Sutton CC opener Luke Smith has tipped Reigate Priory to be a contender for the Premier Division crown after finding himself on the wrong end of 55-run defeat last weekend.
Reigate top the table with four wins out of four, and Sutton could not stop the unbeaten run at Cheam Road on Saturday.
After electing to field, Sutton were punished by Reigate’s opener Richard Oliver (143) as the visitors racked up 260-8 in their allotted overs.
In reply, Smith was caught off former Kent and Surrey medium pacer Neil Saker for four, and only Russell Coombe (86) offered sustained resistance as Sutton were skittled for 205.
Smith said: “Reigate will be one of the strongest sides in the division. They have experience dotted throughout the side and are particularly strong with the bat.
“Richard Oliver held the innings together, and you could see his class. You can see them getting plenty of runs as the season goes on.
“They are fortunate to have played all four games this season, while a lot of teams, ourselves included have lost fixtures to the weather.”
Sutton lay fourth in the table, which Smith believes is as good as can be expected given the stop-start nature of the season.
Prior to the Reigate defeat, Sutton were denied a nailed on win over Spencer by the rain, beat last year’s runners up Weybridge and endured a washout at Wimbledon.
Smith said: “Saturday’s defeat was a bit of a set-back. Although the weather has been unkind, we played well against Spencer and Weybridge, and we were pleased with how things were going.
“Confidence is still high, and it will be interested to see how we fare against Valley End this weekend when the format changes to timed matches.
“It suits my style of batting better.
“A lot of batsmen in this division seem to go out hard for runs in the 50-over format, so how they adapt will be interesting.”
More runs: The Sutton bowlers, including an exasperated Sam Woods, toiled as the Reigate openers put on 94 for the first wicket