Saturday, 28 May 2011

Another day...

Another draw.

That isn’t me having a moan or a bitching session, by the way. I’m very much of a ‘que sera’ mindset when it comes to results, although I do believe that positive thinking can do the power of good. Given the way that Surrey got brutalised by the amazing first innings display of Alviro Petersen (210), ably supported by Powell (who went for an unfortunate 99), it said something that they were able to make as good a fist of the last day as they did.

If you were to take the scores of Petersen and Powell out of the reckoning the Glamorgan innings looks slightly less impressive, with only Rees (25), Bragg (28) and Jones (17) making it to double figures. In fact Petersen assumed an almost Ramprakashesque status in terms of the importance of his innings in the context of the game. Surrey in reply managed only 284 to Glamorgan’s 419. Davies top-scored with 77 and Ramps next with 67. Maynard chipped in with 42, but likewise the rest of the team fell for not many runs, just avoiding the follow-on target although putting Glamorgan in a mighty fine position.

Day three was greatly spoiled by the first bad weather that Surrey had encountered this season, the afternoon session all but washed-out. This meant that day four was almost certainly going to result in a draw, and whilst the excitement of a potential nail-biting finish had been removed it didn’t stop Glamorgan from putting together a second innings total of 259, with Rees scoring 126 and Powell again in the runs with 67 not out. Perhaps Glamorgan had left the declaration too late to achieve a positive outcome, but given the way that Surrey began their reply (with Jason Roy and Hamilton Brown cutting into the target without even breaking sweat) it maybe wasn’t so foolish at first glance.

After Hamilton-Brown had fallen for 68 shortly after tea the almost gettable rate of 8 off an over rose to plus 10, and Surrey began to play for the declaration which came shortly before 5.00pm. Ramps finished 15 not out whilst Roy was 106 not out when the handshakes were in evidence.

A word about Jason Roy. This must surely have been a wonderful day for him, even if it was ultimately a game that tailed off into the draw everyone had expected. Not only did he get his maiden first class wicket but he finished the day off with his maiden first class century! To see Roy, surely a potential star for Surrey, at one end of the crease and Ramps at the other, a man who has just about achieved all that can be achieved in the county game, felt almost symbolic. Even if the results haven’t quite gone Surrey’s way this blend of experience and youth looks exactly what the team have been crying out for over the last few years.

The good points of the game, other than the splendid efforts of Petersen, Powell and Jason Roy, was that Mr Ramprakash passed the 35,000 runs landmark. Given the comparatively few county championship games that are played compared to even a few decades ago, this is an eye wateringly fine achievement. In the process of making the 67 first innings runs Ramps also overtook a certain D B Close in the first class run scoring list, moving to 39th of all-time. As the wonderful Churchy would say, “Splendid!”

The not so good news is that Steven Davies appears to have sprained his ankle. I’m not a doctor but I am qualified when it comes to sprained ankles. I still remember the absolute belter of a sprain I picked up in high school, which resulted in the ankle turning black for weeks. People I had never set eyes on before from other form classes approached me to show my ankle to them! It was my one moment of school notoriety! Anyhow, I don’t know how bad Davies’ sprain is but if it’s a bad one then don’t expect him to keep wicket in the Derbyshire game. Hopping behind the stumps really is going to be rather distracting for the bowler...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The significance of the number Five...

The Famous Five: The adventures of the Jackson family and Timmy the dog. Might have mixed up a couple of things there...

Five Gold Rings: the Christmas carol based on John McCrirrick’s jewellery collection.

The best Dr Who: oh, c’mon. Gotta alow me this one! Peter Davison rocks!

Five Guys Named Mo: A musical based on the life story of athlete Mo Farrah and the British Olympic squad’s attempts at cloning him.

Radio Five Live: the alternative is somewhat goulish. And pointless from an audience point of view.

Mambo Number Five: The one after Mambo number Four.

Five Star: 1980s pop combo liquidised and poured into your car to make it run smoothly.

And most importantly:

The number of wins Surrey have this far amassed in the CB40 contest! Yeeeeehaaaaa!
With apologies to Hants who Surrey beat by 36 runs!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Good game, good game!

As Bruce Forsyth might say.

Yes, it ended in a draw that did no favours to either Essex or Surrey in their race to propel themselves up the Division 2 table. I know that a lot of people were predicting a draw at Whitgift even before the game had even started; such was the reputation the ground has as a batsman’s paradise. But even so, it was a contest that had much to be recommended.

