Surrey eye end-of-season surprise
Posted in Domestic Cricket
Turn your back on the LV= County Championship for a week and you will be surprised what can happen.
Who would have foreseen then Division One leaders Lancashire losing by 10 wickets to struggling Worcestershire last week?
Equally, who would have given Surrey a chance of promotion in a first-class campaign when they have been as inconsistent as the last couple of seasons?
Surrey’s 333-run demolition of Northamptonshire, promotion favourites for much of this season, has offered Rory Hamilton-Brown’s side hope of an end-of-term smash and grab raid.
They are already Surrey sweep past Sussex for the first time since they lifted the inaugural Twenty20 Cup in 2003.
That would involve heaping more final misery on Somerset, who have lost four in three years, in the Clyesdale Bank 40 showpiece at Lord’s on Saturday week.
If that is Surrey's most likely trophy this season, they still have an outside chance, not only of promotion, but of winning Division Two.
That scenario seemed improbable two games ago when they had the same number of wins, draws and losses from 12 championship matches.
Since then they beat Leicestershire by 10 wickets at Grace Road and dispatched Northants just as emphatically at Wantage Road.
Now they are on the road again, this time against Essex at Chelmsford.
Day one saw Surrey slip to 94 for five on a sporting wicket, but recover to post 315 all out thanks principally to all-rounder Chris Jordan’s stubborn 71.
The two batting bonus points the visitors missed with that total means they cannot gain the maximum-point win required to overtake Northants, who are not playing this week, in this round of matches.
However, given Essex’s shaky batting – they have not made more than 207 in their last two championship games – Surrey have hope of victory that would put the cat among the pigeons for next week’s last round of matches.
Indeed, Division Two leaders Middlesex – 26 points ahead of Surrey and three in front of Northants going into this week’s games – may struggle to beat Glamorgan after the opening day at the SWALEC Stadium was washed out.
Should Surrey win and fierce rivals Middlesex fail to this week, that would set up a thrilling last round of matches when Middlesex play at Leicestershire, Northants are at home to Gloucestershire and Surrey host Derbyshire.
With the CB40 final to follow, next week could be a perfect one for Surrey. Championship promotion would match similarly unfancied Worcestershire’s late surge last year. Their shock defeat of Lancashire looks set to keep them in the top flight, emphasising the significance of the end-of-season run-in.