Saturday, 26 May 2012

Bears complete 5 wicket win

Warwickshire have beaten Surrey by 5 wickets in the LVCC Division One match at the Kia Oval, after knocking off the required runs within half an hour this morning.

It didn’t take long for Ambrose and Clarke to get the runs, as our bowlers didn’t really pose any further problems. Ambrose’s innings was superb, hardly offering us a chance over the 154 balls he was at the crease for his unbeaten 89.

So, a disappointing result for us again in the Championship, and after restricting them to 37-4 yesterday, it is even more disappointing that we couldn’t complete the victory. Our first day performance once again let us down, as it has in nearly every game this season so far, and this time we weren’t allowed to get away with it, against a superior Warwickshire team. Only one of our batsman reached a half century in the match, compared to 3 from the visitors, on a pitch that didn’t look too difficult to bat on.

Credit must go to the bowlers, who did a remarkable job to reduce Warwickshire to 247 in the first innings, but that just overshadowed how bad we batted. Davies and RHB both got inexcusably run out in the first innings, and the 2 South Africans, de Bruyn and Rudolph, both look in poor form, and put it this way, I’m not too disappointed that Rudolph has played his final game for us.

Batty obviously comes out of the game with massive credit, claiming only his second 10fer in his career, and first for Surrey. The seamers found it tough on that pitch, and in particular Jon Lewis, who failed to claim a wicket in the match for the first time in the LVCC this season. In fact, all the seamers in the match failed to make a big impact, apart from in our first innings, where loose shots and the odd good delivery gave Wright, Woakes and co 8 wickets between them.

We are 5th in the table, but likely to drop down to 6th as Sussex are currently doing well against Nottinghamshire, with 53 points, a massive 47 behind Warwickshire at the top, who also have a game in hand.

We now turn our attention back to the CB40, after a week’s break, against the Welsh Dragons at the Swalec Stadium next weekend. We will be looking to make it 4 out of 4 in the competition, and a certain Murali Kartik could well be involved.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bears closing in despite Batty's 10

Warwickshire are closing in on victory in the LVCC Division One match against Surrey at the Kia Oval, largely thanks to a hundred partnership between William Porterfield and Tim Ambrose. They will require a further 41 tomorrow morning, with 5 second innings wickets left.

The morning started with the game in the balance, with Rudolph and Maynard looking to build a competitive lead, and Warwickshire looking to remove one or both of the overnight batsman early. And it was the visitors who made the perfect start, when Maynard was caught at silly point in the second over of the day, and Rudolph was bowled not long after by a good ball from Jeetan Patel. It was Rudolph’s last innings for Surrey, and he hasn’t been at his best, scoring just 229 runs at and average of 22.90.

Batty then looked to hit Patel over the top, but could only find Woakes at mid-wicket and went for 0. A poor shot from Batty, and we had fallen to 165-7 with a lead of just 140. Warwickshire would have been looking to wrap the innings up quickly but Jordan and Lewis had other ideas, as the pair batted sensibly to get the lead up to some respectability. Lewis was holding back a bit from his usual type of innings, but still found the boundary off the bad balls, and Jordan played a watchful innings looking to hold the whole thing together.

On 31, Lewis looked to work Patel over the leg side but found Porterfield and the partnership had been broken. It had been worth 54, and was vital to give Surrey any sort of chance when they had their turn to bowl later. Jordan was taking Surrey towards lunch 8 down, but in the last over before the break, he was trapped in front by Patel for 40, the New Zealander’s 6th wicket. He has had his critics but it was a gutsy innings from Jordan, and if he had got out for next to nothing, then the lead wouldn’t of got anywhere near 200.

And the innings was completed when Woakes bowled Dernbach with a yorker, as he looked to launch the England bowler down the ground. Surrey all out for 245, and Warwickshire had 222 to get.

Jade Dernbach got Surrey off to a fantastic start, when on the 5th ball of the innings, he trapped Chopra in front without scoring. A big wicket, considering how well he played in the first innings. The bowlers stopped the Warwickshire batsman from getting off to a quick start, with Dernbach and Lewis applying firm pressure. And the pressure proved dividends, as Batty was introduced into the attack, and made an immediate impact, having Westwood caught fantastically by Maynard at slip.

In his very next over, Batty had Troughton LBW as the opposition’s skipper looked to sweep and missed. And the off spinner had his 9th in the game, when Maddy looked to launch him down the ground but struck it back at the bowler, who held onto a sharp catch. Warwickshire 37-4. However, Ambrose and Porterfield got together and started to build a partnership that could prove to be match winning.

They took their side to the tea break 4 down for 82, requiring a further 140 for victory. RHB opened up with himself after the tea break, but didn’t cause many alarms, apart from a stumping appeal which was turned down by umpire Milns. Whatever Surrey chucked at the batsman, they had an answer for it, looking at relative comfort at the crease, showing that if you can get in on this pitch, run scoring is pretty easy.

Batty was working hard from the Pavilion and eventually had further success, when he trapped Porterfield LBW for 66, to claim his 10th wicket in the match. It was his first 10fer for Surrey, and even though it may be in a losing cause, it is a heck of an effort. The seamers were rotating from the Vauxhall end but RHB surprisingly held Meaker back after the tea interval, but with the wicket of Porterfield, he was brought on.

However, the Porterfield wicket was the last of the day as not even Meaker could dismiss Clarke or Ambrose, who took their side to the close on 181-5, requiring a further 41 to win.

A very disappointing end to the day then, as at 37-4, we were firm favourites to win the game. However, our batting has let us down again, and not just in 1 innings, but in both. Davies, de Bruyn, Rudolph, RHB and Maynard all failed to reach a half century, on a pitch that looked good to bat on if you could get in. Massive credit to Gareth Batty though, as he always work extremely hard on his game, and often comes up with a big wicket or two, so deserves his current match figures of 10-129.

The way Ambrose and Clarke were playing, it seems that they will knock the runs over comfortably tomorrow, but you never know, and if Batty could nip one or two early, then it will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Batty leads fightback on Day 2

Surrey have fought back on day two of the LVCC Division One match against Warwickshire at the Kia Oval, thanks largely to 6 wickets from Gareth Batty, and a quickfire half century from Jason Roy.

Surrey started the morning firmly on the back foot, with the visitors trailing by just 117 runs and still with 9 first innings wickets in hand. After a slow but solid start, Gareth Batty made the breakthrough, when he had Westwood caught at slip half an hour into the day. Troughton was the next man to go, when he played on to a Meaker yorker in the seamer’s first over of the day. And a wonderful first hour was completed, when Batty bowled Chopra for 78, who before this looked set for a big score.

Warwickshire had slipped to 144-4, but the job was far from over for the Surrey bowlers, as the 2 former England batsman Maddy and Ambrose frustrated our attack, and took their side to lunch 4 down for 182.

Straight after the break though, Meaker picked up his second, when he trapped Maddy plumb in front. Warwickshire claimed their first batting point 5 wickets down, but a flurry of wickets made it their only batting point. The skipper brought himself into the attack, and bowled Ambrose for 33, and in the very next over, Rikki Clarke was trapped in front by Batty.

Batty then had Barker stumped and Patel caught and bowled to claim his first fifer of the season. The Yorkshireman finished off the innings, by having Wright caught by Roy, and Warwickshire were all out for 247, a lead of 25. A fantastic session in which 6 wickets fell for just 65 runs and Batty claimed brilliant figures of 6-73. Davies and Roy took Surrey to tea unbeaten on 35, a lead of 10.