You had Napier smashing sixes galore, equalling world records in the process.

You had Cook showing everyone what a classy bat he is, and how much he’s matured over the years into a really smart cricketer.

You had KP trying – and succeeding – to regain his form with some hard graft.

You had RHB making a very smart hundred.

You had a run-chase that, until an hour after lunch on the final day, really looked as if Surrey might be able to go on the attack and sneak a second championship win on the bounce.

It was a gallant effort from Surrey, and fair play to Essex for some very entertaining cricket – especially the stout-hearted defence from the lower order: something that yet again proved to be the Surrey side’s undoing. Unfortunately with Meaker off the field of play and Dernbach not available for the game (he was away getting fivefers for the England Lions) their chief tail-end busters were out of the equation.

Should I mention the shocking amount of extras Surrey managed to garner over the four days? I probably shouldn’t...I know what the sight of a blossoming extras column does to poor Bev! The total may well have been a lot more appealing to chase but for the ghastly 66 in the two Surrey efforts with the ball. Take that away from the 366 or so that they were required to get for a win, and although still unlikely with so little time left in the game they may well have swung the bat a bit more towards the end.

Still, the nice atmosphere of a resplendent Whitgift was expertly delivered by Churchy, Johnny Barran and their Essex counterparts. It does sound like the sort of ground you would really want to make an effort to visit if you were in a position to do so. Maybe one day...

And of course, there was one surprise I hadn’t banked on. When Mr Ramprakash got out for a 12 ball duck, I didn’t hear a peep out of my dad. Not one snort of derision. No teasing. A miracle, in short.

Well, they did say the world was about to end...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

Scotland v Surrey: CB40 at the Grange

And, as expected, Surrey made it four out of four in their CB40 campaign. A trip to the Grange – a very cold trip, I might add – resulted in the anticipated victory over the Scottish Saltires on Sunday. This was a game I was lucky enough to attend in part.

I say in part because I took the decision to leg it homeward with 8 overs remaining. In better weather I might have stayed to the end, and whilst I was aware that neither team nor indeed poor Churchy were in a position to likewise escape from the cold, I decided that when I could no longer feel my nose the time was probably right to call it a day. Blue nose, black hair and red hat: they were about the only colourful things on an otherwise bleak, grey Edinburgh day.

Now, I love Edinburgh. When the sun is shining, or when it’s snowing, there is nowhere more beautiful or picturesque. However, on a horrible overcast day (something we do get more than our fair share of) it frankly makes you want to curl up under a duvet and hide. I certainly wish I’d brought a duvet with me! I got there in plenty of time, chose a likely spot near the boundary boards, then settled in for the start of the game. I have to say that Chris Adams gets bonus points for donning shorts in what was definitely not a day for the faint hearted. I did consider getting a pic or two, but then thought it possibly wasn’t terribly sporting or indeed ladylike to be taking sneaky pics of the Surrey manager’s legs. Not that I do that kind of thing usually, you understand.


Anyhow, neither Ramps nor KP were playing. The former didn’t surprise me but I have to say the latter did somewhat...I’m not sure why but I had kind of expected him to be there. It didn’t bother me especially: it was specifically de Bruyn and Spriegel I had come to see in the absence of the maestro. I was richly rewarded with the opportunity to take lots of photos...worryingly it appears I took 414 with my recently revived camera (the one that KP didn’t kill last year). I wasn’t aware I’d taken even half that amount! Spriegel of course takes top honours with his gallant 80+, and subsequently his long stay at the crease meant that most of my 414 photos appear to be of him. I would like to take this opportunity to assure Matthew that I am not a crazed stalker: I’m merely an amateur photographer who sometimes forgets to put the lens cap back on!

I was pretty sure at one point I spotted Churchy on the roof. He must have been mighty nithered by the cold, even if he had the best view in the city! I can’t remember much about the game itself. This doesn’t mean it was boring: it means that the cold had permeated my brain to the extent that I was debating leaving the Grange 5 overs into the Scotland innings. I was receiving texts from my trusty band of fellow Rampants: something along the lines of:

ME: I spy RHB!

ANSWER: Is he looking good?

ME: I dunno...he didn’t stick around long enough for me to find out!

And so on and so forth.

