What a summer it’s been.
Promotion for all three senior teams in the Travelbag Surrey Championship – two of them winning league titles – plus T20 success means there will be plenty of silverware to collect at the league dinner on October 19. And Guildford’s junior teams have once again made an impact, winning trophies and developing young players as they head towards senior cricket.
The new pavilion was opened in April – although there are some finishing touches still to apply – and a highly successful couple of weeks in June saw another excellent Beer Festival followed by big crowds witnessing Surrey hammer Somerset, who arrived as leaders and departed vanquished by an innings, Rory Burns’s team their way to claiming the Specsavers County Championship title for the first time since 2002.
That 80th anniversary Festival saw four graduates of Guildford’s Juniors – Rikki Clarke, Jade Dernbach, Ollie Pope and Will Jacks – included in the home side and, soon after, Ollie Pope made his England Test debut.
This newsletter looks back on the season and picks out some highlights while also including news from around the club.
A run of six straight victories took Guildford back into the Premier Division at first attempt, much to the delight of Tom Collins in his first season as captain.
Three defeats in five weeks in mid-season, following by a losing draw at Leatherhead, had left the promotion campaign very much in the balance. But wins over Valley End, Chipstead, Chessington, Farnham, Spencer and Camberley guaranteed promotion and it meant that five bonus points in the narrow defeat at home to Esher, who joined Guildford as runners-up, secured top spot.
There was no doubt about the star of the show – Nathan Tilley hit six centuries the final eight matches to finish with a remarkable 873 runs at 109 a time, which made him the highest scorer in Division One by more than 200 runs and third overall in the Surrey Championship – despite only playing 11 league matches, spending his early weeks turning out for Reed’s School.
He received excellent support from Alex Sweet (459 at 51) while Fred McMillan’s 399 and Joel Walker’s 333 included some vital early innings while the batting order was depleted.
Off-spinner Jonny Charles was the outstanding bowler, claiming 34 scalps at 20 in his first full season at first team level, holding together the attack. Duncan Selmes (23), Joe Pipkin (20) and Jamie Odell (16) all shone despite having to miss a number of matches and there were promising contributions from George Barlow and Freddie Geffen.
Captain Collins led the side with considerable flair, constantly chipping in with runs, wickets and fine catches and showing a selfless attitude which was an example to all his team-mates. With coach Jeremy Greaves, he is already working hard to ensure Guildford make an impact on the return to the Premier Division next season.
Guildford’s 2s made their own return to Premier Division level, finishing just three points behind a Sutton side who had looked completely uncatchable at one stage.
Three defeats in the first seven matches did not augur well but victory over Esher sparked a run of six wins in the time games, four of them bowling second, heading into the final five weeks in second spot.
Losing to Walton caused a wobble but the resilience of the side was shown with superb victories over Normandy at home and then Sutton away. Promotion was secured in beating Old Rutlishians in the penultimate game before a celebratory demolition of Esher in the final outing.
An experienced side, often captained by Chris Coombs, enjoyed batting strength thanks to a strong line-up led by Henry Straw’s remarkable 599 runs in just 10 innings plus important contributions from Matt Teale, Andy Parker, Adam Appleton and brothers Nick and Jonny French.
The wickets were shared around, Vikram Singh showing great consistency with 25 victims and Teale’s promising off-spin bagging 21 wickets.
Going up as champions of Division Two came as the result of an enjoyable campaign, which brought 12 wins from 18 games, losing just three of them.
Skipper Tim Walter, who moved from on-field to off-field maestro midway through the summer, reckons the strength of the top two teams was a major benefit and believes that seeing the 1s and 2s arriving from their own victories on the opening week of the season to watch their clubmates made a great impact.
Jaedyn Short and Jon Hedges led with the bat while Callum McLean, Jon Burrowes and Cameron Green were the outstanding bowlers, mixed in with many other fine contributions.
When the captain was sidelined a trinity the trinity of Jons – Hedges, French and Burrowes – conspired to maintain the pace.
James Telling and Sanjay Kher were invaluable as scorers.
There were three outings for the fourth team, two on a Saturday and one on a Sunday, Ahmed Hussain’s side going down after a hard fight on each occasion but the matches offering opportunities for young players to have a first taste of adult cricket.
A new first for Guildford came when Jack Cunningham led his side to the Surrey Championship T20 crown, collecting the Edwards Cup on finals day on a scorching midsummer day at Sunbury.
