monday 24th september - thursday 27th september


Essex won by 1 wicket at the Kia Oval.


Rory Burns

Captain Rory Burns lifts the trophy alongside Surrey team-mates in front of Members at the Kia Oval at the final home game of the 2018 season.


Monday 24th September - Thursday 27th September

Surrey v Essex

Surrey XI: Burns (c), Stoneman, Roy, Pope, Foakes, Jacks, Patel, Clarke, Morkel, Dernbach, Virdi.

By stumps, on a pitch that eased significantly in the second half of the day, the 2017 title-winners were 130 runs in front with Murali Vijay and Tom Westley putting on 146 in 43 overs for the second wicket to take Essex to 197 for 2 in reply.

Indian Test opener Vijay scored 80 from 127 balls, with 10 fours, before edging Jade Dernbach to the keeper while Westley remained 93 not out.

Vijay and Westley did both enjoy some moments of luck against Surrey’s seam attack but they also played strokes of quality after coming together when Morne Morkel bowled Nick Browne for 2 in the fifth over of Essex’s first innings. It was Vijay’s fourth score of 50 or more in four innings since joining Essex.

Earlier, Surrey had fallen to 57 for 7 by lunch and their lower order managed ten more runs in two overs after the interval as Porter (4 for 26) and Cook (4 for 27) finished the job.

Perhaps surprisingly, there was a toss – with Essex also presumably planning to bat first – but it soon became evident that first session conditions were very much in favour of the quicker bowlers, with both movement off the pitch and uneven bounce making life desperately difficult for batsmen.

Mark Stoneman edged Porter to Wheater behind the stumps in the fifth over, to go for 2, and the same bowler nipped one into Jason Roy’s pads in his next over to send back the No3 for 5.

Surrey captain Burns battled hard for 52 balls before being brilliantly held by Simon Harmer diving forward at second slip – right-handed and millimetres from the turf – off Quinn.

Ben Foakes was leg-before to Quinn’s next ball, leaving Surrey 41 for 4, and although Will Jacks survived the hat-trick ball he was bowled for 0, driving at an inswinger from Cook. And 21-year-old Cook then shaped one back into left-hander Ryan Patel’s pads to dismiss him for 5.

A difficult opening session for Surrey was completed when Rikki Clarke departed for 0, beaten by another Porter off-cutter in the seamer’s second spell, this time from the Pavilion End.

Porter, whose first spell of 7-0-19-2 set the tone for a dramatic morning, was well supported by both Quinn, whose single spell brought him figures of 6-2-10-2, and Cook.

Porter also removed Morkel for 1 in the first over after lunch, caught at the wicket, while Cook bowled Dernbach for 4 through a heave to leg and then had Pope caught at mid wicket.

At stumps on Day Two, Surrey were 88 for 1 in their second innings – still 322 runs behind – after Harmer, Westley and Adam Wheater, with a punchy 68 from 105 balls, had swept Essex to 441 for 8 declared.

Mark Stoneman moved confidently to 41 not out from 63 balls although Rory Burns gave Jamie Porter a simple catch on 21 when Surrey’s captain attempted to flip a short ball to leg.

Harmer and Wheater added an unbroken 159 in 36 overs in the afternoon session, establishing a new seventh wicket record for Essex against Surrey and piling on the agony for the runaway Specsavers County Championship winners after Westley’s dismissal in the last over before lunch.

Wheater, however, had to retire hurt during the tea interval after failing to shake off a nasty blow to his right thumb, suffered four balls before the interval when former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel made one rear from a good length on a pitch.

Harmer then saw Porter and Sam Cook both fall to the persevering Jade Dernbach, who finished with a creditable 4 for 95, before swiping off spinner Amar Virdi for six just over the head of the long on fielder to reach only his second first-class century.

The declaration came soon afterwards, with Harmer unbeaten on 102 from 156 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes – both off the suffering Virdi.

Resuming on 93, Westley took just 12 balls to go to three figures and went on to 134 before tickling a legside ball from Rikki Clarke to keeper Ben Foakes to leave Essex 282 for 6. But the afternoon session belonged to Wheater and Harmer as they crushed any realistic hopes of an unlikely Surrey fightback.

Essex, who bowled out Surrey for a mere 67 in early bowler-friendly conditions, lost both Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara in the second day’s opening hour and Surrey took the second new ball hopeful of making further breakthroughs.

Lawrence was leg-before to Clarke having battled through 77 balls to make 17, and Bopara had scored just 8 when he attempted a paddle-sweep against Virdi – in the last over before the second new ball was taken at 238 for 4 – and was bowled behind his pads.

But Westley stood firm, joined in a fifth wicket stand of 40 by Ryan ten Doeschate before the Essex captain edged Dernbach to gully to go for 27. When he was finally dismissed, Westley had batted for almost six and a half hours, facing 282 balls and hitting 21 fours.

Wheater hit eight fours and a six over long on off Virdi, but was replaced as keeper by substitute Pepper when Surrey batted again. And Essex needed another replacement when seamer Cook could not pass a concussion test – following a blow on his batting helmet during his brief innings, facing Dernbach – and so called up Matt Coles to deputise.

