Friday, 31 August 2012

Harinath sparkles in Taunton draw

The LVCC Division One match between Somerset and Surrey at Taunton has ended in a draw, with Arun Harinath striking his second century in as many matches.

Rory Burns and Zafar Ansari continue from where they left off last night, with Burns the aggressor of the two. He went to his 3rd Championship half century of the season off almost exactly 100 balls, and the left handed pair took their side to our first 100 opening stand this year.

However, Burns didn't last much longer as he was removed by Dockrell for 60. That wicket slowed the run rate down considerably, showing that Surrey seemed to be happy with a draw in this game. Ansari was struggling to score, and he was the next man out for 39, caught off Mahmood. 

That brought KP to the crease, who started from where he left off on Tuesday, hitting Dockrell for 3 fours inside his first 12 deliveries. There was still enough time for him to hit a trademark six before lunch, in which Surrey went into with a lead of 176, and a draw looking increasingly likely. 

However, Somerset opened up with Hildreth and Jones after the break, suggesting that the teams had come to an agreement. However, after a couple of big overs, Pietersen was caught at just the wrong time for a 40 ball 58, to give Jones his 1st First Class wicket. And with that wicket, Somerset brought back their proper bowlers, showing that giving the likes of Jones a bowl may have just been a tactic to get KP out, rather than set up a match.

And with de Bruyn in ahead of Roy, that certainly seemed the case. But Roy was in not long after though, when de Bruyn was caught for 18, as the lead passed 250. Even the introduction of Roy to the crease, despite one big six, the rate didn't really raise as the game edged towards a draw.

Harinath brought up his half century shortly after Roy came in, and after his century against Middlesex a couple of weeks ago, he really is trying hard to earn a contract for next year. Roy failed to capitalise on the opportunity of finding some form though, as he was bowled by Mahmood for 28. 

It was now over to Gary Wilson to try and guide Harinath to back to back centuries, and he did so, as the Pemberton Greenish Academy graduate took 2 off Peter Trego. Hands were shook not long after with Surrey 360-5, with 9 points for us coming out of this game. 

So after the first days play, it is dissapointing that we couldn't win the game, but the weather put paid to that. Lots of good contributions in te game, Meaker with 4 wickets, KP with a brilliant hundred and half century and a hundred for Arun Harinath, who has surely earned a contract for next season, and a place in the side for a while now. 

The main issue that will be talked about with this game is the run out of Alex Barrow. I still believe that Kartik did the right thing, and that was backed up today by the likes of Atherton, Lloyd and Holding. 

Our next game is the penultimate of the season, as Notts travel to the Kia Oval. With Notts still mathematically in the title race, they won't be a pushover, which means the final game at Liverpool will be oh so vital for us to stay in this division. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Trego takes game towards draw

The LVCC Division One match between Somerset and Surrey looks like ending in a draw, after a powerful half century from Peter Trego this afternoon.

After all of yesterday's play was washed out, Surrey had to pick up early wickets to try and force a win in what is now a 3 day game. Play was delayed until 11.40 due to a wet outfield and once they got underway, the Somerset batsman started comfortably.

Lewis and Meaker couldn't find a consistent line and length, and Batty ringed the changes throughout the morning interval. Hildreth was batting in his usual positive manner and he and Jones took their side to Lunch without losing a further wicket, on 151-2.

But straight after the break, Murali Kartik got the wicket we desperately needed, when he trapped the impressive Hildreth LBW for 85. The slow left armer then got rid of the other set batsman, Jones, followed by England batsman Buttler, both leg before, as the Indian was getting fired up after lunch.

He was in the action again when he controversially ran out Barrow as he was backing up. A dismissal that didn't go down well with the opposition's players and supporters, and something you don't see very often. But it was given out by the umpires, and it was a sloppy bit of cricket from Barrow to be so far down before Kartik released the ball.

If Surrey thought they would just roll the hosts over, then they were mistaken, as Peter Trego settled into his usual attacking mode, launching Kartik for two sixes, bringing up his half century before tea. We did make the breakthrough in the penultimate over before the break when Thomas was adjudged LBW to give Kartik his 4th wicket. Somerset 258-7, and slowly taking the game away from us.

The new ball was taken shortly after the break and it made an immediate impact when Meaker had Dockrell caught behind. Trego's superb innings came to an end a few overs later, when Meaker picked up his 3rd wicket, bowling the all rounder for 92. Meaker finished off the innings when he had Kirby caught behind and Somerset had been bowled out for 294, a lead of 23 for us.

