Surrey made the heaviest of heavy weather of winning against Gloucestershire today, but win they did - by two wickets approaching the end of the final day with Tim Linley hitting the nervy winning runs.
Surrey made an excellent start to the day, Arafat, Linley, Dernbach and Batty each among the wickets in cleaning up the final six Gloucestershire batsmen for 70 runs, giving us a simple-looking target of 184 in a minimum of 65 overs - a required run rate of less than three.
As ever our openers got off to a rapid start, Hamilton-Brown and Davies put on 50 in 10 overs before Davies was out for 19, his opening partner followed three overs later for for 39. The pair of them will be frustrated at giving themselves a start but not seeing the innings through, between them they have passed 40 just once in the last 16 innings. It seemed that throughout the day the ball was nibbling around, but in a match where 1,200-odd runs were scored, the pitch cannot have been too much of an issue.
Ramprakash came to the crease and it was quickly apparent that he was likely to be the key to a Surrey win as de Bruyn and Maynard failed to add many runs to the total. Jason Roy worked hard with Ramps to whittle the target below the 50 run mark before the big controversy of the day. Ramprakash was squeezing home chasing a tight run and in doing so raised his bat in the air. The Gloucestershire players appealed for obstruction of the field and the umpires concurred, Ramprakash stayed to argue his case but had to go - I suspect there may have been some choice words said in the dressing room! Zafar Ansari followed him back two balls later and the innings was wobbling at 138-6.
Jason Roy continued on his merry way edging Surrey towards the total until, with 23 runs required, Gareth Batty was dismissed and Roy went just six runs later. It was left to Arafat and Linley to knock the winning runs, which Linley duly did though not without significant alarm.
It's easy to underestimate the significance of that win. Yes they made it difficult for themselves but they got over the line in the end. This side doesn't appear to do routine Championship wins all that often! We have now won as many Championship games in 11 matches this season as we did in 16 last year, we may have played some pretty average cricket along the way, but the points table says four wins. Promotion is still a long way off, Middlesex are in a good positions in their game and Northants have a handy lead at the top, but the win today kept the door open just a fraction with five games to play.
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