County Championship
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Kia Oval, London

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Championship Report: Surrey v Warwickshire

Day Four

Surrey dominated the morning session as they took 7 wickets for 67 runs to deny Warwickshire of back-to-back County Championship victories.

As Warwickshire began their chase, in pursuit of the further 142 required, Miles fell on the fourth ball of the day as he was trapped lbw by former bear Rikki Clarke for 9. This nervy start for Warwickshire continued as Hose survived three lbw shouts before scoring and Surrey were convinced they had Sibley caught at third slip for 61 but were denied another wicket.

However it wasn’t long before Surrey took the game away from Warwickshire as they took 7 wickets for 67 runs under overcast conditions which undoubtedly aided their bowlers.

Firstly, in a period where Warwickshire lost 3 wickets in 7 balls, Hose fell lbw to Curran for 21, which broke a 41-run partnership between Hose and Sibley. Then on Lamb’s third ball, he was bowled through the gate by Curran without scoring. In the next over, whilst attempting a quick single Ambrose was ran out who also went without scoring.

In a crucial time of the game, Surrey got the wicket they wanted as Sibley who had batted for 5 hours and showed excellent resilience fell when he was caught and bowled by Morkel for 73, leaving Warwickshire 8 down needing 94 to win.

With a large task placed on the tail, the two remaining wickets fell in quick succession, with Patel being stumped for 8 whilst on the counter attack. The final wicket falling as OHD skied a delivery from Batty which landed back in the bowlers hand, as Surrey had Warwickshire all out for 215, giving them a win by 74 runs.

Day Three

An entertaining day of cricket at The Oval saw Surrey set Warwickshire a testing 290 to win, but resilient batting and Craig Miles’ maiden Warwickshire 5 wicket haul nods the visitors just in front.

The course of the game seemed to changed character across the first two hours of play, with the first two days offering plenty for the bowlers in terms of swing and seam under overcast conditions.

However, in the morning there was little sign of swing as Surrey took the momentum and motored ahead, playing some very fluent shots to increase Surrey’s lead and strengthen their position, with  Warwickshire struggling to restrict the flow of runs at both ends.

A breakthrough did come however, when Miles took a wicket with his first delivery of his spell, as Foakes played a lose shot and was caught at point for 12. He then got the prize wicket of Elgar, as he top edged to fine leg for 53, as his second wicket of his maiden Warwickshire 5 wicket haul.

In what proved to be a key stage of the match, Hannon-Dalby took a wicket in the first over after lunch, with a stunning outswinger trapping Smith LBW for 14. Surrey continued with their aggressive intent, as Clarke added 5 boundaries with 6 balls alongside Curran.

Curran fell soon after although for 52, giving Miles the third of his five wickets, thanks to an outstanding catch by OHD at fine leg. His next delivery found the inside edge of Clark, and landed in the gloves of Tim Ambrose to give him the prestigous milestone of 1,000 dismissals in all formats. His 5th wicket of the innings was an edge from Morkel to give him figures for his afternoon spell of 5-0-25-3.

Jeetan Patel brought the Surrey innings to a close when Clarke departed after a rapid 49, with Surrey ending on 325, setting a testing chase of 290.

Rhodes and Sibley took the crease in difficult, gloomy conditions and managed to see Warwickshire through to tea without loss, needing 268 to win.

They continued their impressive display after tea as they reached 50 without loss, denying Surrey of an early breakthrough. That partnership however came to end when Batty was brought into the attack and trapped Rhodes lbw for a well made 43.

Yates then fell to an impressive ball from Morkel, which he edged behind for 4, after battling a very vocal introduction for the Surrey crowd.

Rikki Clarke and Jordan Clarke were then introduced to attack who made the last hour for Warwickshire incredibly tough with some pin-point accurate bowling that would trouble any batsman. Nevertheless Hain and Sibley showed tremendous resilience throughout that spell as they reached 50 partnership in the 42nd over.

Unfortunately this pair could not continue, as in the concluding overs of the day Hain fell when he was stumped for 26. The departure of Hain brought night watchman, Miles to the crease who endured a tough over from Morkel to end the day which he saw out to guide Warwickshire to 148/3 at close, needing a further 142 to win on the final day.

Day Two

Surrey fought back strongly against Warwickshire on the second day of an engrossing Specsavers County Championship tussle at The Kia Oval.

Surrey closed on 141 for three – 105 ahead – after bowling the Bears out for 230 to restrict their first-innings lead to 36.

The Bears looked set for a more significant lead when they were 158 for three but the home bowlers found the venom that had eluded them the previous day to take the last seven wickets for 72.

For the first five sessions of the match, batting was hard work against a ball which deviated through the air and off the pitch, but then, for the sixth, the sun came out and run-gathering became more straightforward. Surrey opener Mark Stoneman (71, 85 balls, 11 fours) took advantage to leave the match finely-poised at its halfway stage.

After the Bears resumed on the second day on 89 for one, Rob Yates batted through the morning session but lost four partners. Dom Sibley (31, 70 balls) edged Morne Morkel to slip and Sam Hain was lbw to Jordan Clark before Adam Hose and Matt Lamb edged excellent balls by Morkel and Sam Curran respectively.

