Five for Hoddo including a hat-trick as Dons subside for 86. By Paul Bridge
A rampant Reigate Priory blew away third place Wimbledon by seven wickets on Saturday finishing the game just 70 minutes after lunch, with some 77 overs to spare, thereby maintaining its lead of 23 points over Weybridge to head the Surrey Championship table.
Ask any Wimbledon player whether lightening can strike twice in the same place and he’ll nod his head in the affirmative. For last August in this fixture Will Hodson, Priory’s medium-paced opening bowler, destroyed the Wimbledon batting line-up with 5-23 in 8.4 overs, including a hat trick, as Wimbledon made a paltry 114 all out.
This year Hodson tore through the same Wimbledon batting with 5-33 in 11.2 overs. He was ably assisted by Richard Stevens, who took three of the first four Wimbledon wickets to fall, as Wimbledon’s wickets tumbled to a final total of just 86 all out.
Wimbledon had won the toss and opened up with Nick Welch and Oliver Jones. Welch, who hails from Zimbabwe, is Wimbledon’s leading run-scorer this season with over 400 runs so far as well as 149 for Surrey 2nds at the end of June.
So when Welch was dropped third ball of the game in a difficult chance to the Priory wicket-keeper you could almost hear the groans from the Llama supporters.
Jones, the other opener, joined Wimbledon recently from the West Country and this game was his debut for the Wimbledon firsts. Initially both he and Welch looked at ease against the Priory opening attack scoring 33 runs in the first seven overs.
Then Stevens struck with a ball that Welch shouldered arms to, only to see the ball move off the seam and knock back his off stump – out for 16 at 33-1.
The wickets now fell like ninepins – six of them, including Welch, in four overs for eight runs.
Eight balls after Stevens had dismissed Welch, Welch’s opening partner Jones nicked one behind off Hodson’s bowling with the wicket-keeper taking this one with ease at 35-2 with Jones gone for 18.
Next over Stevens took two wickets – David Scott, a former Oxford MCCU player, leg before for 1 to just the third ball he faced and then five balls later skipper Oliver Swann bowled for 3, the score now 39-4.
Not to be outdone Hodson took a couple of wickets himself in his next over, the 11th of the innings. First the Sri Lankan Sanjaya Arachchige was bowled second ball for 1 and four balls later Billy Sewell was leg before to Hodson for 1 at 41-6.
Paul Hindmarch, a Whitgift School cricket instructor, lasted two overs before becoming Hodson’s fourth victim, leg before for 4 at 51-7 before Wimbledon’s wicket-keeper James Brown, batting at number 6 and number 9 batsman Jonathan Dewes, grandson of the prolific post-war Middlesex batsman J.G. Dewes, put on a stand of 31 runs together.
After Stevens was hit for three 4’s in an over by Brown, Reigate skipper Chris Murtagh ended the paceman’s nine over spell for 3-49. He brought on Beaven, who in his first over had Dewes leg before for 9 at 82-8 and then Kieran Bunting caught by Luke Haughton for a third-ball duck also at 82, but now for nine wickets.
Three overs later, Hodson picked up his fifth wicket and third leg before decision by disposing of Brown for 29 as Wimbledon slumped to 86 all out.
Hodson’s five wicket haul now places him as Reigate’s best ever seam bowler since records began being kept in 1979, with a total of 229 wickets so far for the club since his debut in 2011.
In the three overs before lunch Reigate knocked off 23 of the 87 runs needed to win, with Oliver hitting three 4’s in an unbeaten 16 off 13 balls, far outscoring his partner Miller who went into lunch on 6 not out from 6 balls.
First ball after lunch Wimbledon gained some hope when Miller was run out. Number three batsman Brad Scriven soon followed, bowled by Jonathan Speller for nought, and 23-0 at lunchtime now was 23-2.
Oliver was next to go at 37 when he was bowled by Kieran Bunting for 23.
However Murtagh and Hall put on a chanceless 51-run partnership as Reigate cruised past Wimbledon’s total with no further hiccups.
Murtagh ended on 42 not out from 51 balls and Hall ended with 11 not out from 21 balls as Reigate totalled 88-3 from 19.4 overs.
Reigate might have hoped such a comprehensive win would extend their lead at the top of the table. However Weybridge achieved yet another last minute win, against Normandy, to maintain the 23-point spread behind the Priory in second place.
With the Priory now on 218 points and Weybridge on 195 the Championship title is beginning to look like a two horse race as third-place Banstead currently have only 151 points.
On Saturday Ashtead visits Reigate’s home ground on Park Lane for game 13 of an 18 game season. Now in 6th place in the league following a four wicket win against Sutton, the Ashtead team features slow left-arm spinner Tom Homes who has taken 22 wickets in league cricket this season, as well as batsman Guy Harper, who’s scored over 600 runs at an average of 51.00. Updated 09:36 - 13 Aug 2018 by Antony Ireland