However, straight after the break, Surrey lost their first when Davies was strangled down the leg side off Barker and went for 14. Roy didn’t stop accelerating though, as he launched Jeetan Patel into the Pavilion for 6 to bring up his 1000th First Class run. He soon brought up his first fifty in all competitions this season, which had come up just shy of a run a ball.

Roy and de Bruyn took Surrey’s lead past 50, and their own partnership past 50. However, the ball after the latter milestone was brought up, de Bruyn was trapped in front for 16 by Maddy, to continue his run drought.

Roy was the next man to go, as he whipped Rikki Clarke straight to Maddy at short mid wicket, and went for 71. A good innings from Roy, but a shame that he couldn’t make a bigger contribution, as we have seen how difficult it has been to settle on this pitch.

The skipper quickly came and went for 1, as Patel got one to bounce on RHB and was caught behind. It was the first time he hasn’t scored at least 50 in a second innings this season in the LVCC. We had lost 3 wickets for 20, and the visitors had regained a firm hold on the game.

Maynard and Rudolph played sensibly to rebuild the innings, knowing that another wicket could lead to a further collapse tonight. The pair did a very good job, taking us to stumps at 144-4, and a lead of 120.

Overall, a good day for Surrey then, but it was disappointing to see de Bruyn, Roy and RHB go in quick succession. If we could have made it to the close perhaps only 2 or 3 down, then we would be favourites going into the third day. However, it wasn’t to be, and if Warwickshire can nip a couple early tomorrow morning, they will look to wrap the win up sometime in the afternoon. But, if Maynard and Rudolph can somehow get the lead over 200 together, then we will have a real chance of completing our second victory of the season, on a deteriorating pitch.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Warwickshire on top as batsman falter

Warwickshire have dominated the opening day of the LVCC Division One match at the Kia Oval, after bowling Surrey out for 223, and finishing the day just 1 down for 106.

Rory Hamilton-Brown won the toss, and without hesitation elected to bat first on a glorious summer’s day. As expected, the team was the same from the draw to Somerset, apart from Jade Dernbach coming in for George Edwards. Like in the second innings of that game, Jason Roy opened up with Steve Davies, and the pair started brilliantly, going at over 7 an over at one point. However, the runs stymied a little, and has he has done a lot this season, Roy went for 21 after making a positive start.

Zander de Bruyn came in at 3 and carried on from where Roy left off, batting uncharacteristically attacking on what looked a very good pitch. However, former Surrey man Rikki Clarke removed de Bruyn on 16, caught by Wright. Davies had looked good for his 34, but Rudolph sent him back after he had set off for a single, and Ambrose run him out to leave Surrey 84-3. The runs were still coming at a rapid pace, and the skipper and Rudolph took their side to the break 134-3.

Disaster struck straight after the interval though, as Rudolph was caught behind for just 19, and then there was a second run out of the innings, when RHB went for 34. There was never a single available, and Maynard at the other end didn’t budge. A suicidal run from the skipper. Chris Jordan, once again picked by Adams, then went without scoring and Surrey were 142-6, and in big danger of getting a massively below par score.

Gareth Batty was the next man to go, when Woakes got one to nip back at him and trap him LBW for 6. Maynard and Lewis then put on a partnership to take Surrey to their first and only batting point. However, the Welshman was the next to go, when he drove at Barker and was caught behind for 39. Chris Wright finished off the innings, removing Lewis for 37, before getting Dernbach caught behind without scoring. Surrey all out for 223, and a very disappointing batting performance, on a pitch that looked very good.

Our bowlers needed to get off to a good start, and they did, by restricting the Warwickshire batsman to less than 2 an over. The pressure proved dividends as Ian Westwood drove at Dernbach and Batty took a sharp catch at first slip. Meaker was then introduced into the attack, but after a couple of tight overs, the batsman began to score more freely and brought up the team’s fifty with just 1 wicket down.

Jordan, Batty and even an over from Hamilton-Brown tried but didn’t succeed as the wicket of Westwood was the only wicket the visitors lost in the 35 overs they faced this evening, as they closed on 106-1, trailing by just 117.

A very disappointing day then, and a missed opportunity, after winning the toss and batting on a pitch which looked very good to bat on, as Warwickshire showed this evening. They did show why they were top of the table at some points today, but too many of the wickets were thrown away needlessly, most notably the two run outs. RHB once again couldn’t get a notable score in the first innings of a match, and Roy, Davies and de Bruyn couldn’t kick on from promising starts.

To have any chance of victory, we will need to reduce them to less than 300, and hope that, as we have done a lot this season already, perform better in the second innings. However, that won’t be easy, as Chopra and Porterfield looked very comfortable at the crease, but Gareth Batty did manage to get some turn in the overs he bowled, which gives us some belief.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Unchanged squad named before Rudolph departs

Chris Adams has named the same 13 man squad from last week’s draw against Somerset, for the visit of the LVCC Division One leaders Warwickshire to the Kia Oval.

Jacques Rudolph will be looking to go out with a bang, as it will be his last game in a Surrey shirt. The South African opener hasn’t impressed as much as he, and Surrey fans, would have wanted since the start of the season. He has scored 188 runs at an average of less than 23 in the Championship, and has only gone past the 50 mark once. He did register a fifty in his only CB40 game, a 69 in tough conditions up in Edinburgh. I would like to wish Jacques all the best for the future, and lets hope he can get a score of substance this week.

George Edwards has once again been named in the squad, but it is likely that he will be left out of the starting X1, with Jade Dernbach the man replacing him. Tim Linley is vying for a starting place, after playing just 2 games so far this season, and he may come in for Jon Lewis, who at 36, must be tired after being the only seamer to play every game this season. However, it’s a massive game, and Lewis has bowled, and batted, superbly in the Championship this season, so I would expect to see him in the starting X1.

Chris Jordan has once again been named in the squad, even though he has been in poor form with both bat and ball. Linley may come in for him, which means Batty, Meaker, Lewis would bat at 7,8,9, which wouldn’t be a bad thing, as Batty looked in good nick last week, and Jordan is lacking confidence with his batting, and at the moment, isn’t adding anything at number 7.

Stuart Meaker will look to carry on his wonderful form, after picking up 11 wickets against Somerset, including a career best 8-52. Johnny Barran described Meaker’s second innings performance as the best he had seen by a seamer in the 5 years he has been commentating for the BBC. England selectors would have noted what Meaker has done, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the ODI squads again this summer.

Jason Roy will once again bat at 3, as Mark Ramprakash is playing for the second X1 this week in Wimbledon. Ramps hit a half century at the weekend for Stanmore CC, and I feel any time in the middle for him is vital. Roy will be looking to cement a place in the side, to stop Ramps from coming back in. However, he hasn’t been in the greatest form this season, getting starts, but failing to register a half century in any competition so far. With Rudolph leaving, that may leave a space for Ramps to come back in if he can find some form for the 2’s, with the next Championship game in a couple of weeks down at Horsham.

Zander de Bruyn’s all round abilities have once again kept him in the squad, as he hasn’t been himself this season. He is averaging just 18 this season, with 2 half centuries, and has been a shadow of how he performed in his debut season last year.

