Ashtead Sunday XI v Hambledon XI. In the Surrey Sunday Village League
Musings from the Boundary – a match report
A top of the table clash that was bound to be a closely contested match. Andy Story expertly umpired the match on this delightful yet eccentric rural cricket ground.
The match started with Ashtead winning the toss and putting Hambledon in to bat. Looking at the wicket it was difficult to know what a good score would be, but as Hambledon’s opening batsmen started to score it looked as if over 200 would be the target. A solid first wicket stand of 32 was followed by Luff and Pusey hitting out with some strong shots until Luff was caught behind by Sam Gale, with the score on 93. In the next over the crucial wicket, Pusey, fell to another good catch behind the stumps off the bowling of James Graham who is certainly developing well as a very useful bowler.
David Sims took 2 more wickets before completing his 10 overs for 33 runs and 4 wickets.
Then came a memorable number of overs from Dom Lloyd and Will Culhane – ‘swing and spin’. It was Lloyd’s swing that triumphed on this occasion by taking 4 wickets in his spell of 5 overs including two in consecutive balls. However, the final wicket was taken by Jake Martin before Tom Gallagher could be brought into the attack to close the innings out. Hambledon, consequently finished with a score of 135 in only 35 overs. It was clear now that the wicket would favour the bowlers: Ashtead would have to be careful in the run chase.
After (Yorkshire) tea, Ashtead lost 2 early wickets with Ben Gale and Dave Sims both quickly back in the pavilion. After this early set back to the run chase, Sam Gale and Chris Latham started to take control until Latham was caught off the top edge attempting to hook a short ball. At 45 for 3 it was game-on for both sides. A 35-run partnership between Gale and Murray put Ashtead back in control until Murray was brilliantly caught and bowled just when he seemed set. Gale was certainly in fine form even on this difficult wicket and, with the fielders set on the boundary, with Gale moving towards a half century. It was not to be he was smartly caught behind cutting at one too many. The game was now set for Jake Martin to finish in his typical way, Jake obliged with or without the calming influence of Will Bishop. Six runs to win – Jake facing – Hambledon moved the fielders into the ring – anyone who has watched Jake bat knows what he would do. Smashed over the top and missed the rope by inches. Same again with the next ball and so ended a great and unpredictable match. Will Bishop needs a special mention for calming Jake down during the closing overs and ensuring this 5-wicket victory.
Ashtead CC enjoyed this exciting encounter with Hambledon CC at the picturesque ground deep in the Surrey Hills. This win for Ashtead resulted in ACC going top of the Surrey Village Cricket league for the first time since the club joined this league. The team has two games left to see if they can remain there and end the season on a real high note - the top village cricket team in the Surrey Hills.
Three fours of note: - Four wickets for David Sims – Four wickets for Dom Lloyd – Four keepers catches for Sam Gale