Surrey capped off an impressive all round performance by wrapping up a 10 wicket win inside three days at Grace Road this evening, keeping the flicker of hope that promotion is still possible just barely alive.
Rory Hamilton-Brown took his season's tally to 943 runs (seventh in division two) at an average of 41, and a strike rate of 80. His talent is unquestionable, though it is equally unquestionable that he is far from the finished article. He and Davies knocked off the 111 runs required in just 16 overs - and a good thing they did too because the forecast for tomorrow might have made a result very difficult.
The win was set up thanks to another sterling performance from the man making the running in the player of the season stakes, Tim Linley. His career-best haul of 6-57 took him to 59 wickets at 18 apiece and he has now taken at least one wicket in each of the last 17 innings he's bowled. To say he's been the backbone of the bowling attack is an enormous understatement. Ojha took another two wickets to end with 4-48 in the match and Gareth Batty also collected two. Chris Jordan toiled through 22 more overs for no wicket, his five wickets in four games this season have only arrived once every 19 overs and at a cost of 74 runs each.
As the ever vigilant Marcus Hook points out on Twitter, Surrey's last seven results read WLWLWLW - we always knew consistency would be an issue this year! This is though, the first time we've recorded five Championship wins in a season since 2007, progress that might not be startling, but it's progress nonetheless.
Given the decidedly grim-looking forecast for Northampton tomorrow their game with Middlesex looks to be heading for a draw. That will leave Middlesex on 183 points and Northants on 201 - with us back on 160 points and a game in hand over Northants. And to add a little extra spice, we're playing Northants next week. If we beat them we would be on a real roll and who knows where it might take us. This could be the making of Hamilton-Brown as captain, not to mention a real test of the mettle of the rest of the side. It's still the longest of long shots, and weather might yet play a part, but what's the sense in giving up hope?
This game was a comprehensive three-day dismantling, albeit of a side who have comfortably the worst record in the division. However, they say winning is a habit, and maybe we can get into that habit for the final month of the season. Well played.
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