Maynard and RHB have been in exceptional form this season, but rarely in the same innings. Apart from the great partnership at New Road, they have hardly batted together, as either one or both have got out cheaply. The skipper will want to continue his remarkable record of scoring at least a 50 in every second innings this season, but it would be nice if he could score a few in the first as well! He has scored just 56 runs at 11.2 in the first innings, compared to 413 at 103.25 in the second.

Surrey haven’t played Warwickshire in the Championship since we were last in Division One in September 2007, where we won by 9 wickets at Edgbaston, largely thanks to a big hundred from Ramps in the first innings. The last time the Bears were at the Oval for a Championship match was April 2007, where a rain affected match ended in a draw, where Ramps also struck a century. In fact, Ramps has hit a century in his last 3 games against tomorrow’s opponents in the Championship...

Warwickshire are 33 points clear of Surrey at the top of the table, and have also played a game less, so if we lose this week, it would be even harder to win the league this year. They have won 3 games already this season, and have yet to be defeated, so will provide the strongest test for our boys so far.

With the likes of Chris Woakes and Keith Barker in the bowling ranks, as well as former Surrey all rounder Rikki Clarke, who struck an unbeaten century against Lancashire last week, they will be favourites heading into this one. However, we shouldn’t be written off, as just because we haven’t been at our best this season, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be this week.

Surrey Squad
Rory Hamilton-Brown (C)
Jacques Rudolph
Steve Davies (WK)
Jason Roy
Zander de Bruyn
Tom Maynard
Chris Jordan
Gareth Batty
Stuart Meaker
Jon Lewis
Jade Dernbach
Tim Linley
George Edwards

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bowlers fire to make it 3 from 3

Surrey have kept up their 100% record in the defence of the CB40, beating the Durham Dynamos by 60 runs.

Rory Hamilton-Brown won the toss and elected to bat first. As expected, Wilson was left out, as well as Rudolph, as de Bruyn was favoured to his South African teammate. However, after getting off to a quick start, Surrey lost 3 early wickets. The first to go was Davies, who was caught behind for 14. The skipper quickly followed him back in Claydon’s third over, when he was bowled looking to drive back down the ground.

After striking 2 consecutive boundaries, Roy was caught behind on 15 to give the Australian his 3rd wicket of the innings. Once again a start from Roy, as he has done a lot this season, but failing to make a sizeable contribution. Maynard and de Bruyn had to rebuild the innings, as Surrey had fallen to 47-3 in the 8th.

Maynard looked aggressive as always, but de Bruyn struggled to tick the score along. He was the next man out, when Gareth Breese got one to spin in-between bat and pad, and was bowled for 22. Spriegel came and went, as England spinner Scott Borthwick got one turn in and peg back his leg stump. Surrey 106-5 in the 22nd.

Ansari and Maynard had to put on a partnership to get Surrey anywhere near a respectable total. Due to his Uni commitments, Zafar hadn’t played too much cricket before today, so looking rusty at the start of his innings was to be expected. The pair slowly began to up the rate, as Maynard went to his first fifty of the CB40 this season.  The partnership had also gone past the 50 mark, as Ansari launched Claydon for 6 when the Australian returned. However, on 77, Maynard drove at Graham Onions and was caught at extra cover. The partnership was worth 85, and had given Surrey a chance.

Ansari went to his maiden List A fifty at a run a ball, and on this performance, it is a shame he cannot play more than the odd game. Surrey finished on 221-7 off their 40, with Batty run out of the last ball.

Stoneman got Durham off to a good start in their innings, but Dernbach made the early breakthrough, removing Mustard caught at mid off. Ben Stokes came to the crease, and showed why England like him so much, launching Meaker for 6 over deep backward square. However, he was removed by Spriegel, when he came down and missed and Davies did the rest.

Stoneman was looking dangerous, until Spriegel was at it again, when he removed the opener caught behind. The Durham skipper Collingwood and Gordon Muchall then put on a good partnership, and even though the required rate was increasing, there were still 7 wickets in the hatch. However, Batty got the big wicket of Collingwood when the former England man missed a sweep and was bowled.

The current skipper was followed by the former skipper, Will Smith, but he didn’t last long as he chopped on to give Dernbach his second wicket of the game. Gareth Breese then injured himself and had to retire hurt. It looked quite a bad injury as a stretcher was required to take him off. Borthwick came and went, as he was run out coming back for a second by Jason Roy, and Stuart Meaker then had his first when he bowled Onions with a full toss. One wicket was required and Meaker finished the game off the very next ball, bowling Claydon for pace. Durham 161 all out.

So, our 100% record has been kept intact, and even though our batsman didn’t fire today, the bowlers were superb. Victory against the supposed toughest opposition in the group, and in the end a comfortable one, by 60 runs. The likes of Maynard, Ansari and Spriegel the stand out performers, and Gareth Batty kept up his good form in the CB40, with the big wicket of Collingwood.

We now turn our attention back to the Championship, where we welcome Division One leaders Warwickshire to the Kia Oval on Wednesday. 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Ansari back for Durham test

Zafar Ansari has returned to a 13 man squad named for the CB40 game against the Durham Dynamos at the Kia Oval tomorrow.

Ansari returns to the squad after missing the Scotland game due to University commitments. In the one game he has played this season, he claimed 3 wickets and bowled wonderfully well, in Surrey’s victory over Somerset. Gareth Batty and Matthew Spriegel make it 3 full time spinners in the squad, and with RHB as well, there is plenty of variety in the bowling department.

Jade Dernbach will return to the starting X1 after being rested for the LVCC game against Somerset this week. Gary Wilson will be one of the 2 players who miss out, so Adams will have to decide if it will be a batsman or a bowler who will be the other. He may want to give Meaker or Lewis a rest, considering Lewis is 36 and has played every game so far this season. In the Somerset game, Rudolph was left out so that Ansari could play, and that could be another option for Adams.

The batsman have all found some form in one way or another this week, and will want to transfer this into the game tomorrow. Davies is fresh off the back of the century against Somerset, and will want to add to the half century he already has in the competition this year. Tom Maynard missed the game against Scotland due to family commitments, and he has also been in very good touch recently, so will be looking to make his first big impact in List A cricket this season.

Zander de Bruyn scored just his second half century of the season against Somerset, and once again failed in the second innings, so there is a possibility that he may be left out in favour of Rudolph. However, Rudolph hasn’t been in the greatest nick either, but did score 69 against Scotland in the last CB40 game, which could give him the nod over his fellow South African. Jason Roy hasn’t made a big score so far this year, so is definitely due one.

RHB has been in good form all throughout the season, and has already struck a sublime century in the competition. However, it won’t be an easy game at all, with many saying that Durham pose the largest threat to Surrey this season. They have the likes of Mustard, Collingwood and Stokes in their team, as well as Graham Onions after being released by the ECB to play.

Surrey Squad
Rory Hamilton-Brown (C)
Steve Davies (WK)
Jason Roy
Tom Maynard
Zander de Bruyn
Jacques Rudolph
Matthew Spriegel
Zafar Ansari
Gareth Batty
Stuart Meaker
Jon Lewis
Jade Dernbach
Gary Wilson

Durham Squad
Paul Collingwood (C)
Phil Mustard (WK)
Mark Stoneman
Ben Stokes
Gordon Muchall
Will Smith
Gareth Breese
Scott Borthwick
Chris Rushworth
Graham Onions
Mitchell Claydon
Jamie Harrison

Stubborn skipper leads Surrey to draw

The LVCC Division One match between Surrey and Somerset has ended as a draw, thanks to an unbeaten 70 from the skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown. Stuart Meaker earlier picked up 8 wickets to set up the run chase.