The other nagging worry which stopped me from relaxing and enjoying myself as much as I would have liked was the fact my PC monitor had chosen that morning to blow up. Being disconnected from the internet these days is a bit like going cold turkey. It did not make for a relaxed Miah! No Facebook! No Twitter! I’d have to go back to drawing, embroidering, reading books and being intellectual like wot I used to be before I got a computer! The horror! Well, it made my mind up: I am definitely getting a smart phone so I can listen to the cricket at work.

Much as I enjoyed freezing my bahookie off whilst watching Surrey thrashing my home team, a feat which is a bit like watching Godzilla take on Mole from ‘Wind in the Willows’, the day was somewhat spoiled by the fact I was surrounded by people who didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on (or at least liked to give the impression they did). First of all, a man who decided to come in and sleep with his paper on his knee. How can you sleep with gale-force winds blowing all the empty seats around you? And when he went it was to be replaced by a young lady and gentleman, the former who had decided that Ramps no longer played at all for Surrey because “he was too old”.

I bit my tongue.

The worst was the gentleman who scarce stopped talking to his friend for four hours, and who was complaining bitterly about the amount of South African born people in the Surrey squad. He was most disappointed to look at his program and find out that Spriegel was born in England! He also had the temerity to chastise the female announcer who had about three different attempts at saying de Bruyn’s name without being able to decide which the correct pronunciation was. Of course, Mr Know-it-all decided that his version was correct. At which point I was rather rude and cut in to the conversation and told him exactly how to pronounce it! I’m not usually that ill mannered, but I was rather fed up at this point and I figured that as he was sharing his conversation with everyone in a twenty foot radius that it wouldn’t matter if I did likewise!

By the end of the day I learned that his brother-in-law’s wife makes excellent crisps, he doesn’t like cats or small dogs and he doesn’t play as much tennis as he used to. Frankly, I’m surprised his wife didn’t take one of his tennis rackets and smash it over his head! He left to get something to eat at lunchtime whilst Spriegs was still making steady and relentless progress, convinced that Surrey wouldn’t get much over 200.

Is there ever an appropriate moment to blow raspberries from the comfort of your own blog?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Wanted for assault: have you seen this bird?

We like Leicestershire.

Surrey enjoy beating Leicestershire. They beat them in the four day game that turned out to be a three day game, and now they’ve beaten them in the CB40! With all due respect to Leicestershire they probably aren’t one of the stronger sides in division two, but a win is a win where Surrey is concerned. And now that’s four wins on the bounce since the right royal doing over that Middlesex gave them not so very long ago.

I’ve been impressed with the character and the resilience that Surrey have began to show. Not so many years ago when looking as if they were facing an impossible task the old Surrey would have tamely folded and bared their necks to whatever attack was raining down upon them. Even if the quality of the performance on Sunday was only a smidge better than workmanlike, it was gutsy and displayed a self-belief that was often absent at certain points last year.

This was best displayed in the first quarter of the game when Surrey managed to lose their first three wickets rather cheaply. Instead of flapping about like a seagull suffering Montezuma’s Revenge they elected to build the total up gradually, taking singles and consolidating their score rather than swinging the bat willy nilly. The score that they ended up with (206-8) was hardly earth shattering and slightly vulnerable to an assault from the likes of Taylor and Du Toit, but considering the dodgy start it was a more than decent effort. The skipper top-scored for the Lions with 57, whilst Maynard (55), Spriegel (28) and Schofield (26) all pitched in with handy little contributions. I couldn’t help but wonder what the watching crowd were making of it, and if perhaps they were wondering if Surrey could defend their total. If the past was anything to go by it was going to be touch and go!

Sure enough, Leicestershire stormed well into the lead and never looked like crumpling until the spin of Gareth Batty was brought into play. From that moment on the game began to hot up, with Cobb dismissed for 45 and, crucially, Taylor falling victim to some nicely measured bowling from de Bruyn for just 3! Five overs or so of Taylor would have made the difference in the game, and once again the skipper demonstrated a certain tactical cleverness in terms of when he made his bowling changes. Jones and Boyce fell for 3 and a duck respectively, and suddenly things swung back Surrey’s way.