We had to bat out 20 overs in the final session of the day, and Burns and Ansari started watchfully, but capitalised on the odd bad delivery from the hosts attack, with Burns the aggressor of the pair. The 50 partnership was brought up inside 14 overs, and they went to the close on 58-0.

So it looks like this game will end in a draw, which is disappointing after the good first day we had, but we cannot help the weather. Our players will be annoyed not to make a breakthrough in the morning session, especially with the way the lower order (apart from Trego) were knocked over quite easily. But that's First Division cricket, and if you don't capitalise on opportunities, it will always be hard to find a win.

With Worcestershire and Lancashire looking as if they will get draws at best tomorrow, a draw for us isn't the end of the world, but with Adams thinking that we need one win to confirm our status in this division, and with title challengers Nottinghamshire being one of the two games we have remaining, the final game of the season against Lancashire is becoming more and more vital. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

KP fires on Day One at Taunton

Surrey will be the happier of the two sides after Day One of the LVCC Division One match against Somerset at Taunton, thanks largely to a brilliant hundred from Kevin Pietersen, and a good opening spell from Jon Lewis and Stuart Meaker.

On a bright sunny morning in Taunton, Gareth Batty won the toss and elected to bat on what is historically one of the best tracks to bat on in the county circuit. There were a few changes from the win over Middlesex, with Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tim Linley dropped, Jade Dernbach away with England, and Steve Davies unwell. That meant a first Championship game of the summer for Gary Wilson, as well as Jon Lewis, leading wicket taker Stuart Meaker and Kevin Pietersen coming in.

Ansari and Burns once again opened but the former continued with his run of low scores in this format when Kirby trapped him in front for 3. Even though he played that match saving innings against Warwickshire, I’m not totally convinced Zaf is an opener, and will eventually bat at 5 or 6 in the order.

It was tough for the batsman early on, as Harinath and Burns were batting together for the first time in the First team since their record partnership nearly 2 weeks ago. However, they couldn’t repeat that today, as after a couple of wayward overs, on-loan Saj Mahmood bowled Burns for 23 and after taking us towards lunch with KP, Harinath was undone by Dockrell for 21, as the hosts would have been the happier of the teams with us 84-3 at the break.

Pietersen started positively after the break, and alongside de Bruyn, began to take Surrey up towards a decent score, laying a platform for the lower order. However, in the space of 6 balls, Kirby picked up two wickets, first getting de Bruyn caught behind for 34, ending the 91 run partnership, and then having Roy without scoring in similar fashion, and the hosts were back in the box seat.

However, with KP still at the crease, we still had a chance of posting a reasonable score. He was batting at his fluent best, and went to a sublime hundred with a boundary off Thomas, his second consecutive hundred in the Championship, and he really is showing what England are missing. He and Wilson took us to tea 5 down, closing in on a 2nd batting point.

That point was swiftly brought up after the interval, but KP quickly began to lose partners at the other end. Wilson was stumped for 27, before Batty, Meaker and Lewis fell in the space of a few overs. He brought up his 150 with a six off Dockrell, which had come off just 152 balls. The last wicket pair of KP and Kartik managed to take us to a 3rd batting point, when the Indian spinner hit Dockrell for a 6 and a 4 off successive deliveries. It was the first time we had got to 3 bonus batting points since Guildford, where KP was also playing.

After another maximum from Kartik, Pietersen’s outstanding innings was finally ended when he edged behind on 163 to give Mahmood his 4th wicket. Surrey all out for 317, a score we would have got nowhere near if it wasnt't for KP.

The hosts had 14 overs to bat out this evening, and off just the 4th delivery, Lewis had Suppiah caught behind. Meaker then had Trescothick when he top edged a pull up in the air, and Meaker took the catch off his own bowling. Somerset finished the day on 42-2, with Jones and Hildreth at the crease.

So a great opening day for us then, after winning the toss and batting first, Batty will be happy that we have got over 300, but it is disappointing that none of the other batsman could make a sizeable contribution. KP was once again quite brilliant for us, taking his seasons average in the LVCC to 159, at a strike rate of just under 100. His innings today contained 3 maximums and 20 fours, and he has now scored 60 more runs than de Bruyn in this competition, in a remarkable 19 less innings.

