Thursday, 6 August 2009

Surrey v Derbyshire, day 1

On the face of it, with Surrey 308-3 at the end of the first day, this has been a bad day for our boys.

Or was it? On what appears another fine batting track at Croydon's Whitgift School, our best chance of a win could well be in being set a total on the last afternoon that we can chase. It would be surprising if the wicket deteriorated markedly in the next few days and with short boundaries I think we did well to keep the score to manageable proportions.

We also got Ramprakash out for less than a hundred - congratulations to Tim Groenewald for that one - while Nantie Hayward bowled well and deserved his two wickets. We didn't help our cause by putting down three chances before lunch, but we're not needing snookers at this stage.

Graham Wagg had another erratic day, with his radar a little off and his bowling going for four an over, but we used eight bowlers today and that made the batsmen think. Even with ex Test bowlers Pedro Collins, Andre Nel and Chris Schofield in their attack, I wouldn't be unduly concerned at batting and we should, in turn, make a good fist of things.

Our cause was helped today by the news from Canterbury where Kent look like losing to Middlesex tomorrow. Chasing 335 to win, the hosts had slipped to 49-2 by the close and logic suggests that on a "sporting" track they should lose tomorrow. If we can win this one, we'll be right back on their tail with a lot to play for.

Surrey's day ended with the sad news that Mark Butcher has had to retire due to persistent knee problems. Butcher was a good servant to Surrey and England and few will forget his 173 against Australia at Headingley in 2001. He averaged 40 for Surrey through his career, the sign of a pretty good player.

I was pleased to see John Morris' comments after last night's win against Surrey in the Derby Telegraph this morning. He's absolutely right, we were strolling it at one point and there was no need for the big shots that got several players out. If they need further "encouragement", Morris should get Dean Jones along for a masterclass in one day batting. He's still the best worker of a cricket ball I've seen, a master of placing, timing and running. Six an over with Deano at the crease was a breeze - he'd have pushed three twos and taken no chances...

Finally tonight, a draw tonight for the Seconds against Leicestershire, with the precociously talented Chesney Hughes making 79. He's another young man that we will see much more of in coming years (at his height he's hard to miss!) and there is an encouraging array of young talent in the Second XI and the Academy.

Until tomorrow, and hopefully news of an encouraging Derbyshire reply to the Surrey total.

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