But matters began to get a little hairy thanks to Leicestershire’s rooky wicket keeper Dixey, a man whose name keeps causing my cat all manner of confusion (his name’s Dexy). Every time my poor puddy tat is in the room and Churchy mention’s Dixey’s name, the wee hairy fella keeps staring around him in bafflement! Anyhow, keeper Dixey played an absolute blinder to score 42. Whilst he was in you felt there was a chance that Leicestershire might sneak it back! And then there was that horrible, agonising late partnership between Hoggard of all people who had somehow reinvented himself as a batsman and decided to rain fours and sixes down upon Surrey from the position of a defiantly wagging tail! I mean, honestly! Who told Hoggy he could bat?!? He’s rarely shown signs of it before in such an exuberant manner!

If there was one star in the game I would have to pick Meaker. He’s getting a really useful reputation for knocking over the tail end batsmen, which is an invaluable commodity – especially as dismissing the tail has very often been Surrey’s major weakness. When he cleared up Dixey and Leicestershire were all out for 189 I slumped exhausted back in my seat! What a hard-fought victory it had been for Surrey, and in the end well deserved.

I’m not sure how much longer Surrey are going to have Mr Meaker at their disposal, and whilst it’s a stupendous honour for both players and club I think Surrey might once again find themselves with a weakened bowling attach, with Tremlett, Dernbach and Meaker all involved at various levels of the England setup.

So, three out of three wins for Surrey in the CB40, putting them firmly at the top of their group. Even if it starts to crumble a little from here it’s already a huge step up from last year. I know he’s not necessarily popular with everyone but I think Chris Adams has to take a huge amount of credit for starting to turn Surrey’s year around. The young players who are in the squad or on the fringes of it are those who have been identified as having the right attitude, and those older members the ones with the talent and the dedication to set a good example. It makes for a very good blend indeed.

A final note has to go to the recovery of the poor pigeon that was basically subjected to a vicious assault by a crow and a magpie in front of thousands of Oval witnesses. Hero of the hour keeper Dixey stepped in to pick up the mugged and concussed creature, handing it into the tender care of Bill Gordon who took the pigeon to his hut to recuperate from its ordeal. I have to say that although it made a full recovery I was concerned for its welfare for a while.

Bill still has his cat, doesn’t he? I know mine’s partial to pigeon...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

On the up

Ugh! I have a cold: one that started during the final knockings of the Surrey Leicestershire game. I could feel its germy microbes spreading through my body just as Nathan Buck’s stump decided to go its separate way from the others. But even although I am typing this with a head that feels as if it’s filled entirely with custard my good mood cannot be assuaged: Surrey won their game yesterday in very good time, and with considerable style.

From bottom of division 2 to fourth spot in one fell swoop! I can only assume that winning the two CB40 games has managed to generate a little momentum within the squad, and having the likes of Tremlett and Ramps back must have boosted the team no end. Whatever the reason, Surrey batted supremely and then backed it up with some really fine bowling as well, as they did unto Leicestershire what Middlesex did unto them the week before.

There were standout performances but this truly was a team effort, and this was the most impressive thing about the Surrey display. How many times have they unfairly been called a one-man unit? True, that man in particular played his part but today there was a real sense of coming together, and as the run tally grew so did the confidence in the side. De Bruyn was every bit the solid number 4 batsman and again scored over 60 runs, whilst Ramps fell just 9 agonising runs short of his first century of the season. Credit to him though: to score 91 in just your second innings in the campaign, having not struck a ball in anger since November is very impressive indeed. For Ramps neither the passage of time or injury has diminished his ability to score runs for his side.

Steven Davies came in with licence to swing the bat, which is precisely what he did until getting out for 37, at which point the plug was pulled by Surrey. Then began the almost impossible run chase as Leicestershire faced the unenviable task of having to carve into a sizeable lead of 423 with five sessions remaining! For Surrey there remained the possibility of rain on the fourth day, and so they set about Leicestershire: a contest that on the face of it was every bit as unequal as a Rottweiler taking on a well-chewed slipper...

Only one man put up any real fight against a revitalised Surrey, and that man was of course the diminutive James Taylor. During the course of his plucky stay at the crease he was on the receiving end of many brutal deliveries, in fact I’m surprised he’s still in one piece (or possessing all his teeth)! The others, Boyce apart with his 41 runs, all capitulated to the constant Surrey barrage: Meaker cleaning up the tail enders with ruthless efficiency claiming 4 wickets in total, Arafat taking 1, and Dernbach showing exactly why the England selectors came calling at the beginning of the year with a stupendous fivefer! It was only right that the final wicket of Taylor fell to him, and the delight at Surrey’s first victory of the season could be seen amidst the joyous celebrations within the team.