Surrey wanted to finish off the Somerset innings as quickly as possible this morning, as 3 wickets remained and the lead was closing in on 300. It took just 40 minutes to happen, as Stuart Meaker cleaned up the tail. Philander was caught at short extra, before in the space of 3 balls, he removed the Overton twins in identical fashion, by uprooting their respective off stumps. Meaker had taken a remarkable 8-52, a career best in First Class cricket, and 11 in the game, also his first 10fer. Somerset were all out for 180, with 305 for Surrey to win.

Jason Roy was promoted up to the top of the order to open with Steve Davies, which immediately showed attacking intent. However, we got off to the worst possible start, when centurion of the first innings Davies played on to Philander and went for just 4. Rudolph came in at 3, needing to steady the ship, as another quick wicket could have opened the floodgates.

He and Roy played sensibly, but still ticking over at around 4 an over. Apart from a few play and misses, there were no real alarms for the pair, as they both found the boundary at regular intervals. They took Surrey to lunch just one down, on 66-1, still needing a further 239 for victory.

However, after starting the session the way they left off before the break, Surrey then had a terrible hour. Dockrell was introduced into the attack and tore apart the Surrey top order. He first had Roy caught at short leg for 41, and in his next over removed the other set batsman, Rudolph, for 45. The Irish spinner then had de Bruyn caught off a top edge sweep for just 1, and Surrey had lost 3 runs for 7 runs.

Maynard and the skipper started to rebuild the innings, and build a partnership, but it was cut short on 33, when Maynard was trapped in front by Trego for 13. Chris Jordan’s woeful form with the bat continued, as he was also adjudged LBW off Trego, and went for 6. Surrey were in danger of capitulating at 148-6.

However, like he did in the first innings, Batty looked in good form, and he and the skipper managed to keep Surrey in with a slight chance of victory, taking their side to tea on 184-6, needing a further 121 for victory.

Hamilton-Brown and Batty completely slowed down after the interval, and seemingly accepted a draw. Somerset also seemed to be happy with the draw, as would their defensive fielding positions imply. The Surrey pair batted into the final hour, and the game was definitely petering out but a wicket could have changed everything.

And with less than 13 overs remaining, that wicket came, as Batty looked to cut Dockrell, and was bowled for 33. Lewis joined his skipper, and had to continue from where Batty had left off, so that Surrey wouldn’t lose the game. And that is just what they did, as Surrey finished on 239-7, with the skipper unbeaten on 70.

So, slightly disappointing that RHB and Batty were so negative after tea, however, after conceding a first innings lead of over 100, and being 150-6 in the second, a draw is a good effort. The skipper once again showing a side of the game we didn’t think he had, his 70 off 161 balls.

We now turn our attention to the CB40 game against Durham at the Kia Oval tomorrow, looking to keep up our 100% record. However, it will be a tough game as Durham were the only side to beat us in the competition last year.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Meaker leads Surrey fightback

It has been Surrey’s day on the 3rd day of the LVCC Division One match between Surrey and Somerset, as the hosts avoided the follow on and reduced the visitors to 154-7, with a lead of 278. Stuart Meaker ripped through the Somerset order, claiming 5-42.

Surrey started the morning needing another 70-odd runs to avoid the follow on, which probably wouldn’t have been enforced anyway. Tom Maynard and Gareth Batty would have wanted a quiet start, and that is what they got. The pair batted sensibly, taking Surrey over 300 and a 3rd batting point. The partnership had reached 91, when Batty was adjudged LBW for 36 in just the second over of the new ball.

Meaker hanged around for a bit, until he went for 2 to give Philander his 4th victim of the innings. Maynard was running out of partners, as he had moved into the 80’s. However, he was the next man out when he was caught by Trego for 89. Another good innings from Maynard, showing an increase in maturity and ability to adapt to different situations put in front of him. As he has done all season, Jon Lewis looked good with the bat, finding the boundary 5 times in his 42, putting on a last wicket stand of 32 with George Edwards. Surrey 388 all out, trailing by 124.

Surrey would have been looking for quick wickets, whereas Somerset will have been looking to bat the hosts out of the game. It was Surrey who made the first move when Lewis had Suppiah caught behind. Meaker then had Barrow caught in the slips and Hildreth caught behind, to reduce the visitors to 30-3. A great start by the guys, but Somerset then fought back.

The form man Compton and keeper Kieswetter held off the pressure from the Surrey bowlers, with the latter batting in typically aggressive fashion. They started to build a partnership which could have single handily taken the game away from Surrey, as the lead was heading towards 250. However, after tea, Kieswetter got a leading edge and was caught by the skipper off Meaker.

Lewis and Meaker were bowling a really tight spell, in the best bowling conditions of the day so far. They complimented each other brilliantly, and it was Meaker who got the next wicket, when Trego played an inexcusable shot straight to Hamilton-Brown at mid off.

After a short delay for bad light, Meaker bowled Meschede to complete his second fifer in the Championship this season. Chris Jordan, who hadn’t bowled brilliantly up to this point, banged one in at Compton, who hooked the ball straight up in the air and Maynard took the catch. A big wicket in the context of the game, with Somerset 7 down with a lead of 271.

That was the last wicket of the day, as bad light brought an early end to proceedings.

So, Somerset are of course still on top in this game, but Surrey will be confident of forcing a draw on a pitch which is still good for the batsman. If the light would have stayed good, we could have finished off the Somerset second innings tonight, and with the likes of Maynard and RHB in the team, all 3 results would have been possible. If we manage to knock the tail over early tomorrow however, I feel that we still would be in with a chance, and after conceding over 500 in the first innings, to be even within a slight chance of victory is phenomenal.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Somerset in control despite Davies ton

Somerset are in firm control after day two of the LVCC Division One match at the Kia Oval, despite a ton from Steve Davies.

Somerset started the morning with 5 wickets in hand, looking to take the game away from Surrey. However, Meaker made the perfect start, when he had Trego caught in the gully. The next man to go was nightwatchman Dockrell, Lewis removing him. Lewis then picked up his second of the over, and 3rd of the innings, when he had Meschede caught in the slips. After Meaker removed Philander, to make it 3 wickets for 3 runs, Surrey were looking to bowl Somerset out for less than 500.

However, the Overton twins, in particular Jamie, frustrated the Surrey bowlers, putting on a last wicket partnership of 38, before declaring on 512-9. Rudolph and Davies would have wanted to cash in on this pitch, but the South African was yorked by J Overton and went for just 1. Roy came in at 3, and he and Davies batted aggressively, looking at relative ease at the crease. However, Roy failed to capitalize on a good start, when he gave Philander his first wicket for 28.

Davies was joined by de Bruyn, who both needed to find some form in this format of the game. Davies dominated the partnership, ticking along at a run a ball, and brought up his second fifty of the summer. de Bruyn was also playing his part in the partnership, which had gone past 100 in relatively quick time. The pair were edging towards personal milestones, and it was Davies who reached his first, a brilliant century at a good pace. de Bruyn then reached his second half century of the summer just before tea, to take Surrey to the break on 187-2.

However, Surrey had an awful start to the final session of the day. Davies was caught off Dockrell for 104, and was quickly followed by de Bruyn for 52, as both set batsman were removed. The skipper also came and went, as he moved across his stumps and was trapped in front by Philander without scoring. A terrible passage of play, especially after how well we had done in the last session.

