Llamas lacking bite
CHRIS Murtagh admitted Reigate Priory's bowling let them down as they suffered another defeat in the Premier Division to leave them 31 points behind leaders Banstead.
After a great start with the bat, Andy Delmont top-scoring with 75, the Llamas declared on 235-8, but it was a decision the captain was left to rue after Guildford amassed 236 runs with five wickets to spare.
"I felt the declaration was the right thing to do and if we had bowled a bit better after tea I think it would have paid off," Murtagh explained. "It has been a disappointing start to the season. We played quite well for large parts of the game on Saturday, but we weren't able to deliver our skills effectively towards the end of the day."
Against Guildford, Murtagh won the toss and elected to bat on what was a used surface.
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Llamas openers Andy Delmont and Jon Perkins got the home side off to a good start bringing the score to 38, before Perkins was trapped lbw off the bowling of Matthew Teale for 13.
Priory's overseas player Delmont was joined by Murtagh, and it was this pair that had broken the Llamas' partnership record the week before. Their good form continued at they took their side to 120-1 at lunch as they capitalised on anything loose from the Guildford attack.
After lunch Guildford turned to their spinners and it was the right move.
Delmont was eventually dismissed by left arm spinner Joe Pipkin for a well-made 75, and when Murtagh was caught on the deep cover boundary off the bowling of Chris Combs for 69 the visitors were back in the game at 191-3.
James Halton (0), Simon King (9), Neil Saker (1) and David Ramsden (14) all fell cheaply to the spin, but with the score on 235-8, Murtagh declared giving his bowlers 60 overs in the hope of taking ten wickets to win the match.
The Llamas started well with the ball with Neil Saker picking up the openers Alex Senn (22) and Harry Stephens (10). Will Hodson then got in on the act taking the wicket of Alex Nash, and when Richard Stevens had Robert Jones caught behind to a peach of a delivery, Guildford were rocking at 61-4 just before tea.
There was a further wicket for Hodson after tea when he claimed Tom Collins for 33 with the score on 118-5 and Priory were looking set for the victory.
However, Chris Thompson and Matthew Teale had other ideas. The pair rode their luck at times but both played outstanding innings helping the visitors to their victory target without any further wickets falling. Thompson was the real hero finishing on 101 not out in what was a match-winning hand. Teale gave him great support with an unbeaten 55 from 76 balls.
Priory struggled to keep the pressure on their opponents after tea serving up at least one bad ball an over.
It was a disappointing day for Priory who know they will have to bounce back against second to bottom Camberley this week.
"If we don't beat Camberley, I'm not answering my phone!" Murtagh joked of the tie. "We have been playing well but the results haven't been going the way we'd like. There's nothing we can do apart from pick ourselves up and pick the team up."