- Malden Wanderers
- Old Rutlishians
- Reigate Priory
After promotion to the Premier Division, the 3rd XI had two main aims for the 2016 season; consolidation in the league and the continued development of the younger players. Both of these were achieved, eventually.
The story of the season was summed up by the bonus points accumulated; 33 bowling points achieved and only 5 batting points. There was no issue with bowling the opposition out; the issue was, as has been the case in previous seasons, in scoring the required runs to turn narrow losses into wins. Defeats to high fliers Wimbledon (1 wicket), Dulwich (1 wicket) and Reigate (3 runs) show that the margins are fine and, with a slight improvement next year, there are many reasons to be optimistic.
The bowling attack was led superbly by the openers Henry Elburn (21 wickets @ 17) and Christian Burgess (17 @ 20) and the spin-twins (well, nearly) Connor and Marcus Caprano-Wint (19 @ 12 and 18 @ 13 respectively), with 15 year-old Marcus bowling 70 consecutive dot balls in one match before conceding his first run.
The 2016 season also saw 17 year-old Patrick Murray look comfortable at this level; his 14 wickets at 18 were due reward for his efforts. Tom Dunn (8 @ 15), Alex Culhane (7 @ 17) and Will Culhane (6 @ 18) also provided sizeable contributions.
In comparison to the bowling performances, no-one scored more than two half centuries with the bat. Captain Tom Culhane (286 runs @ 21) led the run-chart, while Matt Biggs (188 @ 24) and Rob Wint (171) were not far behind. It is not a coincidence that the matches where Ashtead scored runs were the matches with success, with notable performances from Alex Culhane, Ben Sidwell, Taylor Rice-Burnett and the youthful wicket-keepers, Jack Parkinson and Simon Feeney.
With 15 year-old Ben Geddes now performing well for the 2nd XI, and with breakthrough seasons for Patrick Murray and Marcus Caprano-Wint, the future looks bright for next year.
Dulwich 3rd XI
The 3rd XI enjoyed an excellent season, eventually finishing 4th after a season long 4-way battle for the title. Three abandoned matches, including two against both of the relegated teams, were a major factor in the team eventually falling short. The team’s success was based on better availability, some exceptional individual performances and a great team spirit despite the use of 47 players in total.
Only John Morris scored more than 200 runs (254 @ 36) including a century in the final washed out match vs. Spencer but many others played excellent individual innings which led to quick promotion to the 2s or higher. These included Chris Stone (two 50s in 4 innings), Guy Skinner, Henry Hazlewood, Raj Tulsiani, Andrew Inglis, Andy Cornick and others. Fourteen players averaged over 30 to signify a good all round batting performance despite the many team changes.
On the bowling front skipper Graeme Hough led the way once again with 32 wickets @ 11.6, less than 2.5 runs per over, which gave the bowling crucial control in many games. Only the reliable Jeremy Jones, however, returned a 5-for as he claimed a deserved 24 wickets. Able support was provided by Chris Hope, Matt Balch, Ian Toppin, Ben Lester and Phil Hollows before injury. Ben Swanson played a couple of matches and showed he remains a classy left arm spinner.
There were only two losses – one to a strong Wimbledon side and the other to an impressive performance from Walton-on-Thames. Alongside a number of comfortable victories were some close ones, notably against champions Spencer and Wimbledon in low scoring encounters, by one wicket in a nervy encounter with Ashtead plus a thrilling tie with Reigate.
The fielding generally was good all season, led capably by Andy Bailey with the gloves. Thanks as always are due to umpire Chris Reardon who stood in many matches at both ends and Jackie for the teas.
Malden Wanderers 3rd XI
2016 began with four wins in the first seven games, aided by bowlers James Marks and Rob Graham and ended in a mid-table finish but with much hope thanks to the continued development of the club’s young talents.
Batting was generally decent, particularly at Reigate Priory, where Ravi Hariharan came good to hit 74 and win the game chasing 235. Initially the absence of a regular captain made continuity tricky, as did the washing out of three matches without a ball being bowled. However, there was much to enjoy, particularly the progression of U15s Harry Williams and Huw Morris, the former a talented left-arm bat and spinner and terrifically athletic fielder, the latter a stylish keeper-batsman who has a great future.
Highlights were undoubtedly the stand between the ever-carefree Marc Angel and the stylishly elegant newcomer Matt Andrews that made light work of chasing 261 against Sunbury. Each hit hugely contrasting unbeaten tons; Matt pulling and cutting, Marc charismatically biffing the ball to get Wanderers home with 12 overs and seven wickets to spare. The trip to Spencer was also memorable; a scratch Wanderers side almost defended 105, losing by just one wicket in a nail-biting finale in challenging conditions.
