Scriven and Hall's Record Partnership In Vain
A record 4th wicket partnership between Bradley Scriven and Sam Hall wasn't enough to stave off defeat over fellow title challengers Normandy
Paul Bridge writes...
Reigate Priory lost by five wickets to a young Normandy side Saturday, thereby also losing the top spot in the Surrey Championship Premier Division to Cranleigh with its win over Valley End.
Priory opener Brad Scriven batted eleven balls shy of the full 66-over innings for his 126 from a marathon 201 balls, forming a record-breaking fourth wicket partnership of 165 runs with Surrey Under-17 captain Sam Hall who made 81 in his first game for the Priory 1sts this season.
This partnership beat the stand of 152 against Malden Wanderers in 2003 between one-time Indian Test cricketer Sairaj Bahutule and Tim Murtagh, one time Llama now at Middlesex.
Despite such a partnership, however, Reigate had been playing catch-up cricket almost from the start as, losing the toss, the side found itself batting on a lively wicket where the ball was seaming noticeably making batting treacherous.
First ball of the innings Richie Oliver nicked the ball and Normandy all-rounder Nathan Sowter took the catch almost nonchalantly at second slip. It was a replay of last week’s game at the Priory when Weybridge’s Ben Curran was out leg before to Andy Delmont, also on the first ball of the game.
Four overs after Oliver was out, the same bowler – Alex Grimshaw – dispatched Ben Shoare, who nicked the ball to Sowter, again, who took the fast-moving catch with seeming ease at second slip.
With the score at 10-2 after five overs, Scriven and Chris Murtagh put their heads down trying to deal with the moving ball as runs became a secondary consideration. After another five overs, Reigate had added only five more runs to a score of 15-2 from 10 overs.
As the pitch dried out and the movement off the seam dwindled, Scriven and Murtagh pushed the score along to 31 when Murtagh was brilliantly caught and bowled by Dan Miles bowling from the scoreboard end, as the bowler grabbed the ball in his follow-through with his left hand, low down at ankle height, and managed to hold on to the ball as his body went into a tumble.
One hour gone and Reigate had lost three wickets for 31 runs in the first 15-and-a-half overs with Scriven 18 not out from 46 balls.
New batsman Sam Hall started confidently, scoring 35 of the first 50 runs of his partnership with Scriven in only 32 balls. Scriven, though, gradually caught up with Hall and when lunch was taken at 117-3 from 34 overs Scriven had 55 to Hall’s 47.
Shortly after lunch Normandy left-arm spinner Vignesh Venkateswaran began bowling in tandem with leg-spinner Sowter and almost immediately Hall at 52 not out was lucky to survive a stumping opportunity off Venkateswaran. But that and a close run out appeal 20 runs later were the only events that looked like troubling this pairing.
The 100-run partnership came up in 138 deliveries with Scriven and Hall contributing 49 and 50 runs respectively. And the 150-run partnership came up in 210 deliveries, Hall contributing 75 and Scriven 68.
When Hall was out at 196-4, it came as a something of a surprise, Hall being bowled by off-spin bowler Chris Jones. Hall had made 81 from 113 balls (a strike rate of 71.68) in a partnership of 165 that spanned 38.3 overs at a run rate of 4.31.
With Hall gone and with a potential 12 overs still to go, no other batsman was able to form any partnership with Scriven, who was on 98 not out from 176 balls.
Delmont made 2 before being run out in an unfortunate mix-up with Scriven. Stevens was stumped, also off Jones, as Stevens tried to hit the bowler for 6. Harry McInley did put on 23 with Scriven but his contribution of 4 came to end when he was bowled by Miles at 236-7.
With just under two overs to go, Scriven’s long innings came to a close when he was caught on the long-on boundary by Venkateswaran right in front of the pavilion off Miles’s bowling for his 126 off 201 balls. He had hit ten 4’s and two 6’s.
And just to show that Scriven’s wicket was no fluke, Beaven tried the same shot off Miles’s bowling three balls later to the same fielder in the same spot with the same result. Beaven had made 1.
