Scripts are burnt as Ashtead stage thrilling steal
Ashtead staged a remarkable heist of their match against East Molesey, taking 5 wickets for 6 runs to win by 15 runs.
This game had everything. Runs, wickets, drama, and all results still possible the ball before the match ended. Ashtead snatched victory from the very jaws of defeat, as the Stags defeated East Molesey by 15 runs in a dramatic conclusion to Round 10 of the Surrey Championship Premier Division.
Ashtead won the toss, and elected to make first use of a surface that looked to turn into a dustbowl later in the game. Opening partnerships have typically not been long for the Stags so far, by fortune or by error, but Guy Harper and Lalit Bose set about changing that. The opening quick bowlers failed to make any inroads, and with some solid early boundaries, the score raced to 50. It would be the introduction of Jack Miller, a medium-pacer, that made the breakthrough, removing Harper for 31 just before drinks.
Wickets then fell at regular intervals throughout the next 25 overs or so. The absence of Dominic Sibley saw Michael Sanderson enter at 3, but the overseas bowler Angelo Perera saw him off early. Mahesh Rawat, the star signing for the Stags, could not continue his run and was snared down the leg side for 16. At lunch after 32 overs, the score was 131-3 and a platform had been set.
Momentum stalled after the break, and with the loss of Bose for 77, a good start seemed to be going to waste. Enter Stewart Cameron and John Vaughan-Davies. Both started slowly, but Cameron opened his boundary account with a solid six on ball 11, and continued to swing freely thereafter. Vaughan-Davies opened his account in a similar way – but it took till the 51st ball to do it. Some late hitting saw the Stags to 254-7 off 64 overs declaring two overs shy of the maximum allowed.
An early wicket for Harshil Patel in the first over of the reply raised early hopes of a hammering, but the East Molesey top and middle order showed why they can be a dangerous Premiership side. A pair of wickets fell fairly close together after the tea interval, but Perera and home captain Sam Burge combined for a 108 run stand to bring the hosts almost within sight of victory.
At 193-3, it seemed all was lost. But cricket is a fickle game, and the fat lady had yet to clear her throat. Tom Deighton began the work, breaking the stand as Perera fell to an outstanding catch from Michael Sanderson in the deep for 71. He also removed Paul Lawford, to another great catch from John Vaughan-Davies, for 12.
Runs had continued to flow, however, as the return of the pacers occurred. It would be Patel and Bose, defending 26 runs with 8 overs remaining.
6.4 overs left. East Molesey 233-5. 22 runs from 40 balls, and 5 wickets in the hut. The hosts couldn’t lose. Or could they? Bose began it with the crucial wicket, as Sam Burge edged to Tom Homes at first slip for 79. The lower order and the tail would have to set the Moles home. They hadn’t counted on a blistering 8 balls from Harshil Patel.
Ball 1 – Toby Green bowled. Balls 2-5 – all dots, as the pressure, and the temperature, rises in the cauldron-lie ground. Ball 6 – James Smith pinned LBW. A double-wicket maiden, 234-8. Bose then obliged by not taking a wicket in his over, with five runs off it. 239-8. Back to Patel. Ball 7 – Andre Westphal, pinned LBW. Hat-trick ball. One wicket left. Evan Beck bowled. A hat-trick to win it. The hosts despair. The visitors (and their scorer, penning this report) erupt. You couldn’t have written the script for this.
This win keeps Ashtead in 5th place in the league table, but makes their place in the Premier League all but secure. A win next week at home against Guildford should guarantee it, but Guildford won the first encounter by 10 runs on Week 3. Join us then.