A spectacular display of hitting by Reigate Priory’s wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Hall, who scored 72 in just 32 balls, saw Reigate brush aside Banstead at a canter on Saturday as the team ended its season in second place in the Surrey Championship Premier Division, 19 points behind its nemesis, Weybridge.
When Banstead won the toss and elected to bat, the wickets started to fall at regular intervals. Andrew Delmont, the club’s overseas player, given a rare outing with the ball, bowled opener George Willis for nought with his fifth ball and then bowled number three bat Shanaal Nathan in his fifth over to leave Banstead floundering at 23-2 in the ninth over.
Banstead were without their star all-rounder Thomas Lancefield (4th top run-scorer in the league with 691 runs at 53.15 and 8th leading wicket-taker with 32 wickets at 23.78). Skipper Dan Newton has matched Lancefield almost run for run this season with 601 runs at 42.93. But when Luke Beaven came on to bowl as first change after 12 overs, the left-arm spinner made an immediate impact with his third ball as Newton was caught by Michael Burgess for 21 at 35-3.
This brought in Neil Baker, Banstead’s wicket-keeper, who made a valiant effort to keep the Banstead middle order together.
After a brief partnership with Jack Richardson, out leg before to Beaven at 53-4, Baker was joined by Gareth Macaskill, Banstead’s overseas South African player, and the pair put on the largest partnership of the innings – 47 runs in just over 10 overs.
For the first time this season Priory all-rounder Angus Dahl was finally able to bowl a 10-over spell of leg spin after a nasty break to his right index finger in Australia earlier in the year.
Bowling in tandem firstly with Delmont and then Reigate’s other leg spinner and googly wizard Michael Munday, Dahl got an early reward by breaking up this 5th-wicket partnership between Baker and Macaskill as Burgess took his second catch of the innings to dismiss Macaskill for 23 at 100-5.
Baker and James Culff put on 32 before Baker, who had just survived a confident stumping appeal, was caught by Burgess once again, off Beaven for 51 in 82 balls at 132-6.
When James Culff was caught by keeper Hall off Dahl for 14 at 140-7 and Liam Head was superbly taken by Munday in the deep off Beaven for 8 at 149-8, Banstead’s innings looked to be drawing to a rapid close.
However Arsalan Abbas, a Banstead spinner, had other ideas and showed some effective lower order biffing by hitting 38 in 24 balls with four 4’s and two 6’s.
Both of his 6’s came within five balls of Beaven’s 10th and last over, denting what would otherwise have been figures of 4-34 to an eventual 4-46, still the best bowling figures of Priory’s bowlers on the day. Beaven’s four wickets meant he ended the season as the top wicket-taker in the league with 43 wickets, just pipping his colleague Munday who ended as the league’s second-best wicket-taker on 40 wickets for the season.
Next over, Delmont also took some tap from Abbas, going for 10 runs in three balls. But Delmont had the last laugh, nonetheless , when he had Abbas caught behind for 38 off the fourth ball of the over, giving the Australian his best bowling figures of the season of 3-36.
Dahl took 2-33 in his 10 overs, also his season’s best figures, as Banstead finished on 198-9 from their 50 overs of batting, a score that looked below par – and massively so, once Hall lit up the ground with his display of batting pyrotechnics.
Hall, a top schoolboy batsman in Surrey, has had a disappointing season so far with the Priory 1st XI. But he made up for that with an innings that took both Banstead bowlers and Reigate spectators by surprise.
After hitting seven runs in Luke Fisher’s first over, he proceeded to brutalise Macaskill’s bowling by hitting 14 runs from his first over and 22 runs from his second over – plundering the hapless South African for 36 runs in 12 balls, with six 4’s and two 6’s.
It was carnage along the lines of a Jason Roy spectacular. After just 27 balls in the innings, Hall went to 52 with a boundary (what else?) in just 22 balls faced at an overall score of 55-0. Richie Oliver, no slouch when it comes to rapid scoring, had managed only three runs from five balls in the same period.
For the 6th over, Newton turned to left-arm spinner Tyler Meyer and Hall promptly added a further two 6’s and a four before being caught off Meyer’s second over by James Culff for a final score of 72 in just 32 balls. He had hit 10 4’s and four 6’s, one of which caused tiles to clatter on the pavilion roof.
When Hall departed the score was 87-1 in only the 8th over of the innings.
In what was taking on an end of term light-headedness, first Bradley Scriven and then Michael Burgess looked to slog Meyer for more easy runs only to fall in exactly the same fashion – both caught by Newton at long off - Scriven for 0 in two balls and Burgess for 1 from three balls.
Thus 87-0 had become 97-3 in an innings less than 10 overs old.
But Oliver and new batsman Dahl formed a steady partnership together of 65 runs and while it looked to be slow motion batting after Hall, it was still at a rate of a run a ball and more importantly the partnership made sure that Reigate was going to reach the required target score.
Oliver reached his 50 in 40 balls, with six 4’s and two 6’s and when he was bowled by Abbas for 59 at 162-4 in the 19th over, only 37 more runs were needed for the win.
Murtagh came in to bat at number six, but looked out of touch before he was leg before to Banstead’s other left-arm spinner Liam Head for 5 at 179-5.
Ben Shoare tried to slog Head two balls later and was bowled, also at 179, but now for 6 wickets.
With one run needed for victory Dahl, who had played a major role in Reigate’s last 100 runs scored, was caught off Fisher’s bowling for 42 from 46 balls at 198-7.
Thus it was left to Beaven to hit the winning boundary and see the Priory home, winners by three wickets, a margin that made the game appear closer than it actually was.