After hooking Philander for 6, and putting on 34 with Tom Maynard, Jordan looked to repeat the shot against Peter Trego, but struck the ball straight down the fielders throat at deep backwards square and went for 8. Batty joined Maynard at the crease, with a big job on their hands. As expected, Maynard dominated the partnership, but was playing in a more sedate manner than he did at New Road last week.

However, he was still finding the boundary regularly and brought up an important half century off 84 balls, with 5 fours and a six. He and Batty put on an unbeaten partnership of 59, to take Surrey to the close on 286-6, trailing by 226, with not many alarms. However, Maynard was dropped on the last ball of the day by Suppiah, in what may turn out to be a big moment in the game.

Another difficult day for our guys then, even though we dominated the second session. Davies and de Bruyn played well, but it was disappointing that neither of them could kick on and make a big score, and it was equally disappointing that they both fell within the space of two overs. We will now have to do well to save the game, but with Maynard still there, and with Meaker and Lewis still to come, we have a chance of avoiding the follow on, and somehow avoid defeat.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Somerset Batsman Dominate on Day One

The Somerset batsman have dominated on day one of the LVCC match at the Kia Oval, with two of them scoring centuries.

The team selection was generally expected, but it was a surprise to see George Edwards play instead of Dernbach, even though George did do well last week. Somerset elected to bat on the first sunny morning for a while and Barrow and Suppiah got off to a solid start, on an easy pace pitch. Jordan and Lewis couldn’t get an early breakthrough, and Barrow in particular was ticking over at a quick pace for the visitors. However, Meaker was introduced, and made the breakthrough, having Barrow caught in the gully.

The current highest run scorer in the country, Nick Compton, joined Suppiah, and looked at home at the crease straight away, with batting looking relatively easy. The pair took their side to lunch just 1 wicket down, in what was definitely their session.

After the break, Suppiah started to accelerate, going to his 50 off 88 balls. He found the boundary with ease at a regular occurrence against some wayward bowling from the Surrey attack. The opener raced to a very good century, with the second 50 off just 41 balls, and just 12 overs after raising his bat for the first time. Compton moved towards his half century in a calmer manner, but before he could get there, Suppiah set off for a run, but was sent back, and Maynard and Batty combined to run Suppiah out for 105.

Compton then went to his fifty, and was looking ominously good yet again. He found a reliable partner in Hildreth, who was ticking over at nearly a run a ball. The pair took Somerset over 250 before tea, but in the last over before the break, Zander de Bruyn got one to come back in to Compton and trapped him LBW. A wicket that to be honest, didn’t look like coming.

Kieswetter joined Hildreth and the pair didn’t slow down after the wicket of Compton, and began to take the day, and possibly the game, away from Surrey. Hildreth was the more fluent of the two, seemingly dealing in boundaries only, and was racing towards a fantastic century. The new ball was taken, and even though it initially didn’t make a difference, Lewis broke the partnership on 108, getting Kieswetter LBW.

Hildreth was still going, and soon after bringing up the Somerset 400, he brought up his own hundred. He and Trego continued in their merry way until just before the close, de Bruyn had his second, as Hildreth was adjudged LBW. Trego and nightwatchman Dockrell took their side to the close on 441-5.

A difficult day for our guys then, but in all accounts, the pitch was a belter. A pitch that a certain Ramps may have enjoyed. Obviously a great toss to win, and still with 5 wickets in the innings left, Somerset will, if they haven’t already, bat Surrey out of the game. However, if Surrey can somehow skittle the Somerset lower order for under 475, they will be confident of getting somewhere near the total, and bowling better in the second innings.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ramps dropped as Lions pair return

Mark Ramprakash has been dropped by Chris Adams, as he has named a 13 man squad for the LVCC Division One match against Somerset starting tomorrow at the Kia Oval. Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker have returned after their exploits for the England Lions.

Is this the end of a wonderful era? Mark Ramprakash is without doubt one of the greatest batsman Surrey have had in their history, but is his wonderful career coming to an end. He has struck 114 First Class centuries, most of them coming for Surrey since his move from Middlesex in 2001. However, it seems increasingly unlikely that he will add to that list. He has not been himself since his cruciate knee ligament injury in late 2010, scoring just the one hundred since then. However, his form this season has been far worse than last, averaging less than 8 from his 8 innings. Adams said it was a difficult choice, but looking at his form this season, it was a no-brainer.

Some positive news is the return of Dernbach and Meaker to the squad after their win for the Lions against the Windies last week. Even though George Edwards had a good debut, Meaker's ability to knock over the tail was sorely missed against Worcester, as we fell just 2 wickets short of victory. The pair will come back in, meaning that most likely Linley and Edwards will be the two who miss out. Lewis is our leading wicket taker this year so won't be dropped, unless Adams feels he needs a rest. Jordan will play due to his all round abilities, as the tail would look long if he didn't, with Batty at 7, Meaker at 8 etc.

Jason Roy is likely to come straight in for Ramps, and perhaps bat at number 3, a position he occupies in List A cricket. Roy will know he has the chance to cement a place in the side, and if he performs consistently over the next few weeks, Ramps may not be able to get back in.

Tom Maynard and the skipper will want to take their form from New Road into this game, in which the pair almost took is to victory from a desperate situation just the day before. Jacques Rudolph has started to show some form at the top of the order, and he will be looking to build on it before he leaves at the end of the month. Davies and de Bruyn are both in need of some runs, as they haven't hit a half century since their respective first innings of the summer.

Somerset are likely to be without several key players. Trescothick is out with his ankle injury, and Kirby and Hussain miss out to deplete the bowling attack. However, their batting line up still looks strong without Tres, as they hav the likes of Hildreth and Kieswetter, as well as the highest run scorer in the country this season in Nick Compton.

So, it will be a test against a strong Somerset team, but Surrey need to get their LVCC season back on track, after just the one win so far.

Surrey Squad:
Rory Hamilton-Brown (C)
Jacques Rudolph
Steve Davies (WK)
Jason Roy
Zander de Bruyn
Tom Maynard
Chris Jordan
Gareth Batty
Stuart Meaker
Jon Lewis
Jade Dernbach
Tim Linley
George Edwards

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Surrey fall two wickets short

The LVCC Division One match between Worcestershire and Surrey at New Road has finished as a draw, as Surrey were unable to claim the last two wickets after setting the hosts 260 to win. Tom Maynard and Rory Hamilton-Brown both struck sublime centuries to set up the target.

The partnership between RHB and Maynard started the day at 91, and it didn’t take long for it to past 100. Maynard continued from where he left off last night, taking part in an onslaught of the Worcestershire bowlers. He seemed to be timing everything that was thrown at him immaculately, and took the lead over 100. He then went to a quite remarkable hundred with a six straight back over the head of Kapil, his first maximum of the LVCC season. It was also the first hundred by a Surrey player in the competition this season, and had come off just 102 balls, with 14 fours to accompany the six. The innings had mirrored his attack of the Middlesex bowlers at Guildford last year, where he also got a duck in the first innings.

The lead had gone past 150, as Surrey had added over 100 in the first hour of the day. The partnership had gone past Surrey’s highest 5th wicket stand against Worcestershire, which was previously 193, held by Trevor Jesty and Monte Lynch in 1986. And not long after the partnership had past 200, RHB reached a quite brilliant century. It had come off 144 balls, and is continuing to show his increase in maturity this season.

