The opening day of the Fullers Brewery Surrey County League season, on Saturday, coincided with the arrival of summer in Bushy Park, where Hampton Hill’s 1st XI took on Chaldon CMO in a thrilling encounter, ending in a last over defeat. Hill’s skipper, Tom Hampton, had every reason for optimism, following a successful winter and pre-season programme. The side included two newcomers, wicketkeeper Jack Baverstock and New Zealand import, Paddy Sullivan, as well as the returning Paul Metcalfe and Robbie Coates.
Hampton Hill won the toss and elected to field, Sullivan taking the new ball with James Robottom. The left-arm Kiwi bowled quickly but Chaldon’s opener, Sarwar, countered with some hard hitting. Three boundaries and a towering six were interspersed with several airshots and mishits in a frantic start to the match.
Order was restored when Sullivan bowled his first ball to the other opener, Abbas. He edged to the safe hands of James Newton-Savage at second slip for 4. Two wickets in two balls swung the match towards Hampton Hill, leaving the visitors 36-3. Sullivan, again, the bowler finding the edges and Baverstock and Newton-Savage the catchers.
Iqbal batted well for Chaldon, making 66 from 70 balls, assisted by Ijaz (15) and Faiyaz (20), but wickets fell steadily throughout the innings, Olly Fallows with three and James Newton-Savage unlucky to claim just one from a fine spell of off-spin. The innings closed in the 37th over with Sullivan picking up his fourth wicket.
Hill’s target of 174 looked well within reach, despite opener Jamie Sones offering no shot and being adjudged LBW for 4. Brothers Ollie and Tom Hampton shared a stand of 41 before Ollie was caught by wicketkeeper Iqbal for 10. Younger brother, Tom, batted patiently, waiting for the bad ball and partnerships of 37 with James Newton-Savage and 28 with Baverstock put the hosts in a good position at 120-5.
As in Chaldon’s innings, momentum shifted dramatically in the 38th over when Aqeel Arshad took two wickets in two balls to leave Hampton Hill 138-8. Olly Fallows joined Hampton and the total crept up to 165 before Fallows was bowled by Ijaz. This left the Hill needing nine runs from the last two overs with the last pair at the crease. Intelligent placement and good running saw the skipper on strike with four balls remaining and four runs required. Unfortunately he couldn’t complete the heroics and was LBW to Ijaz for a superb 91.
A disappointing start to the league season, but plenty of grounds for optimism as attention switches to next week’s away game at Southern Railway, Kenley and Selsdon, which may sound like three games but we are assured it will only be one.
The 1st XI progressed to the second round of the League Cup on Sunday when Ripley conceded, having been unable to raise a team