Tomorrow we will be looking to pick up some early wickets and continue from where we left off tonight, on a pitch that did give some assistance to the quicker bowlers today, and try and gain a first innings lead.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Surrey win on emotional night

Surrey have beaten Glamorgan by 96 runs in the CB40, to keep their chances of qualification to the knockout stages a possibility.

The afternoon started off with a lap of appreciation for the 40 or so cyclists who took part in the ride to raise money for the Tom Maynard trust. A brilliant effort from them, with Tom's dad Matthew leading the peloton onto the outfield. After a minutes applause in memory of Tom, the cricket was ready start, as Batty won the toss and elected to bat.

Davies could only last until the second over when he played onto Wagg, but RHB was looking much better until he reached 28 when he gloved a short ball through to Wallace. A promising innings from the former skipper, showing glimpses of the RHB Surrey supporters know well.

Roy's poor season in this form continued as he was caught and bowled off a Simon Jones slower ball. KP was looking ominous until Simon Jones bowled him with a wonderful swinging delivery on 42, to reduce us to 4 down for less than 100.

Spriegel and de Bruyn recovered the innings a little until de Bruyn was caught behind, but Spriegs and Ansari put together the biggest partnership of the innings to make sure we would post a respectable total. Ansari, Batty and Kartik fell quickly after one another, before Spriegel went to his first 50 of the competition this season. Once again a good, and much needed innings from the left hander.

Thanks to a few lusty blows from Meaker (21*) we managed to get to 219, but at the half time break it was felt to be 20 or 30 short.

Meaker was back in the action in the Glamorgan innings, when he bowled Wallace in the second over of their reply. It was the paceman's 50th wicket for us in all competitions this season. Allenby was then caught by Meaker off Spriegel in the deep to reduce the visitors to 10-2. After a dangerous looking knock from Chris Cooke, he was run out by KP after being sent back by Rees.

Rees and former Surrey batsman Stewart Walters then fell in successive overs, with Kartik and Batty picking up one each, as the Dragons were faltering on 61-5 in the 15th. It got better for us in Batty's next over, when Brown swept him behind square and Zafar Ansari took a stunning catch on the edge of the circle. This time it was Batty who had gone to his 50th wicket in all comps this season.

The last recognised batsman in the Glamorgan line up, Marcus North, was bowled by a ball that kept low to give the skipper his 3rd wicket of the night. Dernbach then had Harris caught down the legside and after a quick partnership between Cosker and Wagg, Ansari and Spriegel picked up one each and we had won by 96 runs.

An emphatic and very satisfying victory on an emotional night for the players and supporters of both teams, and we have kept alive our hopes of qualifying for the Semi Finals. Spriegel was once again the stand out player, playing a hugely important and mature innings in the context of the game. He really is becoming a star player in our List A line up.

Ansari once again batted well, and it is great to see Hamilton-Brown getting some runs once again. Roy and Davies would have been disappointed to get out the way they did, and before he got out, KP looked very good, and if we have him for the rest of the season, it would be a massive help.

So we did what we had to do tonight, which was win, and we now have to beat Somerset a week on Saturday and hope Durham beat Hampshire.

Tonight's game was a tribute to Tom, and we didn't disappoint, as we put in a performance that he would have been proud of.

Monday, 20 August 2012

13 named for Maynard memorial game

Chris Adams has named a 13 man squad for the final home game in the CB40 game this season, the Tom Maynard memorial match against the Welsh Dragons tomorrow afternoon.

The game is being played in honour and in memory of Tom Maynard, who of course played for both of these sides before his untimely death in June of this year. A group of cyclists have set upon a ride this morning, including Tom’s dad Matthew, and will finish their trip shortly before the start of tomorrow’s game to raise money for the recently formed Tom Maynard Trust.

At 11 O’clock this morning, hundreds of people from around the cricketing world tweeted the following message to make people aware of the Trust: “Tom Maynard was a great man and a great cricketer. Support The Tom Maynard Trust and Bike Ride: #tmt55.” The amount of people who conveyed this message showed how many lives Tom had an impact on, whether they knew him personally or not.

The squad once again contains Kevin Pietersen, who will be looking to do better than his golden duck at the weekend. Zander de Bruyn finally found some form after a string of low scores, to take us to a respectable score against Hampshire yesterday, so he will be looking to build on that and end the season on a high. Its fully understandable that Rory Hamilton-Brown has had a run of low scores recently, but he will be looking to get a score tomorrow that would make his best mate Tom proud.

