Big Six for Beaven
A six wicket haul by skipper Luke Beaven was the springboard Saturday for a comprehensive six-wicket win by Reigate Priory over Weybridge, thereby keeping the Priory in first place in the league.
Paul Bridge writes...
A six wicket haul by skipper Luke Beaven
was the springboard Saturday for a comprehensive six-wicket win by Reigate Priory over Weybridge, thereby keeping the Priory in first place in the league.
Beaven’s 6-39 puts him in the top spot for wicket-takers in the Premier Division 1st XI so far this season with 24 wickets at 14.29 apiece.
The difference between the two sides was shown dramatically by the first ball in each innings. When Weybridge batted, Ben Curran, brother of Tom Curran who made his England Twenty20 debut a few days before at Taunton, fell first ball, leg before to Andy Delmont
When Reigate batted, Richie Oliver
hit Henry Turner’s first ball of the innings for six over the square leg boundary.
On a green-looking pitch Reigate’s opening bowlers Delmont and Will Hodson
looked as if they would pick up a second wicket at any time in the first few overs once Curran had gone, as the ball was swinging and moving off the pitch.
However Weybridge opener Harry Cripps and the side’s South African professional Sarel Erwee, both of whom have scored many runs against the Priory in the past, negotiated successfully those early overs to move the score from 14-1 after five overs to 51-1 off 11 overs.
Michael Burgess, playing his first game for the Llamas this season after being called up for first team cricket with Sussex, then took a good catch off Hodson to dismiss Erwee for 26 at 51-2.
The visitor’s number four, Oliver Mills, who scored a century against Reigate last year looked hopelessly out of form and It seemed only a question of time before either Hodson or Stevens, now taking over from Delmont, would put him out of his misery.
It was Stevens who did the honours, thanks to another Burgess catch as Mills departed for a nine-ball nought at 58-3.
Beaven brought himself on to bowl for the 21st over of the innings and with his sixth ball had Weybridge wicket-keeper Matthew Laidman leg before for 11 at 72-4.
Cripps and Thushara Managei put on 50 together before Cripps was caught by Murtagh at deep mid-on off Beaven for 58, the highest individual score of the game.
By now Beaven was in his second unbroken spell of 14 overs from the Pavilion End. As he wheeled away with his left-arm spinners from this end, Stevens and then Hodson joined him in partnership from the Blue Anchor End.
Aside from when Stevens had Tom Winslade leg before, the wicket-taking action was all from Beaven’s end.
Managei was bowled for 33, Brent Kay was caught at slip by Oliver and while Weybridge skipper and off-spinner Phillip Mann and Weybridge left-arm spinner Francois Vainker put on 26 together for the ninth wicket, it was Beaven again who had Vainker leg before and then bowled number eleven Turner to finish off the innings. That left Mann not out on 35 and Weybridge all out for 192 in the 59th over.
Reigate were given 61 overs in reply to get 193 which was a required run rate of only 3.16 an over.
Oliver’s first ball 6 and a total of 14 runs from the first over certainly was a statement of intent by the Reigate opener. However Oliver was stumped off Kay’s medium-paced bowling for 18 at 33-1 in the seventh over and Bradley Scriven
felt unlucky to be given out leg before for 22 at 56-2 in the 13th over.
With Burgess now coming in at number four, Reigate was playing with its strongest batting line-up of the season, batting down to Oli Hairs
at number seven or even Richard Stevens
at number eight, who sports an average of 91.00 thanks to a series of not out innings.
Burgess and Shoare batted well together in a 63-run stand over 13 overs before Burgess was stumped charging up the pitch against Vainker’s spin for a run a ball 30. When Shoare was out in the next over leg before to off-spinner Mann for a well-crafted 42 from 67 balls at 121-4 the atmosphere suddenly changed from an easy-going run chase to the threat of Weybridge’s spinners running through the remaining Priory batsmen.
Close fielders suddenly crowded the batsmen and their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as the batsmen defended against the spin made the going seem not only difficult but treacherous.
However the new pair batting together were Chris Murtagh
and Andy Delmont
, possibly the most experienced pair of batsmen in the league for such a situation, two batsmen who have put on many a tough stand together in the six seasons they have been playing together in all possible playing conditions.
Where Weybridge sniffed the possibility of an upset, Murtagh and Delmont knew they had all the time in the world (well, at least 35 overs) to score the required 72 runs for victory.
The partnership was not pretty – no 6’s and few 4’s (five between them) – but it was relentless. In the first five overs together they scored only 6 runs. Then a further 22 runs came in the next five and then 16 and 14 in the following two sets of five overs. It was slow going and towards the end there was even the hint of a missed stumping and a missed caught behind. But both batsmen rode their luck.
While Weybridge hoped their two spinners could do a ‘Beaven’ and grind out such batsmen it was Murtagh and Delmont who won the battle as they ground down the spinners until the 72 runs required for the win were finally reached at an average of just over three runs an over. The Priory reached the 193 target in the 49th over with slightly less than 12 overs to spare.
Both Murtagh and Delmont ended on 37 not out – Murtagh from 68 balls and Delmont from 73 balls.