SURREY’S CHAMPIONSHIP: WINNING MOMENTS
SURREY CONFIRMED THEIR SPECSAVERS COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE AT WORCESTERSHIRE EARLIER THIS WEEK WITH THEIR TENTH WIN OF THE CAMPAIGN.
A ninth consecutive victory since opening the season with a win and two draws meant Rory Burns’ side made it home with two matches to spare in Division One.
The triumph, the Club’s first since 2002, means Surrey are the champion county for the 20th time in their history, cementing their position as the second most successful red ball county in the country.
With only an away trip to Somerset and the visit of 2017 champions Essex still to come, Surrey will now be looking to go through the first-class season unbeaten.
However, there have been so many special performances already this year. Here we have a look back on those that led to victories.
FLYING OUT THE BLOCKS
You can’t win the league in the first week of the season but you can definitely put a marker down.
Ollie Pope’s 145 did just that for Surrey and his own prospects; his form would soon lead to England honours.
A low scoring first innings gave Surrey a slight advantage but it was Pope’s stands with Scott Borthwick & Ben Foakes that set the tone.
Although Sam Northeast frustrated Surrey in the Hampshire chase, four wickets for Amar Virdi won it by 139 runs.
YOUNGSTERS BEAT THE STAR-STUDDED YORKIES
Surrey’s two 2018 summer Test debutants couldn’t have not impressed the England captain in this May match.
158 from Ollie Pope and 10 wickets for Sam Curran – including the likes of Joe Root, Cheteshwar Pujara & Adam Lyth – proved the difference against a white rose team with five Test capped players involved.
Two wins from four matches was an impressive statistic but this was just the start.
FIRST DOUBLE COMPLETED
After the block of 50-over cricket, Surrey took on Hampshire again in just their fifth match of the campaign but this time at the Ageas Bowl.
Rory Burns is the King of the Ageas Bowl and he made sure not to miss out on the ground on which he now averages 100.25. His 151, alongside Foakes’ 90, set up a total of 368 that proved to be enough for an innings victory.
Seven wickets for Rikki Clarke and five for Morne Morkel, in his first Specsavers County Championship match for Surrey, were the standout bowling efforts.
GUILDFORD CURSE LIFTED
Ryan Patel’s six-wicket haul for just five runs inside four overs was the clincher as Surrey took their place at the top of the table that has been theirs ever since.
A third century of the red ball season for Ollie Pope set the tone for Surrey before Patel’s first innings blitz and eight wickets in the match for the ever reliable Rikki Clarke knocked the leaders off their perch.
FIGHTING BACK IN SCARBOROUGH
Morne Morkel joined the club at the start of the season but an injury in his final Test had delayed his Surrey start.
He battled back to fitness for the Royal London One-Day Cup but it was his impact in Scarborough that gave Surrey fans their first glimpse of his match winning ability.
Behind the game after the first innings, Morkel blitzed Yorkshire and ended with figures of 5/39 as Surrey were set 229 to win.
They chased it down with seven wickets to spare to end a sunny week by the sea that was played in front of four moving cameras.
CLOSEST CHALLENGERS CRUSHED
Having disposed of Somerset in previous month, Nottinghamshire had since taken over as Surrey’s nearest competitors.
Another Burns century, a Clarke hundred to boot and 11 wickets in the match for the unplayable Morkel put paid to that test as another innings victory was attained at Trent Bridge.
This was a fifth win in a row and one that never looked in danger once Surrey had the ball in hand.
There are a number of ways to shuffle a deck. After several innings victories, this victory was one of more dramatic variety.
While it wasn’t great for the health of fans at the Kia Oval, this six run defeat of Lancashire did lead to some of the wildest celebrations seen in county cricket.
Lancashire needed 90 to win on the final day of this pink-ball game with five wickets remaining but with Morkel in the side, Surrey always stood a chance.
He steam rollered through the lower order before Matty Parkinson clipped to Will Jacks at short leg and an instinctive grab ensured bedlam set in.
SEAMERS BLAST THROUGH NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
Conor McKerr looked set for a long run in the team at the start of the campaign before a side injury cruelly interrupted.
The visit of Notts was his moment to burst back on to the scene after Jade Dernbach, who has bowled beautifully all season, was ruled out.
He grabbed his chance with both hands, claiming seven of the 18 wickets in the match picked up by Surrey seamers.
It was also a big week for Tom Curran who, in his first red ball match of the summer, bowled with the verve that has made him an England international and took six wickets.
Another special week for the bowling attack and a first century of the year for Mark Stoneman.
CHASING TWO AT CHELSMFORD
It wasn’t another innings victory but it may as well have been. Rory Burns hit the winning runs with just two needed in the second innings.
The captain had hit 90 in the first innings to lead his side to 351 all out which was made to look like an exceptional score with another intense spell of seam bowling from McKerr, Morkel, Clarke and Curran.
As Burns and Stoneman strode off the field, Surrey knew the title was only eight points away.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED
A week that ebbed and flowed, ending in glory.
After surrendering a first innings lead, Morkel’s fourth five-wicket haul of the campaign, including his 50th wicket in the competition, brought Surrey back into the match.
With 272 needed to win, Burns and Stoneman shared a big opening partnership before the middle order took the team home for a ninth consecutive victory and a truly deserved title.