Horley cricket: Firsts fall short ... it's 'down Shep' for the seconds

In their last timed game of the Surrey County League Premier Division season, Horley’s 1st XI fell just short at ninth-placed Godalming, losing in the final over.

Horley elected to bat first on what looked like a batter-friendly track and Regan Derham and Anthony Puttick looked settled against the opening bowlers, but were both caught behind. Matt Ware (38), back after a week off, looked as though he’d not been away, and with the help of Ben Stewart (23) pushed the score up to 87 before Stewart slipped and was run out.

Ware fell soon after to Aaron Smallbone (2-57), leaving Horley in a bit of trouble at 99-4. Ben Davies (64) and Richard Waddington (27) consolidated, putting on a 63-run partnership with Davies being the aggressor. Once Waddington had fallen to Smallbone, Davies did most of the heavy lifting to push Horley up to a respectable total. Luke Smith and Will Taylor chipped in with some lower-order runs before both getting run out. Horley ended on 222-7 after 50 overs.

Godalming looked at ease in their reply despite a few early chances created by the spin of Adam Stephenson and Will Taylor’s pace. James Hern (32) and George Stow (51) did the early damage, taking advantage of the flat track. Horley skipper Charlie Robins (1-44) made the first breakthrough, claiming Hern with the score on 76. Nick Clarke (81 not out) picked up where Hern left off, scoring freely. Matt Puttick (1-37) made the next breakthrough in the 30th over, dismissing Stow, and with the score at 119-2, Godalming had 15 overs to score 104 to take the full 20 points.

Ant Puttick

Another partnership from Godalming, this time from Nick Clarke and James Clarke, was sapping Horley’s energy. Davies (2-52) tried to sway the game in their favour with his second spell late in the game and dismissed James Clarke and Max Mikhail (19), after a flurry of boundaries, leaving Godalming 195-4 with four overs remaining. The hosts got over the line with Nick Clarke hitting the winning runs with one ball to spare.

Horley stay third in the league despite the loss and they welcome fourth-placed Merrow to Horley Row next week as the league returns to its limited overs format.

* Horley 2nd XI slipped back down from second to third place in the Surrey County League 2nd XI Division One after losing by four wickets to top-of-the-table Shepperton.

Harry Grimwood was the top-scorer in Horley’s innings of 172 all out (44.2 overs) as he made 38. Opening partner and captain Andrew Thomas was just behind on 36 and Aryan Patel made 32 but Horley didn’t properly capitalise on an opening stand of 70. Shepperton have the strongest bowling attack in the league and stopped Horley from scoring as freely as they needed to.

Action at the Horley juniors' fun night

Shepperton played steadily in reply, knowing they had a good chance of matching Horley’s total in their 45 overs. The opening bowlers were unable to prise anyone out, and it was spinners who took the first four wickets, Trevor Stevens breaking through first, followed by Thomas taking two and under-14s bowler Khyan Patel one on his 2nd XI league debut, well caught by Khurram Jalil on the boundary in front of the clubhouse.

Chris Cosham and Christian Kelly chipped in with a wicket each when Shepperton were already within ten runs of their victory target and the visitors reached 173-6 with 3.5 overs in hand.

Andrew Reid took three catches behind the stumps.

The defeat brought to an end Horley’s run of eight consecutive league wins. Their bid for promotion will be effectively decided on Saturday 6 August when they travel to second-placed Croydon, who are their main rivals to claim one of the two promotion spots, with Shepperton out in front at the top of the table.

* Horley’s Third XI hosted Kerala Strikers in a friendly, giving both teams a chance to try some new players. Horley elected to bowl on a very green wicket and opening bowler Stewart Warren picked up a three-wicket maiden in the fifth over, making inroads into the Strikers’ top order.

In hindsight it looked like the Strikers may have reversed their batting order as at drinks, the travelling side were 156-3.

Horley’s substitute skipper for the day Dirk Douglas made a great adjustment and decided to attack the next 20 overs with spin and allow the colts in the team to express themselves. Over the next 13 overs Horley’s attack took to the task, helped by some fine catches, and the Strikers ended on 229 all out.

Horley’s reply started in great form with an opening partnership of 83 courtesy of Rob Rigby (60) and colt Oscar Hofmann (23) before Hofmann fell to a very quick straight delivery. From there Horley lost wickets at regular intervals and fell just short at 200-9 for their 40 overs.

Special mention goes to all the colts who played, as they all added to the game, be that with bat or ball.

* Horley’s Development XI are closing in on a place in the Surrey Trust League Tier Two final after coasting to a six-wicket win over Hampton Wick Royal on Sunday.

These two sides met in last year’s semi-final, which Horley won, but this rematch was nothing like the tense contest of 2021. Hampton Wick came to Horley Row having already lost two matches in this year’s competition and so were lacking fire and passion.

Horley put the visitors in and their openers made a decent start and were 36-0 after seven overs. Aidan Spalding then held a tricky low catch off Luke Smith to dismiss Mo Ahmed and two overs later Harry Grimwood combined with Ant Puttick to run out Jivraj Singh and Hampton Wick were 46-2.

Ben Stewart held a skied catch off Alex Field to take the next wicket but the visitors recovered and were 111-3 at the end of the 23rd over.

The teenage spin twins, Will Hofmann and Spalding, were plying their trade together by then and Smith helped Hofmann strike a crucial blow, taking a good catch off the bowling of his under-15s team-mate to dismiss Hampton Wick’s strongest batter, Keerat Khaira.

From there, the visitors collapsed to 137 all out from 31.2 overs. Spalding took two wickets for 26, one caught by Field and the second clean bowled, Hofmann (3-34) also picked up two more, one stumped by Puttick and the other caught-and-bowled, and Ben Davies helped mop up the tail with two clean bowled wickets.

Horley cruised through the reply, helped by an opening partnership of 51 from Puttick and Harry Grimwood. When the latter fell for 24, Ryan Bunn joined Puttick and launched a six into the car park with one bounce in the beer garden on the way, but he was soon out, caught for ten.

Puttick went on to make his 50, including seven fours and a six, before being caught and after Stewart was run out for 14, Andrew Reid and Davies saw Horley home, reaching 139-4 in 24.3 overs.

Horley have two group matches to play and need to keep winning to remain on course for the final.

Junior fun night

The sun shone on Horley Cricket Club’s Junior Fun Night at their Horley Row ground. There was a great turnout from children from the club’s thriving colts’ section, plus their parents and families, and the evening was a great success.

Horley’s young players had loads of fun, gladiator duelling, being dunked, splashing about on the giant water slide, trying out archery and catapults, throwing sponges at the adult players and taking part in the ‘Big Catch’ competition.

The event raised more than £1,400 which will be put towards new equipment at the club.

A big thank you goes to everyone who supported the event: Specsavers, Cuts ‘n’ Clippers, Tesco, Waitrose, Mitchells and new sponsor Langshott Landscapes.