Wins over Worcester Park and Banstead on the Whitsun bank holiday and then a success against Ashtead had earned a place on finals day, albeit against the Premier Division frontrunners Reigate Priory.
Guildford’s 175-6 was built around openers Joel Walker (57) and Nathan Tilley (30) before Joe Pipkin (29) and Fred McMillan (34no) made vital late contributions. Freddie Geffen struck vital early blows by claiming a return catch off Richie Oliver – his coach at Tonbridge School – and bowling Chris Murtagh for nine, the rest of the attack backing him up well with fellow off-spinner Jonny Charles (3-23) and Tom Collins (1-17) particularly effective.
That set up a final against East Molesey, Tilley (34) and Walker (29) again launching the innings successfully. A dramatic collapse was halted by Collins (28), gaining vital support from Jamie Odell (10) before Guildford were bowled out for 132 in the final over.
Although Dominic Reed (32) made a dashing start to the reply, he was one of two victims for Geffen and fine back-up in the field – including three run outs, two by Oscar Martin – piled the pressure on Moles, who crumbled to 76 all out as Charles finished with 3-5 in three overs.
It was Guildford’s fourth victory over a Premier side in the competition and set up a trip to Horsham for the national competition’s area finals.
Sussex side Roffey, so often an obstacle in recent years, proved too strong in successfully defending 126-8, Tilley (41) and George Barlow (21) the main features in a reply which tailed off to 103 all out.
It was a moderate season for Guildford in the Surrey Trust League, the U21 Academy side finishing midway up Tier One Group One after four wins in eight games. Much entertaining cricket was played, though, with an excellent spirit shown throughout. The highlight of a truncated programme for the U18 Development side was Matty Stephenson’s unbeaten 134 in the home match against Camberley.
Guildford Thunder reached the final of the ECB Vitality T20 Surrey Cup. Spencer were beaten by three runs, Oscar Martin making 45 and James McMillan taking 4-30. Next came a semi-final thriller against Wimbledon, Matty Stephenson (47) and Oscar Martin (50) taking the side to 126-3 and Stephenson claiming 3-23 as the reply fell a run short. But in the final Cranleigh’s 148-8 proved way too many, earning them victory by 59 runs.
Matty Stephenson led from the front as Guildford won the Surrey Cricket Foundation’s Denis Jacobs Cup.
The captain made 50 out of 124-6 from 20 overs in the final against Oxted & Limpsfield, Tom Perceval’s 21 the next best. Then he claimed 2-14 in four overs, Harry Foster weighing in with 2-20 from three as O&L were restricted to 111-7, bringing victory by 13 runs. Banstead had been seen off by 77 runs in the quarter-final and East Molesey were the semi-final victims, beaten by six wickets.
That victory helped to compensate for a frustrating season in which oppositionteams conceded or cancelled far too many matches, much of the squad also featuring in the U19 side.
Guildford finished runners-up in the Surrey Premier league, level on points with champions East Molesey, who took the title on the head to head match. Semi-finalists in the cup as well, several squad members won overall junior awards. Best bowler was Aman Ashfaque with 30 wickets, Jared Robinson took the fielding award for his five catches and a run out in one match, as an outfielder, and Dylan Lawson was named newcomer-of-the-year. Altogether, the team performances exemplified their attitude, skills and enjoyment.
It was another highly successful season for the U12s, who took part in the West Surrey 30-over (Academy) and 20-over leagues.
Four players finished the in the top 10 for runs scored in the Academy League – Adam Thomas (averaging 76), Jacob Audley, Freddy Scott-Gall and Lucas Kher. William Lacey also scored a half-century. In all the U12 leagues, the leading scorer was Jacob Audley with 349 runs.
Three players finished in the top 15 for wickets – Kieran Finnegan (best in the whole league), Cameron Sim and Lucas Kher. Finnegan totalled 24 in both leagues to be top overall.
Guildford won 18 of the 22 matches played – an impressive 82% win rate – and took the T20 competition for the second year running. They were fourth in the highly competitive Academy league, the highlight a 10-wicket thrashing of Weybridge.
The final month of the season in the West Surrey League and Cup saw a defeat against Blackheath and another narrow reverse at the hands of Horsley & Send but were balanced by excellent victories over Cranleigh and Normandy.