Jason Roy has had a poor season in this competition, averaging just over 10, after being the leading run scorer last year. If Surrey are going to progress in this competition, then they need their key players to find some form and take them through to the Semi Finals. One of those key players is Steve Davies, who hasn’t been anywhere near his best this season in all forms of the game, but is currently Surrey’s leading run scorer across the 3 formats, which shows how poor the likes of de Bruyn have been.

Matthew Spriegel and Zafar Ansari are also two key players with both bat and ball, both playing very different innings with the bat yesterday, but equally effective. Having them as a spin option in the side is so vital, and Spriegel’s role of opening the bowling is really suited to him, and even though he doesn’t pick up bucket loads of wickets, he keeps it tight.

Murali Kartik has started to find some form, and alongside Gareth Batty, we have 4 quality spinners for this form of the game. Batty is 2 away from 50 wickets in all competitions this season, with Stuart Meaker one ahead of him on 49, and has so for several weeks now, as he has been away with the Lions.

We currently sit 4th in the table, 3 points behind Hampshire at the top, but we do have a game in hand on all 3 teams above us. The simple equation for us is that we must win our final two games of the group to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the Semi Finals, and that may not be enough. The best second place team looks like it will go to a team from Group C, so we have to beat Glamorgan and Somerset and hope Hampshire lose to Durham later this month.

Basically that means if we lose tomorrow, we are out of the competition. Good luck guys, and make Tom proud.

Surrey Squad:
Gareth Batty (C)
Rory Hamilton-Brown
Steve Davies (WK)
Kevin Pietersen
Jason Roy
Matthew Spriegel
Gary Wilson
Zander de Bruyn
Zafar Ansari
Murali Kartik
Stuart Meaker
Jon Lewis
Jade Dernbach

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Spriegs leads Surrey to victory at Trent Bridge

Surrey have beaten the Nottinghamshire Outlaws in the CB40 at Trent Bridge, thanks to a match winning performance from Matthew Spriegel.

Gareth Batty won the toss and with the way we batted at Guildford in the back of his mind, he chose to bowl first. The two players to be left out of the final X1 was Jon Lewis as expected, and Rory Burns, as Zander de Bruyn was once again named in the side.

Surrey opened the bowling with Spriegel from one end and Kartik from the other, and it was Spriegs who made the early breakthrough when he bowled Lumb as he tried to cut. Spriegs was back in the wickets in his next over when the dangerous Wessels was caught well by Roy at short midwicket.

Dernbach, who was bowling expensively, banged one in at Patel who could only mistime a hook down to fine leg, where Ansari took a brilliant running catch. Jade then had his second in his next over when Hales cut him to de Bruyn at backward point, and the hosts were 52-4 after 12. 

Spriegs bowled his 8 overs through from the start, just like he did at Guildford, going for just 21 alongside his 2 wickets. Great stuff from him once again, and he really is becoming a vital part of our one day set up. The spinners continued to impress as they were bowling the majority of the overs, but Chris Read and Adam Voges were rebuilding the innings, going past 100 after 26 overs. 

Just as the pair started to up the tempo, Kartik bowled a beauty to Voges which gripped and turned, took his outside edge and Wilson took a good catch at slip. Ansari then had the Notts skipper caught by Spriegel in the deep, as Surrey took a firm hold on the game. And it was three in three overs, when off Kartik's last ball, White was run out by Roy. Notts 128-7 off 32 overs. 

The skipper then picked up wickets number 8 and 9 in the space of 4 balls, before Dernbach bowled Fletcher with a wonderful slower ball. The hosts all out for 149 inside 38 overs, and a great performance from our bowlers.

With some out of form batsman in our line up, and with RHB not playing in the first team for 6 weeks, it wasn't going to be an easy chase as the pitch looked hard to bat on, especially off the spinners. But it was the seamer Harry Gurney who made the breakthrough, when RHB edged behind as he advanced. Not the greatest shot, but I didn't expect much from him in his first game back.

Roy then went first ball, as he fended off a brilliant short ball from Gurney straight to gully. The two wicket keepers, Wilson and Davies, had to try and rebuild the innings. They did that, bringing up the fifty inside 14 overs, with runs gradually coming a little freer. They were ticking along nicely, until Davies played a poor shot in the circumstances, getting caught off a top edge looking to hit over the top.

Spriegel joined Wilson, and the runs really started to dry up. A succession of 11 dot balls led to Wilson running down and missing to White, going stumped for 29, and Surrey had a big job on their hands to win the game.

