the guts and determination of youth dragged the side from what seemed a point of no return to avoid relegation on the last day of the season.
As has been the case for the last few seasons the strength of the side, especially the batting, has improved with the return of school and university students, with Ed Hughes particularly excelling scoring 209 runs at 52. But the disappointing fact will be that no batsmen passed 300 runs for the season.
With the ball the burden fell mostly on opening bowler Saran Kalsi who bowled over 170 overs, getting 31 wickets @ 25. He was ably supported by spinners Curtis Higgins (16 wickets @ 28) and Nish Madan (15 @ 23).
Only five wins from the 18 games shows why the side was fighting at the wrong end of the table, however looking at who these wins were against shows the potential for the team going forward. Wins against champions Spencer, Reigate and two against Wimbledon, shows that the side has the ability to fight at the other end of the table and will hope to do so in 2017.
Weybridge 2nd XI
2016 seemed like a season of what could have been for the 2nd XI with a 3rd place finish probably a fair position, albeit a little disappointing. Mixed availability saw the strength of the side vary hugely from week to week and 1st XI requirements of a couple of key players definitely hurt at times.
Once again the bowling was absolutely superb, led yet again by Player of the Year Masud Javaid who claimed 31 wickets. Adam Dean (24) and Tristan Caviet (21) provided the main back up but there were excellent spells too from Imran Lodhi, Saeed Ahmed, Ralph Day, Darren Livett, Nayeem Afridi, Tan Asghar, Sam Crabtree and Leo Methley.
Unfortunately as consistently excellent as the bowling was, the batting was the complete opposite. Despite 3 centuries, Stewart Day (125 vs. East Molesey), Mike Arnot (118 vs. East Molesey) and Jordan McKinlay (102* vs. Normandy) and two near misses, Heyder Ali (97 vs. Ashtead) and Oli Slipper (93 vs. Wimbledon), Tim Cross was the only man to pass 300 runs for the season. Alongside the above there were half centuries from Leo Methley, Ralph Day and Sam Crabtree but, all in all, the batsmen underperformed as a group and certainly let the bowlers down throughout the season.
On a positive note, the side is still young and developing and has every chance of challenging for the title in 2017 if the required improvements are made.
Many thanks, as always, to our scorer Jo Gaydon, to the superbly committed Paul Burgess for umpiring and to John Harris and Gary Notton for standing in when required. Finally, congratulations to Spencer on their title win, fully deserved.
Wimbledon 2nd XI
The 2016 season was generally a positive one for the 2nd XI finishing 4th. The team topped the table after the initial set of overs games and remained in title contention until well into August, finishing the season having lost the joint fewest games in the league.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the season was the development of many of the academy players. Four of the U17/18 players came through the 2nd XI into 1st XI cricket and a total of 10 academy players represented the 2nd XI during the course of the season, playing a significant role in the side’s success.
Everyone in the squad contributed at some stage of the season but greater consistency (especially within the batting unit) will be needed to take the team to the next level. Two individual performances stand out in particular; Scott’s sublime 117* at Malden Wanderers from just 106 balls (the only century of the season scored by the 2nd youngest player in the squad) and Linley’s demolition of Epsom with 9 for 15 in 15.1 overs.
Skipper Wills topped the run scoring charts for the 2nd successive year with 400, while opening partner De Passos finished with the best average of 32.5 (among players to have played a meaningful number of innings). New club members Fisher, Kirkpatrick, Machado and Rose all finished with more than 200 runs for the season.
On the bowling front, outstanding performances were De Silva and Linley who finished with 26 and 23 wickets respectively. Urquhart, Brown and Solomon all reached double figures for the season as well.
2nd XI cricket has been played in a positive spirit and to a high standard in 2016 and Wimbledon should be in good shape to mount a title challenge next year.