Merstham Cricket Club have made history in May, with girls teams
playing official league fixtures under the club's name for the
first time, at U14 and U11 levels.
Previously around the turn of this decade, girls fixtures had
been played for Merstham, friendlies against Lingfield and Caterham
when leagues were not accessible.
Now, after several years of hard work, girls teams are playing
league matches under the Merstham banner.
It matters not that the U14s were defeated in the Surrey Girls
Smash it League against Purley. What matters is that - just like
any of the youngsters who have started out and continued to
play for boys teams (which can contain girls) down the years
- they loved every minute.
A very close game ended with Purley Pipping Merstham to the
post. Merstham won the toss and elected to bat and eneded up
on 85 for 8. Orla Chavasse opened the batting with a composed
16 runs and Daisy Wicks kept her company at the other
Collins came in at number six and top scored with 19 to give the
innings some momentum. Merstham bowled really well with both
Orla and Annabel Jackson having great first overs.
Rianna Patel bowled the sixth over and managed to bowl the
opener and three balls later their other opener departed, run out
after some great fielding. Lottie Burnett was neat and tidy
behind the stumps and martialed the troops in the field well,
along with Orla.
The coaches were very proud of Merstham, who fought hard,
after their first ever game, which Purley won in the last
over by eight wickets.
The first ever league match at Merstham took place when the U11s
hosted both Horsley and Cranleigh on Sunday May 12 - again under
Smash IT league rules. They later played Epsom and Oxted in
three-way match days.
Players ages went down to seven years old and some looked
like seasoned players, some having attended Friday night training
at the club for the past few years and several having trained
through the winter with the club.
In the end honours were equal on Smashes but Epsom prevailed at
86 to 70 overall. None the less, the girls stepped up for their 4th
and final match of the fortnight against Oxted, with spirits and
ambition. Unfortunately, victory was to elude them but not before a
fine performance, with every player throwing themselves at the
challenge with gusto.
They ran Epsom tightest, losing by 12 runs and the players and
parents extend their thanks to those who have made it possible,
especially chairman and Friday night lead coach Richard Feist, plus
Nick Thomas, who has also coached the girls for the two
seasons building up to these first matches.
Then there is Ollie Martin for stepping up as umpire for both
fixtures and taking over coaching responsibilities on Friday, and
last but very much not least Rachel Hughes who has organised the
team and schedule and made these fixtures possible.
The U13 boys, meanwhile, had a fixture away at Chipstead. Flynn
McRobbie and Matt Gray opened and both started well, five off the
first over including Matt hitting a four.
This was followed swiftly with a great shot from Flynn. Although
not quite reaching the boundary, the pair ran three. Superb bowling
from Chipstead saw Matt bowled at 9-1 followed shortly
afterwards by Max Yates, LBW for a rare duck.
Michael Noad came in at four and straightaway hit a lovely
shot that was pulled in just short of the
boundary. However, his patience was soon rewarded with
four runs off his legs. Next out was Flynn, bowled with the score
on 23 from five overs.
Josh Kenny joined Michael against some tough bowling and
fielding and Merstham were soon 24-5,courtesy mainly of Chipstead's
Sam Flower who took four wickets for one run off three
overs. Undaunted, the pairing of Haider Salik and Jake Dean
launched a fabulous recovery.Haider was finally out after an
excellent 21 runs leaving the score 61-6 off 15 overs.
Dinuk Jayamanne and Jake took the score to 82-6 before Jake
was finally bowled (16 runs). The final over saw Dan hit a nice
bounday to finish Merstham’s innings at 87 for 7.
Merstham’s fielding challenged Chipstead and they were soon
looking on top with Michael’s solid wicket keeping and some
excellent bowling. Flynn took the first wicket, 19-1, and second
at 21-2. Haider bowled a maiden, then dismissed the remaining
Chipstead opener LBW; 28-3, and then another wicket; 28 for 4.
The seventh over saw Max keep Chipstead’s run rate low. Dinuk
bowled next, another succesful LBW appeal and a wicket, 30-5 before
he also saw off their Surrey player. It was 43 for 6 off 10
overs and Merstham seemed well on top.
However, just like Merstham, Chipstead made a strong recovery to
73-6 before a great catch from Josh off Haider’s bowling;
73-7. It was getting tight, 83 for 7 with five overs to go.
Then, off Matt’s bowling, Max takes an amazing one handed
catch but their umpire calls a no ball. With the scores level a
great ball from Max and a catch by Ishan.
There was just one more wicket needed but with Chipstead only
needing one more run it wasn’t to be.