To round off the summer there was match between the parents and lads, staged on the main square at Woodbridge Road thanks to groundsman Jonny Nolan. Although the elders batted well, they were outplayed by players who showed the progress they had made through the campaign.
Manager Nick Gooding was delighted by the efforts and help of both players and parents, with special mention of Heather Styche-Patel as scorer, working excellently with her husband cum umpire Manoj. Hard ball cricket cannot come soon enough.
A highly successful end-of-season awards night saw the club’s youngsters rewarded for their achievements this season.
Surrey Advertiser best cricketer: Freddie Geffen (U16); Fielder: Jared Robinson. (U15 – five catches and a run out v Bank of England); Bowler: Aman Ashfaque (U15). Batsmen (U14): Will Ayton and Ben Garrett – unbroken stand of 295 v Spencer, scoring 144no and 121no respectively). Best spinner: Shoaib Bashir (U14). Senior wicketkeeper: Ben Garrett (U14); Junior keeper: Max Towers (U12); Newcomer-of-the-year: Dylan Lawson (U15); Most improved player: Mia Gandhi (U10); Best senior Juniors all-rounder: Stefan van Biljon (U13); Junior all-rounder: Adam Thomas (U12). Pairs: Lorenzo Valducci & Nav Dubey (U9).
Age group awards – U8 coach’s award: Archie O’Donnell; U9 batsman: Navashen Dubey; Bowler: Ollie Gooding: Coach’s: Soham Datta; Player-of-the-year: Alex Styche-Patel. U10 batsman: Alex Jourdan; Bowler: Jonny Habgood; Coach’s: Luke Tearle. U11 batsman: Gian Smith; Bowler: Henry Callanan; Coach’s: Harrison Way. U12 Batting: Jacob Audle; Bowling: Kieran Finnegan; Coach’s: Cameron Sim. Clubman: Matthew Turner; Catcher: Dulain Jayakody; Newcomer: Niko Dahl; Playing up: Freddy Scott Gall. U13 batting: Matthew Bennett; Bowling: Lucas Kher; Coach’s: Dan Hitchcox; Fielder: George Brew; Newcomer: Stefan van Biljon. U14 batting: Ben Garrett; Bowling: Shoaib Bashir; Coach’s: George Negus. U15 batsman: Henry Turrell; Bowler: Aman Ashfaque; Coach’s: Harry James; Champagne moment: Lewis Hill making a century.
Once again the club were graced by wonderful weather for our cricket week, organiser Tim Walter clearly having a direct line upstairs, with all sections of the club joining in. The inaugural six-a-side on Tuesday was a particular success, much of it thanks to the good work of Jonny Charles, while the centrepiece of the week – the all-day match against The Wanderers – saw the home side go down by 37 runs after a hard-fought encounter. David Squires and his team provided ideal refreshments throughout.
Robert Charles and Rob Sweet
As many members will know, our chairman Robert Charles and treasurer Rob Sweet are standing down after distinguished spells in their respective posts.
Guildford president David Watts paid tribute to them: “Robert and Rob have done the club great service over the past decade. They have put in thousands of hours of unpaid work, which together have left us in a very strong position.
“Robert has been an outstanding chairman and will be greatly missed. He has been chairman through a tricky spell for the club during the building of the new pavilion, dealing with so many issues which have come out through that and a lot more.
“Rob’s stewardship of our finances has entailed a lot of specialist accountancy work and we owe to him the excellent financial position we now find ourselves.
“We are very lucky to have had two such dedicated servants, along with everyone else who give so much of their time to Guildford Cricket Club.”
Successors to the two amigos will be elected at the autumn general meeting, which is being held in the pavilion at Woodbridge Road on Thursday October 25 at 7pm.
The Kiwi contingent in the club will doubtless be in good voice on Saturday November 10 when England take on the All Blacks at Twickenham, kicking off at 3pm. So it’s an ideal chance for everyone to get together – whoever they support – at a pub in Guildford to watch, followed by an early evening curry. If you are keen please contact Tim Walter on 07882-054111 or email@example.com.
Guildford’s annual trip to the races comes on Saturday December 8 when we head to the prestigious Tingle Creek meeting at Sandown Park, which is easily reachable by car or on the train with Esher station next door. Tickets are £20 with Tim Walter the contact on 07882-054111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Event details
Club Sponsors, 2018