However, not long after, the captain’s innings came to an end as he was caught at mid on off Moeen Ali for 115. Maynard was still there though, and he was joined by de Bruyn, and the pair continued to find the boundary with regular ease. The pair took Surrey to lunch on 382-5, with Maynard unbeaten on 138.

In the over after the break, Maynard went, but still managed to pass his previous best of 141, to finish on 143. It was over to de Bruyn and Batty to tick the score along. de Bruyn had got to 34, before he was caught. RHB pulled the plug with the score on 431-7, a lead of 259.

The Worcestershire batsman made the start they wanted to their innings, playing steadily against some sometimes wayward bowling from Lewis and Linley. However, George Edwards was introduced and in his second over picked up two wickets. First, he had Klinger caught by sub Jordan, and then trapped Solanki in front 4 balls later. Edwards certainly impressing on debut.

Lewis then got the skipper Mitchell in the next over, to reduce the hosts to 29-3. Ali and Cameron took their side to tea just 3 down, but after the interval, Batty made the breakthrough when Ali played on. However, as he seems to have done a lot already this season, Cameron started to frustrate the Surrey bowlers and take his side towards a draw. However, it was that man Batty again who made the breakthrough, when Cameron was bowled. Worcestershire 5 down for 93, with at least 22 overs remaining.

Edwards was at it again a couple of overs later, as he once again picked up 2 in the same over. He first bowled Ben Scott, and followed that up 5 balls later by removing Kapil, caught excellently by Linley at cover point. According to Mark Church, it was one of the best catches he has ever seen, but it unfortunately may not be seen again, as it was out of shot of the camera.

Lucas and Pardoe steadied the ship for Worcestershire, getting the overs remaining down to single figures. However, on 19, Lewis got rid of Lucas, when Davies took a good catch up to the stumps. 2 wickets were needed in just under 8 overs. However, that was the last wicket of the game, as Pardoe and Jones batted out the remaining overs, to finish on 150-8.

Disapointing that we couldn’t quite get over the line today, but a fantastic performance from the guys. After being 43-8 yesterday, nobody would have foreshadowed what followed, thanks to RHB and Maynard. Obviously Maynard and RHB are the stand out performers, but George Edwards should also take some credit, picking up 5 wickets in the game, including 4-44 today. We now face Somerset in the LVCC starting Wednesday at the Kia Oval, looking to take momentum from today and claim our second win of the season.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Surrey fightback but Worcester on top

Surrey have staged a fightback on day 2 of the LVCC Division One match against Worcestershire, finishing the day with a lead of 44 and 6 wickets in hand in their second innings, after being asked to follow on as they were skittled out for just 113. Unbeaten half centuries from Maynard and RHB have kept their side in the game.

Surrey got off to the worst possible start this morning when both Davies and Ramps fell within the space of two David Lucas overs, with Ramps out without scoring. Batting looked extremely difficult, even with the in-form Pietersen struggling, as he went for an unattractive 11. Hamilton- Brown and Maynard then both went for a duck, as Surrey found themselves 32-5. de Bruyn and Batty soon followed, and even the ever reliable Jon Lewis couldn’t muster up a typical innings, as Surrey were 43-8. Rudolph was still there though, and he and debutant Edwards took Surrey to lunch on 53-8.

Rudolph did what any batsman would do in this position, and upped the scoring rate, reaching his first half century for Surrey in the Championship, and adding some, but not much, respectability to the score. Edwards provided good company until he went for 17, and the last wicket was that of Rudolph for 68. Surrey had been bowled out for just 113.

We still trailed by over 150, so it was no surprise to see Rudolph and Davies come back out again 10 minutes later. Rudolph was the last man out in the first innings, but he was the first out in the second, as he played across the line and his stumps were disturbed by Richard Jones. Ramps soon followed, once again without scoring, to complete only his 3rd pair in his 26th year of First Class cricket, and first for 16 years. A few across twitter are calling for him to retire, and I have to agree with them, as, however much it pains and upsets me to say it, all he is doing is tarnishing a wonderful career.

Pietersen joined Davies, and second time around, batted like we all know he can. He played an array of attacking shots which were a joy to watch, as he struck the ball all around New Road including a big six off Moeen Ali’s second ball, straight back over his head. Surrey went to tea on 62-2, still trailing by 110.

Straight after tea, his assault continued, taking 18 off of one Cameron over, completing his first half century for Surrey this season. It had come up off just 49 balls, with 8 fours and a six. Davies went not long after though, for a patient 24. The skipper came to the crease, and showed Ramps just how to get off a pair, by hitting Jones for 4 boundaries off his first 5 deliveries. However, Jones had his eighth of the day, when Mitchell took a stunning catch to remove Pietersen for 69. A good knock from KP, but he got a bit bogged down and went trying to up his rate.

Maynard joined his skipper, and took over the scoring, batting in his typical manner of the sublime and sometimes ridiculous. The pair took Surrey to parity and into the lead; and after being 11-2, that’s not a bad effort. Not long after the partnership reached 50, so did Maynard, coming off just 48 balls with 8 boundaries. RHB then went to his half century, a more watchful knock, off 67 balls. He has now scored a half century in every second innings this season.

The pair took Surrey to 216-4 at the close, an unbeaten partnership of 91, and a lead of 44. It has been a good recovery from our guys, and have put themselves in with a chance of forcing a draw, or perhaps a victory. However, they shouldn’t get carried away, as Worcestershire still have a firm hold on the game and will be looking for early wickets in the morning.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Lewis and Linley restrict Worcs to 285

Surrey will be the happier of the 2 sides after day two of the LVCC Division One match against Worcestershire, after bowling out the hosts for 285, after they elected to bat first yesterday.

Mitchell and Klinger started the day on 58-0, after the rain affected first day. The Surrey bowlers didn’t let them settle, and it was the Viscount who made the breakthrough, bowling the skipper. He then trapped Klinger in front in the same over to complete a good start to the day for his team. However, Solanki and Moeen Ali began to play more attackingly as the session progressed, and they took their side to the Lunch interval just 2 down.

The pair continued as they’d set off before the break, until Jon Lewis managed to beat Solanki and bowled him for 42. Then, a massive moment for debutant George Edwards, as he got Ali to nick behind on 61, and Steve Davies did the rest. Edwards has impressed many already throughout this game, and surely has a big future ahead of him.

Batty was the next man in on the wickets, when he trapped Pardoe in front to leave the hosts 220-5. After a short interval for further rain, Ben Scott set off for a quick single, but was run out by Kevin Pietersen. Surrey were scenting a chance of reducing the hosts to under 275. Lewis then got back in on the act, when he picked up 2 wickets in quick succession. First he had Kapil caught behind for just 5, and then followed that up by bowling David Lucas. Lewis certainly has been a revelation in the Championship since his acquisition from Gloucestershire last summer, already claiming 17 wickets in the competition at just over 15 a piece.

After a short break for bad light and drizzle, The Viscount Linley picked up his 3rd wicket of the innings, when Richard Jones was adjudged LBW for just 1. And after a short onslaught from James Cameron, Linley picked up his 4th, getting the all rounder caught by de Bruyn. Worcestershire were all out for 285.

