Merstham’s first and second teams both secured their places in their current divisions at the weekend, staving off the threat of relegation with victories.
The club’s first team, in their first season in the Surrey Championship Division Five, won at Merrow.
They chose to bat, having done so in the title decider between the sides in last year’s Fuller’s League Premier Division.
This time they had to overcome a nightmare start to their innings, when they were reduced to 11-3 from just seven overs, losing three wickets within three balls.
However, they recovered to set a total of 183 in 42 overs thanks to a couple of stronger partnerships.
The first was an excellent 89-run pairing between Noman Javed, who struck a 61-ball 66 in a counter-attacking innings, and Assad Naeem (28) before the latter was caught. Javed soon followed prompting a mini collapse as the visitors limped to 120-8.
Then Razi Khan (12) and Imran Khan made 49 for the ninth wicket, while Asim Jafferi (7) helped push the score to a half-decent total with Khan running out of partners on 41 not out at the end. Striking at more than a run a ball (he faced 34) Khan took the initiative away from the Guildford side.
Setting a target of just short of the 200 they wanted, Andy Rivers’ men began bowling where they left off at Farncombe, whom they defeated last week. They took wickets regularly and Merrow skipper Andrew Kemble batted well for an unbeaten 30 but ran out of partners.
Javed and Naeem took wickets early on and then Razi Khan, the league’s third highest wicket taker, took 4-15 from eight overs including a caught and bowled. Asim Jafferi blew out the tail with his pace as Merrow succumbed on 108 after 38 overs.
With news filtering through that second bottom Battersea lost, Merstham celebrated retaining their championship status and, with two home games left, can target finishing sixth or seventh.
The second team, led by club captain Richard Feist, also suffered a bad start, having been put in to bat by visitors Ripley, but recovered to win by 39 runs.
They lost a wicket with just a run scored, and another with the score on 14, and Kunresh Patel was run out for 24 with the score at 39-3. Jason Drewett then proved a steady hand with 65 before bowing out with the total at 145-6, having shared a 65 partnership with Nav Saeed (20) and then Feist. Merstham managed 164 from 48.5 overs.
Ripley made a decent start, running up 72 for the loss of just two wickets but then fifth bowler Jack Letts began to tighten the noose, having the opener caught by Saeed for 24 on the bowler’s way to 4-27. Zohaib Shahid also took 2-19 from his 10 overs. Struan Clark took the last wicket as the visitors lost three wickets on 115, their total all out after 43.4 overs.
The third and fourth teams both lost to Addiscombe’s respective XIs. The third team, away from home, scored 163-9. Mohsin Ali opened with 20, but the best partnership was a 52 between Arham Ali (29) and Rob Harris (35) for the fifth wicket.
Unfortunately, while Omar Shuja and Anthony Maplesden, plus a run out by Finn Harris, reduced the hosts to 26-3 in reply, a partnership of 96 for the next wicket took the game away from Merstham. Rob Harris eventually broke the resistance and finished with 2-35 as Addiscombe knocked off the runs five wickets down, after 38 overs.
The fourth team restricted Addiscombe’s 4s to 169-8 at The Ring, but were then bowled for 95.
Bill Ash took 5-32 from nine overs, three victims caught – two by Steve Duncan and one by Kashif Noon. Joe Rees-Davies bowled the danger man Jack Southwell, but for 46 while Muhammed Junja and Tony Rickards took the other wickets.
In reply, three wickets fell quickly for Merstham, before Conor Arnold (18) and Rees-Davies (18) gave the hosts hope. However, Sam Turner was the only other player to reach double figures, with a top scoring 22 as Merstham’s resistance lasted just 32.3 overs.
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