After a very impressive first season in Division 1 last season, ending 3rd, Esher’s goal this season was to challenge for the title and secure promotion. The season started poorly, however, with one victory from our first six fixtures leaving Esher very close to the bottom of the division.
In the seventh game of the season, Esher went to Valley End with a number of younger cricketers available, all champing at the bit to play men’s cricket and change the fortunes of the side. This youthfulness, athleticism and fight led to a complete turnaround and purple patch which led Esher to its successful promotion season. Esher went on a 7 wins, 1 winning draw and 1 rained out result run, climbing into 2nd place. The biggest credit was due to Esher’s impressive seam bowling attack of Andy McCallum, Tom Brown and Ruari Crichard who all helped in restricting the majority of opponents to sub-par starts. Freddie Harrison’s 12 wickets in 4 games, George Rowe’s 13 wickets @ 19.5 and Jim Steven’s 14 wickets @ 20-odd helped Esher spin through most sides’ batting line-ups, allowing the side to bowl teams out for modest targets, making life easier for the batters.
Eventually the purple patch had to come to an end and sadly, going into the last 3 games, Dulwich were out of reach. The next priority became securing promotion and from the last 3 games, 2 results were needed. A loss to Valley End in the return fixture put Esher under pressure going into Dorking away and fortunately with a young XI Esher were able to win there – and a result went Esher’s way, securing promotion for the side with a game to spare.
A few special batting mentions are necessary – Esher’s two key batsmen this season, Mark Hopkinson, with 548 runs @ 60.9 with 2 hundreds (125 vs Farnham away & 134 vs Dorking at home); and Tom Burnap, 430 runs @ 61.4 (113 vs Normandy at home) were extremely influential in the positive results throughout this season.
In conclusion, it was a successful season for our 2nd XI as well as the club as a whole, and with promotion Esher understand the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to competing and challenging ourselves in the Premier Division next season.
Huge thanks to Jess for scoring during the season and to the panel umpires for officiating.