It was another good moment for skipper Rory. He seems to be learning all the time, and if Surrey can claim another victory this weekend over Leicestershire in the CB40 then perhaps the collective fortunes of the team are indeed on the up.

Fingers crossed, eh?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Hurrah! All is well at stumps!

Leicestershire v Surrey at the Oval: Day Two

Okay, so here’s the situation after two days of playing Leicestershire at the Oval in the county championship:

We’re actually doing rather nicely! Never thought you’d hear that one, did you? Admit it! When was the last time that Surrey really looked like steamrollering the opposition on day two?!? to sum up two days? Well, we lost the toss and were surprisingly (well, to me at least) stuck in. I snuck a quick look at the BBC score card just to see who was batting, then resolved not to look at the score until I got home. I walked in the door to see my dad with the Ceefax score on TV, at which point I shrieked at him not to tell me anything. There then resembled a scene straight out the Likely Lads where he endeavoured to spoil the whole thing any way he could, which ended only when I walked up the stairs with him shouting “158 all out!” A total lie, I knew, but bloody irritating nonetheless!

As it transpired Surrey fell short of a third bonus batting point by a nostril hair, something that will have irked them, as they were all out for 294. With the wicket displaying a distinctly green tinge to enable the Surrey pace attack to blitz the opposition into submission the batsmen seemed to find it difficult to get in, or indeed stay in, as they might on the old, dry wickets prepared by the lovely Bill Gordon. But as it later transpired it was to be a decision of pure brilliance.

The problem of the opening spot was solved by the captain gallantly going against all usual inclinations and dropping down the order, his new batting partner the talented Jason Roy. It’s great to see Jason, or Trigger as we call him, nail down a slot in the squad even if it isn’t where he would prefer. I’ve heard people say he would be better at three, and he probably would feel more at home there, but I’m afraid he’s going to have to bide his time as that particular berth is taken at the moment! He can wait his turn. The King is still in his parlour! As Chris Adams said, his time will come when the likes of Ramps and de Bruyn finally hang up the bat, but in the meantime he has the opportunity to play his own game at the top of the order, with license to tonk the ball as he sees fit!

Alas, it didn’t work very well on day one, as Roy made a somewhat inauspicious 5 before being given out lbw to one Matthew Hoggard. Ramps seemed to play very well, which came as a great relief to all who must have been wondering how the injury might have affected his ability to run. It certainly didn’t alter his ability to hit the ball! He eventually got out to a really good piece of bowling by Nathan Buck, a talented individual who actually seems to be one of the few people who can get the maestro out repeatedly! Thirty seven may not have been up there with his best efforts, but from someone who may have been trying to get rid of the cobwebs accumulated from sitting on the sidelines it wasn’t too bad in the context of the game.

The skipper made a useful 41 (de Bruyn making one less) whilst Maynard stole the first innings with a frisky 70. Down the order Arafat contributed 44 at exactly the right time, and although the score looked considerably smaller than would have been expected the bowler friendly wicket soon turned to bite the Leicestershire batsmen in exactly the same way it had the home side.

The total achieved by Leicestershire on day two was a rather lowly 183, thanks largely to a magnificent display of fast bowling from Meaker who took four wickets, but the others all chipped in with two for Dernbach, two for Tremlett and one for Batty and Arafat. There are plenty of dangerous players in the opposing team but primarily I’m thinking of James Taylor, who appeared dwarfed next to the considerably statuesque figure of Jefferson (think Don Estelle next to Dave Prowse in his Vader heyday and you have the right idea). He is the one man in the side that needs to be nipped out quickly. Surrey will have to hope they can do so again when they next get the chance because if they don’t there’s a danger he might somehow contrive to make the game a safe draw for Leicestershire. Topple him and that becomes a less frightening reality.

Jason Roy stepped up to the plate, as he often has done when given the chance, with an eye-catching innings of 76 – equalling his highest ever first class score. I say eye-catching but it was more breathtaking, at least in terms of the short amount of time he accumulated his runs. The skipper fell for 14 this time, leaving Ramps to come in and hit his first 50 of the season. At the end of play he had managed a classy 53 not out, with de Bruyn playing counterpart with 14 not out. Fingers crossed both can really kick on tomorrow. Nobody would expect Ramps to get a century in his first game back from injury, but he does seem to have the habit of scoring big in his primary match of the season. Sooner or later he is going to break the 35,000 first class runs barrier and whilst he may not celebrate statistical milestones that is one that probably should be savoured. There are not too many people in the future are going to manage it.

