Captain Laurie Nicholson’s Merstham took their first win of the
season on a historic day for the club - they fielded a fifth team
on a Saturday for the first time.
Ed Dawson led the way with 120 against Hampton Hill in
the Surrey Championship Division Five, finally falling as the
eighth wicket on 210. A partnership of nearly 100 with Simon Rivers
(37) was the most profitable partnership along the way.
When Dawon was out, his was the fifth wicket to fall
within 33 runs and the innings looked over before a ninth wicket
partnership of 60 between Mohsin Ali (25 not out) and Asim Jaffri
(35) ended on 270.
The final total of 274 always looked a challenge.
Hosts Hampton Hill were 89-4 after two wickets were lost on that
score, both to Humayoon Nasir, part of his 4-35 including a caught
and bowled. James Coggins took 2-45 and one each for Ali, Lithon
Tarofder and Jaffri restricted Hampton to 243-9 from their 50
Second team action against Cheam at Quality Street,
courtesy of Harry David
After winning the toss the second team asked Cheam to
bat first at Quality Street.
Merstham bowled well with notable performances from
Fraser Percival (3-26), Bobby Sharp (1-45) and Imran Khan (2-38).
Fielding was good and Merstham put pressure on the visitor to have
them six down with 80 on the board.
Their strong middle order batted sensible to post a
reachable target of 204 on a good track.
After a solid start with 60-1, Ali Pervaiz had to be
taken off injured and a collapse ensued to be bowled out for 100,
Arham Ali (17) and Finn Harris (18) top scoring. The batsmen let
the side down after an opportunity to beat the Surrey Championship
Division Four 2nd XI leaders.
Jack Letts (40) made a good opening start for the
thirds against Wimbledon, but lost partners regularly with Zee
Murtaza (12) and Asim Ashraf (28) doing their best to bulk out the
total, but Merstham were 128 all out after 33 overs.
The visitors knocked off the challenge in the 35th
over, five down, with first change bowler and captain James Lowe
eventually breaking the opening partnership and taking another
wicket for 2-21. Ashraf and Callum Letts took a wicket each - and
Sunny Bowry two catches.
The fourth XI were probably 20-30 runs short of a
winning total, bowled out for 174 at the end of the 36th over.
That was despite a masterclass in batting by Ashar
Syed, eventually caught for 111. The next best score was Anthony
In response, Afsar Khan opened with 1-7 and six
maidens in his eight overs, and Chris Clayson 0-16 off four before
succumbing to injury. Jawad Riaz (1-33) took a wicket and Tom
Chellis 2-41, plus George Corrie one before Cheam passed the total
after 35 overs.
The inaugural captain of the history men, the fifth
team, gave them the name of the Rocket Men - because all stars of
the future have to start at the bottom, just like some bloke called
Reg Dwight, about whose glistening career a film has been made and
is out this year.
Yes, this was the first time Merstham had fielded five
teams on a Saturday.
Urged to remember the occasion when they make it to
the top, a team heavily packed with youngsters and a few
experienced hands set about restricting hosts Dulwich 6th team.
Opening the bowling, teenager Ben Jones bowled some
firecrackers to rearrange woodwork among his 4-29 in which he also
had one caught by young keeper Brennan Calafato, off a batsman’s
scoop. Calafato kept very well, catching most things and conceding
just one bye.
At the other end, Harrish Joseph’s powerful seamers
resulted in two maidens in 0-22 off seven. New coach Alex Reeves
and regular Saturday teenager Matt Greaves bowled forcefully as
ever, and - on his Saturday debut - Ahmed Warraich took 2-32 (one
courtesy of a Satya Prumer flying catch on the square, proving one
Rocket Man could fly). Warraich also contributed a catch.
Stalwart Bill Ash struck a wicket, caught behind, for
1-19 as the hosts ran up 169-7 off 40 overs.
The score looked gettable, and skipper Ian Lamont (11)
and Prumer ticked over the early run rate and took advantage of
byes on a short boundary at one end. Prumer (3) unluckily played
onto his stumps when the ball dribbled on, past his block.
His son Alvin (4) looked set but was caught, Ash (5)
was bowled, Jones (9) played a steady innings beyond his years,
Calafato slapped a six straight down the ground - making the
biggest hitting in-road against an irritatingly unplayable slow
New face Joseph equalled the top score with 11 not out
in the tail. There were promising boundaries from him and several
of the youngsters, but the team were bowled out for 80.
With so many players wanting a game last weekend, yet
with so many still missing, there's no telling how soon the next
outing of the 5th team will come.
Merstham's first ever Saturday fifth team -
nicknamed the Rocketmen - played a friendly at Dulwich