It went this way and that, but eventually Surrey came out on top against Lancashire today by just two wickets with a single delivery remaining. After reaching 181-1 with Hamilton-Brown playing a captain's knock but falling just short of a hundred on 92 off only 64 balls, he really looks to be hitting his stride nicely.
Davies, opening and Afzaal at three also chipped in with 59 and 43 at better than a run a ball, but thereafter the batting was flimsy, as I feared. Ramps departed for only 23, Spriegel at least a place too high went for 23 and Meaker, Batty and Nel mustered just 8 between them. Ironically after bowling pretty poorly and fielding like he was wearing concrete shoes, Rao hit the winning runs - cutting Mahmood for four.
I think had Chapple played today Lancashire would've come out on top after Stephen Moore hit a very nice hundred. But credit to Surrey's openers, at one point they were rollicking along at nearly 10 an over on a pitch that was perfect for batting, and in reality the only reason it was quite as close as it was in the end was the conditions - damp and very murky towards the end.
The bowling...well there is still much to be desired. When you field 5 front line bowlers you can reasonably expect to keep a team to less than 7 an over, but perhaps the pitch really was that good. I think death bowling really is an area that we are sorely lacking - today 36 runs came off the final two overs, Meaker particularly culpable after the 39th over went for 23.
Lets take the positives, we won, RHB and Davies were superb and the fielding at least initially was excellent (lets just try and forget about the terrible run out miss from Jade in the final over!).
Negatives persist, and if with 5 bowlers we're going to be chasing 300 anyway, we might as well stick in the extra bat and get 10 overs out of our many part timers (RHB again under bowled himself - only one over but he got a wicket, and Afzaal didn't get a single over), and we only chiselled 14 runs from our batting powerplay. It doesn't matter today because we prevailed, but they'll make it a lot easier to do so in future if they tighten up in a few areas!