Amid perhaps one of the most bonkers Ashes Test
matches, Merstham Cricket Club's first team had their own heroic
performance in their battle against their own dreaded scenario -
Opening batsman Ed Dawson, like Ben Stokes for
England, put in a back-to-the-wall innings of 70 as Merstham's
first team dug out another vital victory in their bid to stay in
the Surrey Championship.
Victory at Egham lifted them one place out of the
Division Five relegation zone after a magical opening innings.
Having elected to bat, Merstham were in trouble at not
only 28-4 and 60-6, but Dawson helped Merstham recover twice to
post 153, supported by Will Preston (13) Lithon Tarofder (11) and
Asim Jaffery (18).
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dawson was the eighth wicket to
fall, having taken his season's tally to 465, his best return in a
season since the 573 he accumulated in 2011.
In reply, Tarofder atoned for arriving an hour late
because of trouble on the M25 by demolishing Egham's top order to
28-5 by taking 4-19 in eight overs to take his season's tally to 30
and his Merstham total to 220.
Jaffrey took his season's tally to 33 before the
fireworks against the lower order took off.
After some brief resistance from the number seven,
Humayoon Nasir, with 3-22 from 9.2 overs and Bobby Sharp (2-16 off
four) cleaned up the tail with Egham 60 runs short.
Sharp's double included his 300th wicket for Merstham,
with a long hop to force a catch to Jaffrey, whose single wicket
took his own season tally to 33. Twice in recent seasons he has
After two wins, Merstham are out of the relegation
zone but only by four points, above Sinjungrammarians - whom they
host at Quality Street on Saturday, before travelling to the
runaway divisional leaders, Old Emanuel on the final day of the
While Merstham were taking a vital win at Egham, Old
Emanuel lost to Horsley & Send, who therefore remain above
Merstham, by just eight points.
Like England's attempts to wrestle the Ashes from
Australia, Merstham's win still gives them hope - of achieving
their own aims for the season.
The second team were defeated by five wickets against
Purley, who came to Quality Street determined to press their
outside chance of promotion.
They now sit 53 points above the seconds, but only one
place separates them in the table.
The hosts decided to bat, Jack Letts notching 34 and
Manish Patel 38, but the host could only manage 152 off 40.3
In reply, Harvey Jennings struck 99 before being run
out by Haseeb Qureshi, and Stephen Brennan on 32 was also run out,
as the visitors knocked off the target in 31.2 overs. Ameer Pasha
took 2-31 and Safyan Aslam 1-38.
Afsar Khan was the star of the show as the third team
kept their slim hopes of promotion alive with victory over bottom
club Old Emanuel, but with two games left are looking for Dulwich
to slip up significantly in order to make up the 35 point gap.
The teenager took 3-27 and scored 57 runs as the hosts
first bowled out their opponents for 134 in 42.5 overs before
scoring the runs in 28.1 overs for the loss of six wickets.
The game marked a return to action after a few years
in retirement of Chris Lowe, former committee member and father of
captain James, playing alongside another father and son, Alvin
Sathya and Sathya Premakumar.
Working alongside Khan opening the bowling was Chris
Clayson, who took 4-33, with Asher Syed taking too wickets near the
end of the innings.
Steve Duncan put in a fantastic effort in the reply to
help the scoring, notching 21.
There were several creditable performances -
collectively and individually - in the fourth team's defeat against
Wimbledon's fifth team.
On a good looking pitch, runs were nonetheless not
easy to come by against a variable opening attack that gave away a
lot of wides.
Even so, skipper Ian Lamont was looking for excuses to
give others a go after 13 overs, having made a steady start with
Kashif Noon who went on to top score with 27 and hold things
together as others came and went.
Unfortunately, after Lamont went at 33-1 only Harrish
Joseph (22) joined Noon of the top order in succeeding to score
runs, with Dilhan Jayamanne unlucky to be given out caught behind
off his pads.
It came down, once again, to the youngsters showing
the adults how it is done, with Luca Retter (9) and debutant James
Cripps (26 not out with some lovely strokes) putting on a fantastic
partnership of 24 near the end before Bill Ash was unlucky to be
given out, caught off a ball which looked high as Merstham
committed the cardinal sin of failing to use their overs, all out
for 119 after 34.2.
Nonetheless they defended that total for 28.2 overs
threw some tight bowling from Asif Akhtar (0-13 off 6.2 including
almost half those off the final over), Alex Reeves (0-17 off six),
Cripps (0-9 off two) and Joseph's initial spell. Unfortunately they
only took one wicket, however, Bill Ash eventually bowling Pervaise
Khan for 27.
What was impressive was Luca Retter's performance with
the gloves - he gave away just nine byes as a stand-in keeper - and
Michael Pitcher's textbook barrier fielding which saved at least
two dozen runs.