In Ben Walters and Jack Morgan (17), Wanderers are blessed with two of the best spinners in the league. Ben, a veteran from the great mid-90s side containing Ian Ward and Ben Hollioake, was brilliant with his left-arm spin. Jack, who played a fair bit of 2s cricket, has matured to be a leg-spinner of some talent; his batting will also give the top-order batsmen a run for their money soon. Mike ‘Druid’ Jacobs was fantastic with the bat, scoring four half centuries and Tom Gould regularly chipped in.
Given more help from the elements and better luck in some marginal decisions, a top-three finish would not have flattered the side. It should certainly be next year’s target.
Old Rutlishians 3rd XI
It was all change for the 3rd XI with 5 players choosing to move on to pastures new in the close season. That did not seem to make much difference as the side won the opening game against Weybridge, with new recruit Graeme Meaker scoring a much needed 71 which led to a 60 run victory. But poor club availability meant that was as good as it got until the end of July as the side went on a long winless streak including some heavy defeats to Reigate Priory and Ashtead but also an agonising 1 wicket defeat to Sunbury.
Bowling teams out was an issue all season as only two 5-fors were recorded and that continued into the second half of the season. The tide turned away at Walton thanks to a maiden league century for youngster Asad Khan (104), who anchored the innings in a thrilling run chase of 236. The next week saw an almost carbon copy against Weybridge but this time the side failed to defend 237 in 50 overs and fell to another costly one wicket defeat.
Fortunes were mixed over the next few games with victory against Sunbury followed by defeats to eventual champions Spencer, despite a spirited 91 from new captain Steve Corbey, and Wimbledon.
Going into the last game nothing but a victory and a Sunbury defeat would be enough to keep the team up. The side did its bit with a rain affected victory against Ashtead thanks to a magnificent 81 from Tim Berrington, however it was all in vain as Sunbury’s rain affected win put the final nail in the coffin and after two seasons the team return to Division 1.
One or two wickets have meant the side was not quite good enough but it remains determined to bounce straight back. Corbey led the way with 372 runs supported by newbie Meaker with 256 runs. Callum Holden led the way with 23 wickets.
Reigate Priory 3rd XI
The 3rd XI finished third with a much improved points tally over last year but most notably the season was marked by some outstanding individual performances.
Ahson Bukhari's 149* against Sunbury, as part of an opening partnership of 183 with Jon Smith, were both team records and his aggregate runs of 514 at an average of 73.4 was also one of the team's best ever. Toby Briggs' all-round contribution with ball (25 wickets), the bat (323 runs) and his hands in the field (nine catches and one run out) was also one of the side's best ever.
Along with those named above, Antony Ireland also scored over 300 runs, while Shayne Cossey took 30 wickets @ 15.66, including an indefatigable 7 for 63 away to Malden Wanderers and skipper James Brickley chipped in with 25 wickets @ 11.64. Young spinner Wilbur Tiley's progress was pleasing.
Wins late on bowling second against Walton-on-Thames and Ashtead will live long in the memory, while bowling Old Rutlishians out for just 27 may well have been another team record.
Spencer 3rd XI
2016 was a momentous year for Spencer and the 3rd XI played no small part in a year that saw the second, third and fourth teams all win their respective leagues. After eight games the 3s had won five and lost three.
Whilst a fantastic turnaround from the previous year where the team narrowly avoided relegation it was not necessarily a start that provided evidence of a side destined to win the league. On three occasions the side had been bowled out for give or take a 100; twice against perennial frontrunners Reigate Priory and once by Graeme Hough’s Dulwich. However a remarkable run of nine consecutive victories saw the 3rd XI win its first Premier Division title since 2004. A dramatic win against Ashtead in week 13 saw Spencer reach the top of the table for the first time in years. A position it held onto for the rest of the season, fighting off stern opposition from Wimbledon.
Spencer’s strength was no doubt its bowling attack. Only twice over the course of the season did the 3s concede more than 200. The veteran trio of Shak Farooqi, Samad Lone and Aqib Sindhu took 70 wickets between them as they wore their badge of “The Last of the Summer Wine” with pride. Sindhu in particular was excellent, finishing as the league's top wicket taker with 41 wickets at less than 10 apiece. Glover and Ponsonby also provided telling contributions with the ball taking 24 and 17 wickets respectively.
With the bowlers leading from the front it was often up to the batsmen to knock off a smallish total. No batting stats particularly stand out as massively impressive with matches often being decided by telling individual innings with 12 people passing 50 over the course of the season. Phil Cummings played a massive role in both matches against Sunbury along with Dan Shacklock. Meanwhile Adeel Ansari and Ali Naqvi contributed often over the season whilst there were stunning match winning performances from Tom Price, Amartya Kaul and Max Faulkner.
With the title secured on the penultimate week of the season, celebrations spread across Spencer as the 4th XI followed in the footsteps of both the 2s and 3s winning the league on the final day of the season. Combined with the 1st XI securing its position in Division 1, a remarkable year was completed.
Also worthy of thanks are June for doing the teas each week and both Steves for making some of the best pitches in the league.
