PLEASE NOTE: The rearranged 1st XI fixture scheduled to take place on FRIDAY 28th August at Cheam Road vesus Oxted & Limpsfield CC is CANCELLED.
Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 at Pixham Lane, Dorking: Sutton CC 1st XI, 158-6 in 38.3 overs, (20 points,) beat Dorking CC 1st XI, 157 all out in 36.4 overs, (2 points,) by 4 wickets.
This recreational season, drastically shortened by the coronavirus shutdown, has at least provided us with one or two engaging cricket gifts generally missing in a typical Sutton CC campaign. One such reward is the chance to visit Dorking CC. Their Pixham Lane ground, which nestles peacefully at the steep foot of Box Hill, on a stretch of the North Downs that leads gently up to the town of Dorking itself, is a lovely spot. Playing, viewing, or scoring at the ground is a delight, especially in agreeable weather which, aside from a very brief shower, all at Pixham Lane on Saturday enjoyed.
Understandably, given the recent rain, the wicket looked a tad slow and unlikely to improve as the day progressed. Dorking skipper Toby Blood won the toss and as expected, elected to bat.
Early on, the sluggish track offered no significant assistance to Sutton’s fast bowlers, allowing the hosts to make a decent start which began to fall away when medium pace and spin were introduced. John Gale, (32 from 61 balls), and Charlie Kenway, (40 from 43 balls) helped Dorking to 83-2 after 17-overs. From that commanding position, Dorking lost 4 wickets quickly.
Sam Blake had Kenway caught at point by Luke Smith; and at 101-runs Steven Dolben took a sharp slip catch off Sam Seadon to dismiss Ben Overton for 8-runs. At 108-4 the introduction of Aneesh Jhalla’s left-arm spin quickly accounted for two Dorking wickets. First, Jhalla bowled Gale and did the same with the very next ball to dismiss Henry Smith for a duck, leaving Dorking wobbling at 108-6 after 25-overs.
Stopping the rot, Kamran Munawar (12 from 29 balls) and Blood (31 from 32 balls) together added 39-runs until at 147-6 Sagar Joshi, adjusting his pace, returned to clean bowl Munawar. 4-runs later, Blood fell LBW to Jhalla. Dorking’s score concluded at 157 off 36.4 overs as Joshi took his 3rd wicket, (6-0-31-3), and Jhalla, wrapping up the innings, secured his 4th, (6.4-0-29-4).
On the face of it, a target of 158 to win would seem straightforward but given the conditions, the score seemed not far off par; and so it proved as the Sutton batsmen struggled to cope. Needing to pursue the target watchfully, the openers duly obliged. Fortuitously, Dorking’s opening attack produced a flurry of extras which helped captain Luke Smith, and fellow opener Sam Seadon, reach 60-runs without loss by the 13th over. An extremely useful start at almost 4.7 runs per over, and well ahead of the required rate.
Recognising the pitch was worsening, for the 8th over skipper Blood called on the off spin of Tim Johnson. After his initial over, which went for a total of 10-runs, Johnson really got to work, ending his spell of 8-overs with 3 maidens, just 20-runs, and 2-wickets: Sam Seadon, 20 off 38 balls, and Josh Blake, not the only batsman struggling with the increasingly listless pitch, 6-runs off 25 balls. Both caught behind by keeper William Edwards. Sutton were now standing at 79-runs for the loss of 2-wickets from 20-overs.
In the 25th over, with the score at 97, Smith fell to the bowling of Charlie Kenway, caught at mid-on, for a steady 45 off 74 balls. An over later, Rehan Ratnasapabathy, (9 from 24 balls), was caught & bowled by Blood, who brought himself on for the 24th over, leaving Sutton at 99 for 4.
The conditions were really suiting Dorking skipper Blood’s spin, as aside from helping slow the run rate, swiftly took the next two wickets: Joshi caught in the gully for 10 off 10 balls, and Dolben LBW 10 off 15 balls. Now it was Sutton’s turn to ‘wobble’! 127-6 at a rate of just under 4-runs an over, needing 31-runs to win in 8-overs.
Sam Woods, 8 not out, was joined at the crease by 1st XI debutant, 16-year old colt, Jay Evemy. Satisfyingly, both toiled and grafted their way towards a welcome Sutton victory. Evemy, guided by his experienced partner, ended not out 13 from 20 balls. Playing with increased confidence he supported a flawless 37 ball 24 not out from Woods to help ensure a welcome Sutton victory by 4-wickets.
The game was played in front of a large crowd, spread all round the ground, including members of Old Suttonians 1st XI football team, who earlier in the day, had been playing a pre-season friendly against a Dorking Wanderers XI at nearby Meadowbank. Many were former school mates of Sam Woods, and whilst obviously enjoying the friendly environment, they gave Sutton’s cricketers some great vocal support. Let’s hope we see the lads again before the season ends, home and/or away!
On Saturday 29th August, the 1st XI visit Epsom CC for the penultimate ‘Challenge Cup’ fixture of the season. Start time 1.00pm.