In-form Javed steers Merstham to first win

  • May 24, 2021
  • Ian Lamont

The third team reset after a wicket at the Ring

A spectacular display from returning batsman Noman Javed saw Merstham rediscover winning ways in a rain-affected Saturday 1st XI Surrey County League Premier Division fixture at home to Godalming.

Chasing a revised total of 134 from 27 overs, Javed blasted 65 from 48 deliveries in a 107-run unbeaten stand with in-form skipper Laurie Nicholson as Merstham won by seven wickets to kick-start their season following defeat in the first two games.

The game looked to be drifting away from The Magics as they slipped to 27-3 chasing an initial target of 205 from 45 overs.

Tricky conditions enabled the Godalming opening bowler Will Hern to pick up each of Merstham's top three cheaply, but it was captain Nicholson who came in to steady the ship with a characteristically stoic innings. He dug in with Javed and steered the team away from collapse. They had found themselves 60-3 at an inevitable rain delay, after which the required target was reduced. What followed ignited the spirit of all the on-lookers at Quality Street.

Javed, who has returned to the club after a two-year absence, used the freedom of the reduced-over format to free his arms and illustrate his talent, launching five sixes and four fours to all parts of the ground. Seven overs later, the game was finished - a final six bringing the team to victory with three overs to spare.

Earlier in the day, Godalming had put together a very competitive 204 on a typically slow early-season pitch that initially made runs hard to come by. Contributions of 32 and 33 from Nick Clarke and George Stow, respectively, complemented a well-constructed 69 not out from captain James Clarke, placing the West Surrey side in the ascendency at the midway point.

Their total, however, was limited by disciplined bowling spells from Humayoon Nasir (3-28) and new recruit Luke Saunders (1-20), who has impressed enormously in his debut season at Merstham.

Both sides now sit mid-table in the Surrey County League Premier Division and Merstham will be heading to Horley Cricket Club next Saturday in pursuit of back-to-back wins as they strive for immediate promotion back to the Surrey Championship. They will be hoping Javed is in a similar mood.

The second team won their match at Chessington, bowling out the opposition for 85. The thirds lost narrowly, by two wickets at The Ring. Setting a runs target of 170 wasn't quite enough, while Ameer Pasha stemmed the flow of runs late in the bowling with 3-14 off eight, two maidens to give the hosts every chance. The fourth XI were all out for 54 at Esher, a target knocked off in nine overs by their hosts.

The third team batting