That was the last action of the day and a good day for Surrey then, as they would have been happy to reduce the hosts to anything under 300 after choosing to bat first. Due to the vast amount of time lost already, it is unlikely that there will be a result in this game, unless we collapse tomorrow, or our aggressive batsman play like we know they can.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

KP named in squad for Worcester trip

As expected, Kevin Pietersen has been named in a 13 man squad to travel to Worcestershire this week in the LVCC Division One clash. Young seamer George Edwards has also been named as Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker are with the England Lions.

KP comes into this match in terrific form after his exploits in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils. He will be looking to transfer his form into the longer form of the game though, in much more difficult batting conditions than he faced in India.  It isn't apparent just as yet who he will replacing in the side, as Ramps has once again been named after having a short amount of time batting in the second X1 last week. Adams could drop Roy, and bat KP at 4, Zander 5, and the skipper at 6. However, that will leave Maynard down at number 7 which is surely too low for a batsman of his quality. However, it shows we have strength in depth in the batting line up.

Tim Linley is certain to come in for one of the Lions bound bowlers, but the other place is still up for grabs. George Edwards is in fantastic form in the second X1, taking 9 wickets in the match last week, outshining the likes of Linley and Jordan.  If Adams chooses to bat Maynard at number 7, then he can afford to leave out Jordan who hasn't bowled particularly well this season, with Batty at 8. The last 3 spots will then be filled by Lewis, Linley and Edwards. However, if Adams leaves out Maynard or perhaps Ramps, then Jordan or Roy will be needed at 7 to bolster the batting.

If Ramps is picked, I think this is his last chance to prove that he still has got what it takes to play at the highest level. If he fails again, then Adams will have to leave him out and give one of our younger batsman a shot. I so want him to do well, but with the way he has played this season, I sadly can't see it.

RHB will want to continue his fine form from both competitions this season, and stake a place for a future Lions call up. Rudolph and Davies will also be looking to take the form they showed in the CB40 into the Championship. Like Ramps, Zander hasn't been in the greatest form in the Championship, after his fifty in the first game against Sussex, but his situation isn't as desperate as his all round abilities could come in useful with Meaker and Dernbach out of the side.

So, this is already the second time we have played Worcestershire this season, after the rain affected draw 3 weeks ago. They showed they have the right blend of youth and experience in their side, with the canny Alan Richardson picking up a ten wicket haul. After being moved to Kidderminster due to the floods, the game has been moved back to New Road. Good news for Worcester but possibly not for the batsman, as the Kidderminster pitch is usually a belter.

Surrey will be looking to get their LVCC season back on track, after the defeat to Middlesex, draw to Worcs and washout against Durham. Come on the Rey!

Surrey Squad:
Rory Hamilton-Brown (C)
Jacques Rudolph
Steve Davies (WK) 
Mark Ramprakash
Kevin Pietersen
Zander de Bruyn
Tom Maynard
Jason Roy
Chris Jordan
Gareth Batty
Jon Lewis
Tim Linley
George Edwards

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Rudolph 50 leads to Scotland win

Surrey have beaten the Scottish Saltires by 21 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method at the Grange, to keep up their 100% start to this years CB40. The victory was largely thanks to a gritty half century from Jacques Rudolph.

Scotland won the toss and stuck Surrey in. Two enforced changes for Surrey, as Zafar Ansari had returned to Cambridge Uni and Tom Maynard missed out due to family reasons. Gary Wilson and Jacques Rudolph came in for them. Rory Hamilton-Brown and Steve Davies opened up again, but didn’t have the same impact as they did against Somerset. The skipper went for just 5 in the second over of the game, and Jason Roy quickly followed him back to the Pavilion 2 overs later. Rudolph joined Davies and the pair set about rebuilding the innings, but with the partnership on 40, Davies was caught fantastically by Drummond at mid on for 22, Surrey 60-3 in the 15th.

The South African pair of Rudolph and de Bruyn needed to get their heads down, as well as ticking the scoreboard along. Rudolph was dominating the partnership, finding the gaps in the field with relative ease, but both struggled to find the boundary. Rudolph was looking the most comfortable of the two, and he lost his partner, when de Bruyn looked to work Mommsen down the ground and was caught and bowled for 16. Spriegel joined Rudolph, who went to a well made fifty, his first for Surrey, coming off 63 balls. However, Spriegel didn’t last long, as he was stumped for 15 and Surrey were in danger of posting a below par score.

Rudolph continued on his merry way, not changing his game plan at all, on a slow pitch which was showing to be difficult to bat on. Surrey took the batting powerplay with 5 overs to go, and with that, Rudolph looked to go over the top off Haq and was caught for 69. A good innings but with no acceleration, and with Surrey at 151-6, 200 looked a long way off. Wilson then went for just 9, caught at backward point. Batty and Lewis took Surrey to 187-7 off 40 overs, with both of them finding the boundary twice, including the first six of the game by Batty. Not a wonderful score, but not terrible with run scoring seemingly difficult for most of the batsmen.

After a short break for rain (and hail!), Scotland were given a revised target of 183 off 38 overs. Jade Dernbach picked up the first wicket before the host’s innings could really get going, having MacLeod caught behind. Jon Lewis was then introduced into the attack, and made an immediate impact having Josh Davey caught. The runs really started to dry up, and with Spriegel, Lewis didn’t give the Scottish batsman anything to hit, in an impressive spell of bowling. Spriegel then picked up 2 in quick succession, having Symes and Watts both stumped by Steve Davies. As he so often does, Gareth Batty also made an immediate impact when called upon, as he removed Mommsen caught and bowled. Scotland were 5 down for 66 and struggling.

Majid Haq joined Richie Berrington and the pair began to frustrate the Surrey attack. They found the boundary easier than any of the other batsmen could, and put their side into a good position to win the game. However, with the partnership on 50, Haq drove Batty straight to RHB to give the spinner his second wicket. The rain and hail then immediately came and brought a premature end to the match. Surrey had won by 21 runs via the D/L method.

So, 2 out of 2 for Surrey in the CB40, a solid start to the defence of the competition. It wasn’t a perfect performance today, but we did what we had to do in difficult conditions. We now travel to Kidderminster to take on Worcestershire in the LVCC on Wednesday, with a certain Kevin Pietersen expected to be named in the squad.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Super Skipper leads Surrey to opening CB40 win

Surrey have comprehensively beaten Somerset by 105 runs in the first game of their defence of the CB40, with Rory Hamilton-Brown registering an outstanding century.

Somerset stuck Surrey in, and the surprise selection was that Jacques Rudolph missed out, with Zafar Ansari playing instead. As expected, Hamilton-Brown and Davies opened, and set upon an opening partnership which eventually turned out to be record breaking. The skipper hit a boundary off Trego off the first ball to set his side on the way. He and Davies complimented each other brilliantly, with each of them at their fluent best, and seemingly trying to outscore each other. The skipper hit the first six of the game, when he launched George Dockrell into the Pavilion.

Hamilton-Brown was also first to his fifty, coming in super quick time as usual. The pair continued to punish some wayward bowling from the inexperienced Somerset attack, and Davies followed his captain to a half century not long later. Hamilton-Brown hit an even bigger six once again off Dockrell, and was racing towards a sublime century. However, before he could get there, Davies was bowled round his legs by Trego, showing too much of his stumps and went for 72. A typical Davies innings, and in front of the cameras, he will be giving the selectors a nudge. An opening partnership of 163, the highest for Surrey against Somerset in List A cricket, beating Butcher and Clinton back in 86.

