Richie Leads Llamas Home
By Larry the Llama
Llamas stay top despite wobble
On Derby Day at a roasting Park Lane, bookies’ favourites Reigate Priory maintained their season’s unbeaten record in defeating newly promoted Esher. Set to chase a modest 153 in their 50 overs, Priory lost early wickets and found themselves at a semi-precarious 77-5 before old stagers Andy Delmont and skipper Richie Oliver, at a canter rather than a gallop, calmed any jitters in the home dressing room. Delmont reached a dogged half-century before falling at the last hurdle, leaving it to Oliver to carry his side past the winning post.
Earlier, Esher’s Malcolm Lake and Mark Hopkinson, impressed with a run-a-ball 50 opening stand before Reece Topley stepped in to put a brake on proceedings. The tall left arm seamer, together with veteran Will Hodson, who by now had discovered his length and line, began to make inroads, picking up a couple of wickets each. The innings’ momentum was lost - an ideal scenario for spin twins Michael Munday and Luke Beaven to exert further pressure and induce errors. Munday was the one to benefit this week as he picked up three wickets. The Llamas were looking lively in the field - Sam Hall pulled off a couple of smart stumpings and two direct hit run outs, courtesy of Chris Murtagh and a swallow diving Oliver, put a gloss on proceedings.
A final score of 152 had seemed some way below par, but Priory made heavy weather of the chase. Hall departed early to a spectacular slip catch by Malcom Lake, Murtagh, in his eagerness to get things moving, found himself mid pitch on his backside in attempting a third run, while Bradley Scriven, Jake Lehmann and Angus Dahl all fell relatively cheaply. Esher bowled tidily but never had quite enough runs to play with. Toward the end, Delmont and Oliver began to open their shoulders, the latter keen to show off an array of sweeps as demonstrated in his recent club masterclasses.
Next Saturday sees the start of the 120-over games with a home match against Guildford, starting at 11.00. Let’s see if the table-topping Llamas can maintain their early season form in the longer games to come.