Llamas off to winning start at Ashtead
By Larry the Llama
Opening day win for the Llamas
Reigate Priory’s bus trip home on Saturday was a good one as they got their 2019 Surrey Championship campaign of to a victorious start against Ashtead, despite a hard hitting 126 from Ashtead skipper David White.
Having lost the toss Richie Oliver’s team were asked to bat first in fairly damp conditions. Sam Hall got into his work early, and continued where he left off at the end of last season, playing positively and taking advantage of some of the short boundaries at Woodfield Lane. The experienced opening bowler John Vaughan-Davies had Bradley Scriven caught behind for just 4, claiming the first wicket of the season.
The Englishman, Andrew Delmont joined Hall at the crease and the pair had put on 62 before Delmont fell over and was well stumped by Hayden Storey for a patient 24 leaving the score on 86/2. Sussex batsman Michael Burgess joined Hall and looked in good touch from the off striking the ball cleaning with three 4’s and a towering six over mid-wicket.
Two quick wickets (Hall 59 & Burgess 26) meant Reigate were 127/4 with the game in the balance. However, a well-crafted partnership of 89 from Angus Dahl (39) and skipper Oliver put the llamas back in charge of the match. Oliver top scored for the visitors with 74 at a run a ball, batting in the unfamiliar position of number 6, with shots all-round the wicket. A late cameo from Richard Stevens (24 from 15 balls) enabled the visitors to post a competitive 273/7 from their allotted 50 overs.
In reply Oliver tuned to spin straight away in the form of the ever reliable Luke Beaven. This decision proved the right one, as Beaven had Storey bowled for just 1, and with Andy Delmont bowling tight overs at the other end, very quickly the rate got above 6 an over. However, Ashtead’s skipper had ideas of turning the game o n its head and started to attack. In a compelling half hour of cricket, his bat speed increased leading to fours, sixes, and some pretty comical dropped catches from the away team in the deep. Alongside Harri Aravinthan, Ashtead had reached 122/2 at the half way stage, and the home fans started to believe a victory was possible.
Reigate needed a breakthrough, and it came through Phil Munday’s leg spin. He had Arivinthan, the former Priory colt, stumped for 18 which led to another 3 quick wickets for the former Somerset leg spinner. However, White was still going strong and in between dismissals, the South African was finding the boundary at ease, and brought up a well-deserved century off just 88 balls including 6 sixes.
The defining moment in the match came when White, on 126, mistimed a pull shot off Stevens and was well caught in the deep by Matthew Hutcheon playing in his first match for the first XI. Wickets then tumbled and Ashtead were all out for 210 leaving them 63 short of Priory’s target. Beaven 3/20, and Munday 4/38 were the pick of the Priory bowlers.
Next week the llamas play their first home game of the season with Banstead the visitors who also had a winning start in round 1. A 12pm start with entrance free for all spectators.