Sunbury 3rd XI
Following last year’s league winning performance, 2016 was extremely disappointing. Several of last year’s championship winning side were promoted to the 2nd XI and the team never came to terms with this. Only a rain affected win on the last day of the season saved the team from relegation. A change of captain less than half way through the season, inconsistent availability and an overall lack of consistency meant the side was in a relegation battle all season.
A very useful first season for Andrew Martin (320 runs @ 32) but he was the only batsman to pass 300 runs. Seam bowler Shirsh Bedi’s contribution with the bat was very useful (258 @ 23). The slow bowlers provided the best return with Colin Bentall once again leading the way (14 wickets @ 26) and Jack Greaves provided great support. Shirsh Bedi and Jay Plaha both returned nine wickets each. Generally, the seam bowlers struggled to find consistency and this will have to improve next year. Along with Greaves, other colts who showed good promise were Daniel Finlay with bat and ball and Greg Havard with the bat.
The side only achieved four wins this year and 11 defeats, many of which were by a distance. Too many times the team was not able to compete. The most telling stat was that the 3rd XI used 48 different players. Better availability will inevitably lead to more consistent performances and should see, once again, a challenge at the top of the table.
Walton 3rd XI
2016 was another good season for the 3rd XI who recorded its highest finish for many years in the Premier Division. Despite flirting with relegation early on, the side rallied to win four of the last six matches and secure 5th place in a tough league.
Many players had to adjust to the step up from Division 1 and this inexperience showed, particularly in the batting performances where simple chases were often made difficult by repeated top order failures. That said, the willingness to fight for every available point espoused the character of Walton and the team was able to reap the rewards with incredible wins away at Ashtead and Dulwich.
The inconsistency of regular batsmen coupled with some graduating to the 2s meant the 3s experimented with the batting order throughout the season. 13 different opening partnerships were tried but a highlight was undoubtedly Ed Thom's stint as a makeshift opener; he finished as top scorer with 205 runs @ 26 including his first ever league 50 vs. Sunbury. Tom Christiansen made a series of starts to finish on 191 @ 27 while outgoing skipper Liam Desai grafted hard as usual in the middle order before injury ended his season in July (186 @ 19). Ash Walton (153 @ 17) and Gordon Christiansen (137 @ 34) contributed at times, while Mike McDonagh's glorious 104* vs. Weybridge virtually sealed safety in August.
The quality of bowling was excellent all season, although the figures were often dented by indifferent fielding displays. Ed Thom again topped the charts with 26 @ 19, while Ed Hougasian also broke the 20 wicket barrier (20 @ 17). The luckless Ash Walton ended with 18 @ 16 while youngsters Rohan Wilde and Cam Allen claimed 11 apiece. Simon Duke and Dave Rolton were also key members of the attack. The 3s look forward eagerly to another season of Premier League cricket in 2017.
Weybridge 3rd XI
By the usual standards set at Weybridge this was a very disappointing season, marred by lack of consistency and the availability of regular players. This resulted in the side not being competitive enough for large parts of the season which was the ultimate demise.
Credit must go to new player, Thomas Dawson, for his efforts with the bat and ball, also to Edmund Edge for the same reasons. Both bowled extremely well at points without much luck at all. Focus is now firmly on next season to come back stronger and get back to where the team belongs; in the Premiership.
Wimbledon 3rd XI
The 3rd XI enjoyed a mostly dominant season based on the back of a strong bowling attack often fielding six or seven bowlers that would be the envy of most 3rd XIs. Ultimately the dominance only resulted in a 2nd place finish as Spencer showed the same dominance against the rest and deserved the win as they took advantage of two below par performances from Wimbledon to win the crucial games.
The side had a strong backbone with seven players basically ever present but the inconsistency of availability meant that a further 30 players were used through the season.
The batting was generally built around the skipper Eddison who finished with over 800 runs. He was supported well by Eric Anand and Brad James with over 300 each and the innings of the season was, arguably, Anand’s unbeaten century away at Reigate. A third centurion came in the final game of the season as Harry Thomas scored a dashing 115 at Malden, a great sign for the future from a member of the U17’s squad.
The bowling was consistent throughout, only conceding above 150 four times and never conceding 200. Carlton Anand spearheaded the attack getting his just rewards in the last third of the season to end with 26 wickets. Jamie Andrews showed consistency through the season to end with an impressive 28 wickets, often picking up crucial middle order wickets. They were supported by Eric Anand and Harry Houlder with 17 wickets each.
The season’s most valuable players have to be the twin all-rounders; Eric who scored over 300 @ 30 and then 17 wickets @ 8 but brother Carlton pipped it through consistency with the ball and the odd brilliance with the bat. It was his new ball bowling that won many a game by creating the pressure for opponents to collapse.
If the squad can remain largely intact then the side should go one better next year with lots of talented youngsters coming through.