Banstead bag the early bragging rights
SURREY man Rory Burns was the difference between these two local rivals as Banstead beat Reigate Priory by 37 runs.
Burns' innings of 82 was by far the biggest total of the day, despite the Llamas having Jason Roy, Chris Murtagh, Neil Saker and Simon King among the batting order at Park Lane.
Banstead skipper Jak Martin won the toss and decided to bat first. A wayward first over from Toby Briggs ended with a bit of luck, as he tipped a straight drive from Burns on to the stumps to see Tom Lancefield short of his ground backing up.
Burns continued to play very watchfully, despatching any poor bowling by the Priory bowlers. Briggs returned from the Blue Anchor end and picked up Matt Spriegel (10) caught in the gully by Roy.
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Saker, at the other end, bowled a very economic seven over spell, conceding just 15 runs helped rein in the Banstead batsmen, and he was replaced by Richie Oliver who impressed with nine overs into the breeze.
King was introduced to the attack, and immediately got his reward as Alastair Turner swept him down to the safe hands of Richard Stevens, who made no mistake with the catch. Banstead were then reduced to 79-4, as Martin saw his off-stump removed by Oliver (1-35), resulting in a celebration by the bowler which the Priory will hope to be a regular occurrence.
Burns went on to a well deserved 50, as he pulled Stevens to the long square leg boundary, and with Richard Bedbrook, set about building a partnership to get Banstead to a defendable total. Bedbrook showed good attacking qualities, including a cover drive off Oliver which was shot of the day.
With the partnership on 68, Bedbrook (33 off 44 balls) chanced his arm off the slow left-arm spin of Andy Delmont, and was well caught by Briggs over his shoulder. Stevens bowled Dan Gale for one, to set the rot in.
Will Hodson returned to the attack and turned the momentum towards the Llamas by picking up 4-4 in two overs, including the final wicket of Burns – caught and bowled for an excellent 82, made off 131 deliveries. Banstead's total of 166 was going to be a challenging target.
Bedbrook picked up the first wicket of the Llama innings, having Delmont well caught at first slip by Gale. Roy came in, and showed his intent, with a massive six. However, next ball he was caught at mid off by his Surrey team-mate Spriegel, off the bowling of Anthony Caddy.
Murtagh followed shortly, after the introduction of Spriegel, and Priory's collapse continued as he was bowled by Gale for a well played 37.
At 62-4, the Llamas were still 105 runs from victory – however, with a batting order that went all the way down to 11, they were confident of taking the points.
The Banstead bowlers did well on a pitch offering some assistance. Jonathan Speller, held right back by Martin, picked up two wickets to make Priory's task even harder. First to go was Oliver, taken at slip by Bedbrook, and then Matt Bennett caught at square leg. Speller's spell of 2-12 off seven overs was pivotal. Saker was run out after some quick work from Burns, after a ball was squeezed between bat and pad, seeing Saker overbalance.
At 94-7, King decided that attack was the best way forward. Two massive sixes off Lancefield brought the crowd some entertainment, however Hodson ran himself out and then King (23) was stumped off Spriegel.
Stevens was the last man out caught on the mid-wicket boundary as Priory fell 37 runs short.
The Llamas have a massive fixture against last year's champions Wimbledon on Saturday (12.30), while Banstead travel to Malden Wanderers.
Before then, Priory were awarded a win in the first match of their Twenty20 campaign (due to be played today) after Dulwich could not raise a side.