The runs were really hard to come by, with the hosts not allowing quick singles, and bowling well enough do that our batsman couldn't find the rope. However, in the 27th over, the shackles were broken when Spriegel took 10 off two Mullaney balls, as the hundred came up with the loss of 4 wickets. But de Bruyn went a couple of overs later, giving an easy catch to short midwicket. He is obviously in terrible nick and I don't understand how he gets in ahead of Rory Burns. 

Spriegel was taking us towards victory, hitting White for a four and a six, before getting caught on the boundary as he tried to bring up his 50. A good innings of 47 by Spriegel, but with already 10 off the over, it was a pretty brainless shot. With 15 required, the skipper Batty took 10 off a Samit Patel over, including a huge six over midwicket.
And then the job was done when Ansari launched White over long on for six, and we had won by 4 wickets.

It wasn't the prettiest of victories but a fantastic win nonetheless. As the commentators pointed out several times, our first meaningful win since Tom sadly passed away, and it was so sweet when Zafar hit the winning runs with a gorgeous six.

A special mention for the man of the match Matthew Spriegel, who was the pick of the bowlers and was without doubt the best batsman of the evening. It was a shame that he couldn't see us over the line personally, but it was a great performance from him, and reignites the belief that he is so vital in our team, and I would be upset if he moved on at the end of the season.

We now move top of Group B, ahead of Notts and Hampshire who had also played 8 games. We now have 6 days until our next game, the must win LVCC game at Chester-le-Street against Durham, and let's hope we can take heart from this victory into that one. Come on the Rey!

RHB returns for CB40 at Trent Bridge

Rory Hamilton-Brown has been named in a 13 man squad for the CB40 clash against the Nottinghamshire Outlaws tonight at Trent Bridge.

Rory has been on compassionate leave for the last 6 weeks due to the death of his close friend Tom Maynard, and I would personally like to say that it is great to see him back. Our team is a far better team with him in it, even though he won’t be captaining tonight as Gareth Batty continues to deputise, and I feel his return to the side will give all the other players a lift. Even though he scored a run a ball 26 for the second team yesterday, he will be rusty, and I don’t expect much from him tonight, but it is just brilliant to see him back. Good luck Rory.

Our best one day bowler, Jade Dernbach, has also been named in the squad, and with RHB, our side looks far better than the one who were easily beaten by today’s opposition at Guildford 2 and a ½ weeks ago. Jade hasn’t played for Surrey since the Kent game on June 17th, the day before Tom tragically died, so it will be initially difficult for him, but the injury he sustained for England allowed him to have some much needed time away from the game.

Alongside Dernbach in the seamer ranks are Stuart Meaker and Jon Lewis. Throughout the competition this year, three seamers have played in the side, even though last year we went with the 5 spinners and 2 seamers. However, I would be inclined to leave out Lewis, who has been nowhere near his best in the last few weeks, as the break during the T20 seems to have done him no good whatsoever.

Matthew Spriegel and Zafar Ansari are the two all round spin options in the side, and are both key parts of our make up in one day cricket. The main deliberation will be whether an out of form Zander de Bruyn or an in form Rory Burns are going to be picked in the final X1. On current form I would without doubt leave out de Bruyn, who seems to be adding nothing batting or bowling wise at the moment, and the way he got out trying to save the game the other day was appalling. Rory has just started to show his Second X1 form in the First team, so I would pick him ahead of the 36 year old.

A couple of other batsmen out of form, especially in One Day cricket, are Jason Roy and Steve Davies. Roy hasn’t scored above 15 in the CB40 this year, a competition in which he was the leading run scorer in the country last season. Davies has scored a couple of half centuries in the CB40, but they were a few months ago, and his recent form has been well below par of what we know it can reach. Let’s hope they can both find some form tonight.

This is an important game tonight if we want to qualify for the Semi Finals. So far we have won 4 out of 7 games, with two abandoned and one loss. Last year we only failed to win 2 of the 12 games, and even though Notts are probably the strongest team in the group this year, we have to come away from tonight’s game with two points. If not, then we would realistically find it difficult to qualify.

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

Nottinghamshire Squad-
Chris Read (C+WK)
Michael Lumb
Alex Hales
Riki Wessels
Adam Voges
Samit Patel
Steven Mullaney
Graeme White
Jake Ball
Harry Gurney
Andy Carter
Luke Fletcher