I vividly remember the Middlesex game last year. Ramprakash soldiering on to a double ton regardless of assured relegation. The grim looks in the eyes of those few there. The piercing sniggers of the Middlesaxons.
All season long I have endured the two-edged sword of second tier county cricket. One the one hand despising the opposition, my pride hurt by every low rent non-test ground we had to visit. But worst was the taunts. Thehontreasurer is a Kent man and if I had a run for every time he said “second class” I could have won promotion on my own.
But on the other hand it has been a glorious summer. Players and humble members alike needed a season of effortless domination to whet the appetite and we got just that. Nine wins, three draws, two losses speaks for itself really. Top of both the batting AND the bowling shouts.
Salisbury has been a man reborn. Butcher, Brown, Clarke and Newman have all batted comfortably over 50. Ramps: 2,000 runs and counting, eight centuries, 300*, and average of 107.60. He has always been a hero, a master batsman. Surely this season has seen him move into legend? Benning has been a one day revelation and his non-selection for England is an open scandal.
There are too many ‘perfect moments’. The best for me was pegging it into the match from work to see Ramps make 300. But most of all, the last ball C&G win over Kent.
I was in Canterbury with my aforementioned Kentish colleague and very, very, well watered on Spitfire. As best I know, I was the only Surrey supporter there and wearing the brown cap was getting me more than a few looks. Sat near the entrance to the pavilion, I won few hearts or minds among the locals by barracking Rob Key on his way in to bat, and fewer by barracking him rather louder from a standing position on his way back, caught for 1 run off 3 balls.
I didn’t mean to, but I am glad I did. Winning by one run of the last ball sent me spilling onto the pitch. Should Mark Butcher ever read this; I was the drunk idiot pumping your hand as you tried to walk off.
Next season could be better yet; our spinners have found form in a way I never hoped for, and while we still need a real fast bowler (Bicknell’s retirement to teach those buggers at Charterhouse has made this even more acute) our batting order will still sweep all before them.
Players and members both have remembered who Surrey are. Sussex and Lancs can expect a few reminders as well.