So, Surrey will head off tonight much the happier of the two sides. The lead already is substantial, and at the time of writing this de Bruyn and Ramps are still there, waiting to twist the knife further. Tune into @surreycricket on the internet because an hour or so of those two at the crease and it won’t be pretty for Leicestershire...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Victories, balls and farewells


That’s what Surrey showed today. Big, massive ones at that! In a metaphorical sense, you understand. Displaying the non-metaphorical ones in public can result in arrest. Just ask any streaker worth his salt.

I don’t know if there was something in the Rosebowl air today, or whether Surrey were high on the back of their heady win over Scotland yesterday. I don’t know if maybe Deirdre, fresh from having her ashes scattered at the Oval today decided to look down at the teams from on high and have a laugh. Whatever the truth, today’s humdinger of a match just about caused me a peptic ulcer! Something decidedly odd seemed afoot almost from the word go.

I mean, Hants are chock full of decent players. And one by one – and at regular intervals – they dropped like ninepins! I’m not one for casting aspersions on the boys abilities and certainly Surrey are a more than reasonable team, but if you’d asked me if they’d have Hants all out for 141 in 30 overs I’d have probably spat my cup of tea out at your face in disbelief! How long have the doom merchants, naysayers and long-suffering “I can remember when we were invincible” brigade been hankering after a display like that?

It did seem a little too good to be true, to be honest. I’m afraid, with all due respect to our wonderful bowlers, I had suspicions something was up with the pitch. And when Hants began their response in the same manner as Surrey had, with wickets tumbling all over the shop, I felt all the more certain that the Rosebowl was misbehaving unexpectedly. Not in a naughty “call the ECB inspectors” way, I hasten to add. It just didn’t seem to be going the way either team had anticipated. By all accounts it should have been a marvellous batting track, and yet the ball dominated the bat in an almost obscene manner.

Take the Hants innings for example. The top score made by a batsman on their team was a slightly incongruous 34 from Dawson. The next highest score was 21 from McKenzie! With other scores ranging from a first ball duck for Corky to a couple of 15s for Pothas and Howell, things were looking mighty ominous for the home side. 4 wickets fell to a rather imperious Dernbach, with two for Arafat, two for Linley and one apiece for Schofield and Spriegel. I’m pretty sure even the most faithful of Hants supporters would have considered going home at the half way break!

If they did then they would soon have been regretting missing out on one heck of an exciting game. The skipper followed up his single run in the last game with, you guessed it, a single run in this one. I said RHB would have his day – and he will – but it seemingly wasn’t meant to be today. And when Davies, with the score still on 1, followed his captain back up the steps Dominic Cork must have been scenting blood! Worse followed when the experienced de Bruyn was out for 5 with the score on a measly 24, and when Maynard was dismissed for 14 (and then Wilson next ball for a duck) it looked as if another calamitous collapse was on the cards!

Thank heavens then for Jason Roy! I have the feeling (and indeed hope fervently) I may be saying that a lot in future years. He, ably assisted by Spriegel, was the main difference between winning and losing today. Yes, it was a long and protracted journey towards that 142 total that put me slightly in mind of my new treadmill: a lot of huffing and puffing but getting nowhere fast. But riding his luck once again and staying in to make 76 before being bowled was the main factor that Surrey now finds themselves near the top – if not at the top – of their CB40 group. Schofield came in and smashed the last couple of runs required to take them over the line, and although Roy wasn’t there at the end I’m sure he will reflected well upon his performance.

Credit to Spriegel for sticking with him to the end and playing such a pivotal role. His 29 not out was the third highest score in the entire game! And much credit to RHB for his constant mixing up of the bowlers; chopping and changing so that the opposition couldn’t settle at all. He showed a great deal of nous, and certainly in the shorter game he seems very tactically aware. The changes in bowlers he made today, and the times he made those changes, seemed almost inspired.

And so, with a second win under their belts the Surrey Lions can look forward to their next championship game against Leicestershire on Wednesday. Surrey seems to have a reasonable record against them, I think. At least a certain M.R.Ramprakash does. Will he be in the squad? What position will he play if he is? I had heard some ugly rumours about him possibly opening...but that does seem like wasting your best asset. Would you drive your Rolls Royce in a cross-country rally? Openers are there to take the sting out the new ball. Exposing your best player to it straight away seems like sheer lunacy to me, although given the number of times in the past that Ramps has had to come in early with the first wicket down I suppose he may as well open...