Roy joined Hamilton- Brown, and guided his skipper through to a fantastic hundred. It had come off just 87 balls, with 11 fours and 2 sixes. However, disappointingly he couldn’t kick on, as he held out at long off, trying to launch another six, and went for 101. Roy quickly followed him back to the Pavilion, as he tried to reverse sweep Waller and was trapped in front. However, on reflection, it was the incorrect decision as replays showed it hit his glove and not his pad.

Maynard and de Bruyn had to rebuild the innings, as well as keep the score ticking over. The pair began to build a partnership which could have taken the game away from Somerset, as they looked to get well over 300. However, in the space of 2 overs, Maynard was caught for 28, and de Bruyn bowled for 34. Spriegel and Ansari struggled to keep the momentum going, and after a couple of streaky boundaries, Ansari was caught behind for 10. Batty came to the crease with just 7 balls to go, but he managed to hit back to back boundaries to get Surrey up to 295-6 off their 40 overs.

The visitors’ innings never got going. Meaker got his side off to the perfect start when he made a mess of Kieswetter’s stumps in the second over. Davies winning the battle of the wicket keepers today. Jon Lewis picked up his first wicket in List A cricket for Surrey, when he grabbed hold of the ball as it looped off Peter Trego’s bat. Compton and Hildreth looked to rebuild the innings, but with the score on 76, Batty got one to spin inside Hildreth’s bat and was stumped smartly by Davies. Compton was looking in ominous form as he has done all season, but he went for 53 when Ansari held onto a sharp catch off his own bowling.

Suppiah soon followed, chopping on to Ansari, before Surrey got the big wicket off Buttler, as he got a top edge off Batty and Davies took a simple catch. The game was all but won for the hosts, as Somerset were 119-6. Meschede offered some resistance, before Batty bowled him to give the Yorkshireman his 3rd wicket. He finished with figures of 3-37, and it was the best I have seen him bowl for a long time. Ansari picked up his 3rd, when Waller missed a reverse sweep and was bowled. He also had bowled extremely well, claiming figures of 3-28 off 7, and Surrey will miss him at the Grange on Sunday.

Meaker came back on and finished off the innings, having Gregory caught behind, before bowling Dockrell to seal the win. Meaker picked up figures of 3-24, and showed exactly why England are looking at him. Somerset were all out for 190, and Surrey had won with some ease. A great performance from our boys, with everyone playing a part in one way or another. RHB deserves a special mention, as he has been in exceptional form this term, and if he keeps it up, a Lions call surely isn’t far away.

Surrey now travel to the Grange to take on Scotland on Sunday at 13:45. The Viscount comes into the squad for Ansari, as he has University commitments. A great start for Surrey tonight, and a perfect opportunity to make it 2 out of 2 on Sunday, but they must be wary, as Scotland won’t go down easy.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ansari named in squad for CB40 opener

Chris Adams has named Zafar Ansari in a 13 man squad for the first game in the defence of the CB40, against Somerset on Friday afternoon at the Kia Oval. Tim Linley will replace him in the squad for Sunday’s trip to Scotland.

There are no real surprises in the squad chosen, with Gary Wilson one of the two likely to be missing out on the starting X1 in both games. Adams and RHB are faced with the dilemma of who opens the batting, with Davies, Rudolph, Roy and the skipper himself all a possibility. I think that Davies is a certainty in opening the batting, as it is his best position by far, and RHB is likely to be his partner as he comes off the back of his match winning 78 in the final last year. The top 6 looks extremely good, with Roy most likely in at number 3, and Rudolph, Maynard and de Bruyn occupying 4, 5 and 6 with flexibility in the order to suit the situation which arises at the time.

The bowling line up looks equally as strong, with 2 current and 2 former England internationals possibly making up positions 8-11 in the order. Gareth Batty will provide the main spin option, but as we witnessed last year, Spriegel’s off break has improved vastly and was a vital part of the triumph in 2011. Zafar Ansari may play, but then who do you leave out? Lewis? Meaker?... I’m not sure.

 40 over cricket is Jade Dernbach’s best format I feel, and he will want to continue his good form this season to keep his place in the ODI squad. Whereas Meaker is probably most suited to the longer format of the game, but he has added control to his bowling, which would make him a better option in limited overs cricket than in the previous 2 or 3 years. Jon Lewis makes up the England quartet, and his control in the middle overs could be important, with the younger pair bowling at the death.

A main part of Surrey’s trophy success last year was Chris Schofield, who excelled with both bat and ball throughout the campaign. However, he was released at the end of the 2011 season. I was disappointed at the time at the decision, and I still am a bit disappointed, as even though his bowling could be erratic at times, he was a game changer with both bat and ball, and game changers are generally hard to find. The side will most certainly miss his all round abilities, as he was also a fine fielder, but at this time of the year I think seam is the way to go. For many of the games last year, Surrey played just 2 front line seamers, with sometimes 5 spinners in the side. However, Adams has gone with the 3 front line seamers in the squad for the opening game, and 4 against Scotland, with the part time swing of de Bruyn supporting them. In an interview in the last two weeks, RHB has said that he worked hard on his bowling over the winter, so he will also provide a viable option.

Overall, the side does look very strong indeed, and have a good chance in once again doing well in this competition. However, the group stage will be harder this year, as Somerset look a strong outfit, and with only one (possibly 2) teams qualifying for the semi finals from each group, it will be a tough task to get through it. Somerset have named a strong batting line up in their squad, with Kieswetter, Hildreth and the in form Compton included, as well as the up and coming Buttler, who showed how good he was in the final last year. Sadly for the neutrals, Marcus Trescothick is injured for this one, and will possibly miss the Championship game between the sides later this month. Kirby and Hussain also miss out through injury, so the Somerset bowling attack has been stretched. The Overton twins could both make a debut in a young looking attack, which is also missing Vernon Philander who has been rested.

Surrey played Scotland in the 2011 competition and beat them on both occasions. However, they look a professional outfit, with the experience of Majid Haq and the all round abilities of Richie Berrington, who has been signed by Leicestershire on a months loan, but is still able to play for the Saltires in the CB40. A wonderful unbeaten 82 from Matt Spriegel helped Surrey to victory at the Grange last year, and he will want to repeat that and put his name in the hat for a Championship call up.

Surrey Squad
25. Rory Hamilton-Brown (C)
9. Steve Davies (WK)
20. Jason Roy
55. Tom Maynard
1. Jacques Rudolph
58. Zander de Bruyn
28. Matt Spriegel
22. Zafar Ansari (Vs Somerset only)
13. Gareth Batty
18. Stuart Meaker
7. Jon Lewis
16. Jade Dernbach
14. Gary Wilson
12. Tim Linley (Vs Scotland only)

Somerset Squad
Nick Compton
Craig Kieswetter (WK)
Peter Trego
James Hildreth (C)
Jos Buttler
Craig Meschede
Arul Suppiah
Craig Overton
Jamie Overton
Lewis Gregory
George Dockrell
Max Waller

The game starts at 3.40, and is live on Sky Sports, so is a good opportunity to show people how far this team has come in recent times. Come on the Rey!!

Scotland Squad

Fraser Watts
Ryan Flannigan
Callum MacLeod
Jean Symes
Josh Davey
Richie Berrington
Preston Mommsen
Craig Wallace (WK)
Majid Haq
Matthew Parker
Gordon Drummond (C)
Alasdair Evans
Moneeb Iqbal

The game starts at 13.45 on Sunday at the Grange.