A brief flourish by King before he was run out for 18 saw the Priory end on 260 all out from 66 overs, those last 12 overs yielding 64 runs.
When Normandy came out to bat needing 261 to win in 56 overs at 4.66 runs per over, the contrast with Reigate’s first 15 overs batting couldn’t have been greater.
Surrey 2nd XI batsman Oliver Batchelor and his cohort Will Harris, pasted the Llama opening attack. Delmont went for 16 runs in his first two overs, Hodson for 29 runs in his first four overs and Stevens for 17 in his first two overs – a total overall of 66 for no wickets in 8 overs when you add in an additional four byes.
Beaven came on to bowl in an effort to staunch the flow of runs and boke the partnership in his second over when Harris was leg before for 35 at 79-1.
But the damage was done with Normandy on 92-1 after 15.3 overs a far cry from Reigate’s 31-3 at the same juncture. Rather than needing 261 from 56 overs at 4.66 an over, Normandy now needed only 169 runs from 41 overs at 4.12 an over.
Stevens came back and had Jones leg before for 9, his 100th wicket for the club since making his debut in 2009. McInley came on to bowl and attempting his second ball fell over on his ankle, badly spraining it.
This was hardly fortuitous to see McInley having his ankle packed in ice as he waited for his parents to take him to hospital for an x-ray. But it did mean that Hodson came back to finish McInley’s aborted over and with his third ball Hodson had Sowter leg before for 8 at 122-3.
Next over, Hodson had the dangerous Batchelor superbly caught at slip by Oliver for 65 and at 123-4 Reigate’s hopes started to soar.But that wicket only brought together Normandy skipper Neal Prowse and Jayanth Ganapathy.
Prowse is the younger brother of Ian Prowse who was a stalwart in the Normandy first team from 2008 to 2016 when he went to join the Army.
Neal moved around a bit playing for Walton on Thames last year in Division One cricket. Since returning to Normandy, where he made his debut for the first team in 2011, Neal Prowse has been enjoying an Indian summer with over 400 runs to his credit and a batting average of over 100.
Ganapathy was in the side because Oscar Kolk was away, another Normandy batsman averaging over 100 this season (but Kolk has ‘only’ 300-plus runs to his name so far this year). Now in his fourth year at Normandy, Ganapathy averages close to 45 runs an innings this season.
Neal Prowse and Ganapathy played themselves in but gave little away. While Beaven rang the changes, the 50 partnership came up in 68 deliveries and the 100 partnership in 130 deliveries.
A difficult chance was put down off Beaven and Prowse was well caught by Beaven off Hodson for 68 from 85 balls at 258-5. But by then the game was effectively over and while Normandy had only one over and three balls left, the run chase had been well managed. Ganapathy was 63 not out from 105 balls at game’s end.
Normandy has a young side. The pace attack of Grimshaw, Pereira and Miles averages 21 years each between them. The spin attack of Venkateswaran, Sowter and Jones has an average age of 24 or so. When you consider some of these batsmen such as Batchelor, Harris, Welfare and the missing Kolk probably average only 21 years each between them, it’s easy to surmise that Normandy promises to be a club vying for top honours not only this year or next, but for the next five or 10 years, as these players gain experience together.
What says much about the club’s organisation is that of the players mentioned above, only Pereira, Venkateswaran and Sowter are relative new boys to the club, the remainder having learned their game through the Normandy Colts system.
After the game one Reigate batsman congratulated Scriven on what he said was possibly the longest innings ever played by a Reigate batsman in 1st XI league cricket, this innings lasting 201 balls. Going back through the Play Cricket records to 2006, no other Reigate batsman in 11 years has played an innings of greater length.
In July 2013 Murtagh made 110 against Spencer in 174 balls. In August 2008 Michael Foster scored 101 out of a total score of 209-8 for a winning draw away against Wimbledon. Foster faced 162 balls.
It should be said that while Scriven’s innings of 126 was made at a strike rate of 62.69, the other 10 Priory batsmen managed only 124 runs between them at a marginally higher collective strike rate of 63.59 and Hall made the lion’s share of those runs.