Back to the Oval. I mentioned earlier that our very own Deirdre’s ashes scattering took place today. By all accounts it was a very moving experience, even if she did turn up late to her own ceremony! The Rampants who made it to the Oval extend their thanks to the groundsman who both met their party and allowed them on to the pitch. Final word, I think, should go to one of our founding members, Fiona, who expressed the following sentiments on the scattering of Dee’s ashes:

“Gosh it was so very moving - her little patch of grass on the Oval pitch where she will now always be... Oh, and Dee, don't think we don't realise that it was you who ordered that great big gust of wind that took you floating up all over the members area!! Good girl! And her being late was SO Elizabeth Taylor. It was a very lovely day.”

God speed, lovely Dee! xxx

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Burning, drowning and daylight thievery!

Well, the game involving the Surrey 2nd team went rather nicely!

Jason Roy made a not out century for a start, and whilst I’m told he rode his luck on a few occasions he was still there at the end, so fair play to him! He’s shaping up to be the star that many people have said he’d be. And from a more Rampant perspective the even better news was that Ramps made 90! Barring any aggravated knee problems it looks as if the man himself may well be in contention for a possible start against Leics next week! If he does manage this, all I can say is ‘wow’! He must be a really quick healer given the severity of the initial injury back in November. I recollect an awful lot of people predicting he would immediately quit the game as a result. But I guess until you test yourself in a first class match, with all the pressure and exertion that goes with it, how can you make a judgement?

Today Surrey took on Scotland at the Oval in their first CB40 game of the season. I think most sane people would have predicted the Surrey win that ensued (quite comfortably in the end), but Scotland shouldn’t be completely written off. They have one or two players, especially bowlers, who can do the business when required and may well be capable of pulling off the odd shock here and there. Steven Davies yet again fell just short of a century, whilst Roy batted extremely well following on from his century yesterday for the Surrey 2nds. De Bruyn and Maynard delivered the coup de grace in super-quick time, with 7 wickets in hand. The only slight disappointment was the skipper, who holed out quite early on in proceedings; although I’m sure his day will come. As for Scotland; I think they will be a much tougher force on their home turf of the Grange in Edinburgh.

I have interesting memories of the Grange. It is, after all, my local ground: in fact it is 15 mins on the bus from my house. I pass it every day on the way to work, and it always makes me smile to remember the previous occasions I’ve been there. You see, something always happens when I do go to the Grange.

In what I believe was 2007 I went to my first game at the ground. I think it was a 40 over game against Lancashire which, given that Anderson and Flintoff were both playing, they won comfortably. It was about the only thing that was comfortable, however, as I ended up with sunstroke and – just to make my life even more interesting – a massive reaction to the sunlight which caused the skin of my right hand to swell up dramatically so that I resembled ‘The Thing’ from The Fantastic Four. I got sent home from work next day as I couldn’t type at all with it. Even the local pharmacist said she’d never seen a reaction like it before. It felt as though someone had actually microwaved my hand!

In (possibly) 2008 some of the Scottish Rampants attended the Scotland v England game at the Grange. The weather was utterly miserable! Admittedly there was little chance of sunstroke but we sat huddled together under umbrellas for a large portion of the game, until it got so bad they eventually called it off! We traipsed up town in search of a suitable pub to dry off in, so I guess it wasn’t all bad...

Then in 2009 I managed to snag a couple of freebie tickets to a Scotland v Warwickshire game, again I think it was a 40 over match. My sister accompanied me, initially quite keen (the word ‘free’ might have had something to do with it). Unfortunately she has the attention span of an earwig and soon got bored. Despite the fact that I was trying out my new camera’s super-zoom (the one that broke at the Oval last year) and was happily snapping away at Mr Clarke and Mr Troughton amongst others, she decided the beer-fuelled antics of the drunken Brummies behind us were too much and we left early. The moment we left, one of the aforementioned beered-up supporters ran on to the field and stole one of the bails...

So, you see, it’s all go at the Grange! I’m really looking forward to going this year, hopefully with one or two of the Rampants as well. Fingers crossed it won’t end in burning/drowning/daylight thievery!