It was the stuff of Champions at the Kia Oval as Surrey, facing a huge first innings deficit of 410 against Essex, fought back thrillingly through memorable hundreds from Jason Roy and Ollie Pope.

So effective was the counter-attack, with Roy and Pope well supported by Mark Stoneman’s 86 and with useful further contributions from Ben Foakes and Will Jacks, who finished on 52 not out, that Surrey were 67 runs ahead by the end of day three after running up 477 for 5.

Roy’s 128 off 151 balls was a fluent and classy effort but even that was surpassed by Pope’s magnificent 120-ball 114.

When Ravi Bopara’s medium pace was introduced in mid-afternoon, Pope plundered him for four offside fours in five balls, forcing Bopara from the attack with his single over costing 17 runs.

Then, when Essex took the second new ball immediately after tea, with Matt Quinn quickly dismissing Foakes for 32 – leg-before, moving too far across his stumps as he shaped to glance – Pope seized the initiative again by racing into three figures by taking 18 from another Quinn over.

First pulling and cutting him for four and six, with the second extraordinary stroke executed with both feet off the ground, Pope then guided him cleverly to third man for another boundary to go to his fifth century in just his 22nd first-class match.

After the hundred celebrations, there was still time in the over for another four, clipped to square leg, and such was Pope’s mastery that it was a surprise when he missed a full ball from Matt Coles – immediately after a shorter delivery had scuttled through disconcertingly low outside off stump – and was adjudged lbw even though television replays suggested the ball was missing leg stump.

Pope had hit 19 fours and a six and it was an innings to savour in glorious late-summer sunshine, although Roy’s hundred took him five balls fewer.

The England one-day international reached his ninth first-class ton from only 92 balls, and he had struck two sixes and 19 fours when he hit a hook at Quinn straight to deep square leg.

Roy had resumed on 23 in Surrey’s overnight 88 for 1, with Stoneman on 41, and the second wicket pair took their fine partnership to 181 in 44 overs and were not separated until after lunch. Left-handed opener Stoneman, who hit a six and 12 fours in his gritty 167-ball knock, fell three overs after Roy when he was bowled by a fine ball from off spinner Simon Harmer.

That merely teamed Pope up with Foakes, however, and Essex’s toil continued as they added 115 on a pitch that had flattened out considerably since early on day one, when Surrey were skittled for 67.

The Specsavers County Championship winners, though, were motivated by a determination to try to finish their triumphant four-day season unbeaten – having won ten and drawn three of their previous 13 Division One matches – and this desire shone out as Pope took over from Roy as the on-field leader of Surrey’s fightback.

Roy was instrumental in taking the attack back to Essex’s bowlers as he drove and pulled with freedom to get the scoreboard rattling along and set the tone for a dramatic day’s play in front of a good-sized and highly-appreciative crowd.

Jacks and Ryan Patel showed further resolve in the final hour to add an unbroken 59 for the sixth wicket, with 19-year-old Jacks reaching a maiden first-class fifty with five fours and sixes launched straight off Harmer and swung over mid wicket off Coles.

There have been many memorable moments of cricket at the Kia Oval this summer, but Day Four of this final match was something spectacular.

Morne Morkel’s 4 for 28 spearheaded Surrey’s brilliant performance in the field as they strained every sinew to prevent Essex from spoiling their unbeaten record in four-day cricket this summer on a pulsating final afternoon of Specsavers County Championship cricket for 2018.

Jade Dernbach and Amar Virdi also played their part, sharing the other four wickets, and a wonderful finish included a crazy run out of Matt Coles when ten Doeschate called his partner for a third run when Coles shouted ‘no’ as it would have left him with three balls of a Morkel over to survive.

Ten Doeschate, who hit six fours, had driven Morkel towards the extra cover boundary but Mark Stoneman dived to pull back the ball just feet from the ropes and Will Jacks, who had sprinted to support Stoneman, threw to keeper Ben Foakes with Coles stranded.

Suddenly, 122 for 8 had become 124 for 9, and ten Doeschate was left with just No 11 Matt Quinn for company as he tried to get his side over the line.

A leg bye meant ten Doeschate kept the strike for Morkel’s 12th over and the 38-year-old took a two and a single from the second and third balls to take Essex to within two runs of victory.

That left Quinn needing to negotiate the last three balls of Morkel’s over and, immediately, he needed attention when an 88mph bouncer thudded into the grille of his helmet. Quinn, though, signalled he was fine, bravely played down the next ball and, to the final ball of the over, saw Ryan Patel dive forward from silly point and narrowly fail to take a catch off the batsman’s glove as he fended off another vicious lifter.

It proved to be Surrey’s last chance to bring off a cricketing miracle, with ten Doeschate turning Dernbach for the winning boundary in the next over, taking Essex to 134 for 9. Ten Doeschate and Morkel sought each other out at the end to congratulate each other on a superb battle.

“What a show for county cricket,” said Surrey captain Rory Burns. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere out there, and that’s the fight we have shown all season. That’s a show of our character, to come back in this match and almost get the win even after being bowled out for 67 in our first innings.”


Watch highlights from every day of play between Surrey and Essex at the Kia Oval.