Highly competitive game goes Sutton’s way

Surrey Championship ‘Challenge Cup’ Group 5 – Round 7; Saturday September 5th 2020; Cheam Road, Sutton.

Sutton CC 1st XI (20 points) 178-7 from 38-overs beat Sanderstead CC 1st XI (4 points) 177-8 from 40-overs.

Pre-match warm-up…you may think it’s a bit of rugby; but no! It’s Aussie Rules, an import initiated no doubt, by our resident, ‘mate’, Chris Morris.

At Cheam Road on Saturday, in the final ‘Challenge Cup’ fixture for both clubs of this all too short season, Sutton fought off a strong and determined challenge by Sanderstead to win by 3-wickets in a classic game where control of the game regularly ebbed and flowed.

A bright day greeted everyone; a blessed relief given some of the unfavorable weather encountered recently on Saturday afternoons!  Sanderstead’s captain, Simon Carter, won the toss and elected to bat on another decent Cheam Road wicket.

Openers Jake Scarisbrick and Tyler Ward were quietly establishing a solid start for the innings when, with the score at 45, Sam Blake, who was delivering a very tight and accurate spell, (7-2-10-1) had Scarisbrick caught by Chris Morris at first slip, for 29 from 38 balls, in the first ball of the 12th over.

The second wicket fell terrifically, to the opening ball of Tom Sole’s first appearance for Sutton CC; Ward falling to a Sam Seadon slip catch for 19 from 41, leaving the visitors at 57-2.  John Coles joined Chris Bauman and their time together at the crease, off 2-balls short of 13-overs, produced 64 runs of which Bauman notched 44 in 47 balls before being bowled by Aneesh Jhalla.

Sanderstead now stood at 121-3 after 29-overs.  5-overs later, as Jhalla (8-1-33-2), Sagar Joshi (7-1-42-1) and Rehan Ratnasapabathy (3-0-16-2) got amongst the wickets, Sanderstead, positioned now at 132-6, needed their lower order to come good if they were to reach anywhere near a challenging total.  Sure enough, they did their job, adding 44-runs in the final 6-overs for the loss of 2-wickets, to reach a total of 177-8 from their allotted 40-overs.

In reply, having lost the openers for 29, Luke Smith, (11 off 26), and Sam Seadon, (12 off 13), Sutton were quickly realising that the visitors would fight hard to defend the target of 178.  The bowling was tight, the fielding excellent; and a positive but vigilant response was vital if Sutton were to remain in the game.

The vigilant came from Josh Blake (68 not out off 81), who in partnership with Etinder Bopara (18 off 40) added 48-runs in one ball short of 13-overs, before Bopara fell to a Bauman catch in the deep, off the bowling of Jonathan Lock.  So, after 20-overs Sutton were reasonably placed at 77-3, needing another 101-runs to win off the remaining 20-overs.

The positive response came with the arrival of Tom Sole at the wicket.  6-overs later the score had moved rapidly to 125 with Sole on 29 from just 17-balls.  After adding a single, Sole’s next ball looked destined for a 6-run boundary, but a fine Bauman catch at deep mid-on, off the bowling of Lock, saw Sole’s explosive and welcome innings end on 30 runs off 19-balls.  Meanwhile, Blake affirmed his growing influence on the innings by reaching his half-century, one ball before Sole’s dismissal.  Sutton were now 127-4 with 12.3 overs left, and 51-runs needed to win.

Commendably, Sanderstead, to a man, were defending their total relentlessly.  It almost paid off.  Three more wickets fell as Sutton’s mid to late order batsmen flayed around, only achieving bits and pieces, whilst looking to end the game quickly.  Blake hung in, scoring another 18 runs on his way to an impeccable 68 not out. Joined by Chris Morris (3-runs off 4), for the 8th wicket, the winning run was scored fittingly by Blake, off the final ball of the 38th over.

The ‘chase’ met!

One could not have witnessed a more competitive game of cricket to end this league season. Distinguished by Sanderstead’s exceptional, non-stop attempt to earn a win over their more illustrious opponents, Sutton needed to dig deep to win; and in the end their ‘bits and pieces’ stuff did the trick…….with a little help from Josh Blake, of course!

If ‘The Third Man’ were a betting man, he would find a friendly unsuspecting bookie to offer him a price on Sanderstead gaining promotion next season from the 3rd Division to the 2nd.  At evens, he would take it…….if he were a betting man!   

PS: The Third Man thanks 1st XI skipper Luke Smith and all the 1st XI players for their end of season ‘thank-yous’, and their generous, extremely well received gift.  It’s been a pleasure to score for such a great bunch of lads and record a few wins, as well!  God willing, I’m happy to do it again next season. Thanks to you all, once more.

For the final league tables of the season please visit: www.surreychampionship.com/match-info/tables Simply use the filter to scroll to relevant tables.  Sutton’s 1st XI played in group 5; the 2s in group 18; and the 3s in group 31. The 4s played their 2020 season in the Surrey County League Division 4; details here.

Published by The Third Man

Cricket is my first sporting love; and decades later, it remains so. That said, aside from being a member, and 1st XI scorer at Sutton CC, I maintain a membership at Surrey CCC, and hold season tickets at Chelsea and Sutton United football clubs.

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