Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Division One - here we come!

Surrey will be playing division one cricket in 2012 after an extraordinary day capped off an extraordinary month. Less than a month ago we lay in seventh position in division two, had just been hammered by Kent inside three days and the future was looking anything but bright.

However the subsequent four fixtures saw a scarcely believable turnaround in form and the four consecutive wins we needed to be withing shouting distance of promotion were duly delivered. The man who must surely count as the biggest single contributor to that run of victories, Pragyan Ojha, delivered again today in polishing off Derbyshire with 6-48 and 10-90 in the match. In our final four fixtures where we've won 89 of a possible 96 points, Ojha has taken precisely 30% of the wickets to fall - 24 victims at a cost of just 12 runs apiece. It was about time Adams had some luck on the overseas signing front, and what a time to get it. It's a great shame that it seems unlikely he will be available for 2011 - it is imperative that we recruit a world class spinner in his place.

That's not to say there weren't other big contributors. Tim Linley kept on churning out the wickets and Stuart Meaker had a timely return to form - his two five-fors in the final two games were vital. Zander de Bruyn kept up his excellent 2011 form and Steven Davies helped himself to two hundreds. And lastly Tom Maynard stepped up to the plate with an enormously important hundred in the final game.

After the Kent game I had all but thrown in the towel, indeed I said the rest of the season was about gaining respectability and giving the members something to be proud of - boy did they deliver on both those counts! Hamilton-Brown and Adams have been on the receiving end of some fairly strident criticism - some of it from me - but they should now enjoy their moment in the sun. Promotion with a young and relatively inexperienced side is a huge achievement.

So to 2012, can we compete with the best in the country? The kind of batterings we've dished out in the last three weeks suggest we'll be a match for most, and I expect there to be at least two new faces before the winter is out which will hopefully strengthen the side further. Maynard, Roy, Meaker and Hamilton-Brown himself have another season of top level cricketing experience under their belt - all a year older and wiser. This side has a great opportunity to grow together and should only improve as time goes on. And we don't have to worry about the Tiflex ball any more! Talking of Tiflex balls it will be interesting to see whether Ramprakash decides to stick it out for another year. I hope he does, he deserves the chance to go out on a high at the top level.

The players have now got an extra day of rest before Saturday's CB40 final. They go into the game on the biggest possible high and with confidence through the roof - they will be more than a match for Somerset. A win in that game would cap an absurdly successful six days of cricket, and a great climax to 2011. Come on the 'Rey!


Anonymous said...

Great day listening to it on the internet ... slightly gutted it finished early today, as I had tmw booked off work! Managed to get there after tea yesterday to watch a couple of hours though.

Will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. So many of them are young that really the only question mark is Ramprakash as you say.

GreenJJ said...

It was difficult to believe it all as it was happening, I don't want to over-blow this, but it hasn't really sunk in!

You're right it's as interesting to see who goes as it is to see who stays - watch that space I suppose!

Miah said...

If it gives any hope, the man himself recently posted this on the topic of his immediate future:

As of a few weeks ago he was looking ahead to next year, so fingers crossed!

GreenJJ said...

That's interesting, thanks! Well we can but hope hey? I never want to imagine a day when he's not batting for us, and would hate for a two ball duck at the Oval to be his last performance for the club - he deserves better than that. He's had a very poor run of form, but there's not necessarily any reason to think it's anything other than that, and that he won't be back and firing next season. Fingers crossed!

miltonkeynesman said...

In the end it all finished a bit quick. Still another day of relative rest whilst Somerset struggle to hold off Lancs. I was wrong about the follow-on business. A lot of people played a big part in putting together that CC run just as the CB40 team has seen lots of players come to the fore at different times.

Our local news covered the forlorn Northants hopes. Nice ground, friendly atmosphere, genuine shame for them - a real season of two halves. Think they would have struggled in Div 1 and it will be hard for both promoted teams. Worcs are staying up, which I think is the first time in 4 attempts that they have not gone straight back down. They still look the weakest of the 7 remaining Div 1 sides but none of the others are anything less than pretty good on their day.

GreenJJ said...

It was over very fast indeed, two and a half days more or less! Extra days rest is important I think, though not likely to be a deciding factor.

Next year will be tough but with sensible recruitment of 1/2 batsmen and a class spinner, and we'll be challenging. Depending on England duty, we could have an attack of Tremlett, Lewis, Linley, Meaker, Dernbach, Dunn, Jordan to pick from...and a few more besides! Definitely think an opener and maybe a solid middle order bat is required. Feel for Northants of course, so hard on them, but they just totally lost form at the wrong time.

Karan SInha said...

Surrey Cricket Club is on the brink of an exciting future after the promotion to Division One with a clinical innings-and-126-run win over Derbyshire. Pragyan Ojha, the India left-arm spinner who took 6 for 42 for Surrey cruised them home before tea on the third day.

It was impressive run from Surrey as they needed to win their last four matches to stand any chance well led by Rory Hamilton-Brown Congrats

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john brid said...

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