Gareth Batty was a late withdrawal with a side injury so Vikram Solanki captained the side for the first time. He duly won the toss and for some unfathomable reason elected to bowl first. On a small ground, a good looking pitch and with the chase to take place under lights surely batting first was the way to go?
The Essex openers got off to a very good start and the platform Westley and Rutherford set quickly started to look formidable. Given the comprehensive battering Ryan ten Doeschate had handed out to Scotland yesterday (180 off 98 balls) and with Graham Napier lurking in the wings, we needed wickets and we needed them early.
As it happened today neither Napier nor ten Doeschate played much of a role in Essex setting the mammoth total of 312. Pettini, Bopara and Shah made solid contributions before James Foster added the gloss with 39 off just 18 balls. Surrey hardly helped themselves though giving away 21 runs in wides alone. Only Stuart Meaker and Gary Keedy escaped with any credit.
To have any hope of chasing the total down Surrey needed a blazing start from the openers. When Jason Roy was comprehensively bamboozled by a Graham Napier slower ball to be clean bowled in the third over a win seemed a long way off. To make matters worse Steven Davies helped a David Masters delivery into the hands of Owais Shah at short third man and the writing was almost on the wall.
Ricky Ponting had to deliver something special for his new club but the Essex bowlers had the ball moving, both through the air and off the seam, far better than Surrey did in their 40 overs. Ponting lasted just five balls before Napier jagged a ball into his middle stump leaving Surrey reeling on 38-3 and already well behind the required rate.
After Solanki was bowled by a good Reece Topley delivery to leave Surrey on 51-4 Azhar Mahmood and Gary Wilson put on a decent but ultimately fruitless 50 partnership. They decided on calling the batting powerplay in the 24th over but it was to little effect. Graham Napier bowled a quadruple wicket maiden, the wickets coming in four consecutive deliveries, to end the match as a contest.
A couple of overs later Napier added his seventh wicket and it was just a matter of time before the game was done. Surrey had recorded a laughably bad four over powerplay score of 13-5. David Masters took the final wicket to put Surrey out of their misery. It was, all in all, a completely dreadful performance.
It is hard to see where our season is going at the moment. The side seem completely devoid of confidence, strategy and ideas. Things aren't working for the club at the moment and something has to change. Chris Adams has been at the club for four and a half years but at the moment we are struggling to keep our heads above water. Given the amount of resource he's had at his disposal the returns are unacceptably poor. It is time for a change.