Yates went into lunch unbeaten on 48 after more than two hours resistance but did not add to his tally in the afternoon before he nicked an away-swinger from Curran. After his 49 at York last week, it was the second successive near-miss of a maiden half-century for the 19-year-old but he can take plenty of satisfaction from two important innings for the team in low-scoring games.

Yates’ departure left the Bears on 184 for six, ten runs behind. Craig Miles chiselled out 20 from 45 balls before edging Clark and Tim Ambrose’s 87 minutes of defiance for 18 was ended by a Curran yorker on his toe. Olly Hannon-Dalby edged Clark to second slip and Jeetan Patel holed out to mid-off off Morkel.

As batting conditions eased, Stoneman and Rory Burns launched Surrey’s second innings with a stand of 77 in 13.5 overs before the former was lbw to Patel for 34 (42 balls). Scott Borthwick edged the Bears captain to slip and then Stoneman nicked Hannon-Dalby to supply Ambrose with his 999th victim in all formats – one more tomorrow will leave ‘Amby’ as only the second Bears keeper, after Geoff Humpage, to reach 1,000.

Day One

Warwickshire put in an excellent day’s work at The Kia Oval as they bowled Surrey out for 194 and then advanced to 89 for one by the close of the first day of the Specsavers County Championship match.

It seems the more ill-luck with injuries the Bears suffer the harder they bite back. With Liam Norwell the latest addition to an seam-bowling injury-list already containing Ryan Sidebottom, Olly Stone, Henry Brookes and George Panayi, the Bears gave a debut to Lancashire loanee Toby Lester – and he headed up a superb collective effort.

Lester collected a career-best four for 41, while Craig Miles underlined his ability as a wicket-taking bowler with three for 58 and the again impressive Olly Hannon-Dalby took two for 35.

The Bears’ reply was then briskly launched by an opening stand of 76 in 16.3 overs between Will Rhodes (51, 64 balls, eight fours, one six) and Dom Sibley who was unbeaten on 22 when bad light lopped off the last 15 overs.

To add to a very satisfying day for Warwickshire, wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose passed 700 dismissals in first-class cricket. He now needs just two more in the second innings to reach 1,000 in all formats.

After captain Jeetan Patel took up the away team’s option to bowl first, both opening bowlers struck early. Hannon-Dalby’s seventh ball took Rory Burns’ edge through to Ambrose and Lester trapped Borthwick lbw.

Craig Miles was next to break through when Mark Stoneman (33, 68 balls) edged to second slip where Liam Banks, on for a brief cameo as sub for Sam Hain, took a sharp catch, head-high.

From 94 for three at lunch, Surrey advanced to 110 without further damage but then lost three wickets for six runs in 19 balls.

Lester ousted Dean Elgar (26, 67 balls), who missed an attempted leg-glance was lbw, and Curran, caught by Ambrose down the leg-side. Ben Foakes (30, 44 balls) lifted Hannon-Dalby to Rob Yates at point.

Miles returned to knock out Rikki Clarke’s off-stump and power a yorker through James Smith’s defence. Lester then came back to take his fourth wicket when Jordan Clark edged to Ambrose before the keeper snaffled a leg-side chance to remove Morne Morkel off Patel.

It was a fine effort by a seam unit which had never worked together before. You could only feel for one component of it – Matt Lamb, whose figures of 6-1-30-0 did no justice at all to a nifty spell which included a dropped catch and caught-behind off a no ball. The only disappointing factor for the Bears was a tally of 40 extras, comfortably the biggest contributor to Surrey’s total.

Rhodes and Sibley then made swift progress, the former bringing up the half-century stand with 14 from three successive balls from Morkel. Rhodes was in excellent nick, one sweetly-timed cover-drive causing an unfortunate casualty when a pigeon failed to spot the ball speeding its way and was carried from the field in a dazed state. Sadly, it failed to recover.

In indifferent light, Rhodes edged a Clarke away-cutter to the wicketkeeper but Sibley and Yates avoided further mishap in awkward conditions until the light closed in for good.

Championship Preview: Surrey v Warwickshire 23-26 June 19

A thrilling three-wicket victory at York left the Bears with two wins and a draw from three matches which would have been three successive wins if rain had not interfered with the home game against Nottinghamshire.

First-teach coach Jim Troughton praised an “immense” performance from his team at York, where the victory was earned by a terrific collective effort from a group already injury-hit and which then took another hit during the game when Liam Norwell suffered a hamstring tear.

We have got a lot of cricket coming up and we have to find a way of refreshing the players for The Oval and then the matches that come thick and fast after that.

Jim Troughton

“I just can’t say enough good things about this group of lads,” Troughton said. “Over four days at Yorkshire everything they brought on to the field was top-drawer.

“The bowling, led by Olly Hannon-Dalby against his old team, was excellent, especially in the second innings when we lost Liam so the other guys had to bowl two or three more overs in their spells. The fielding was immense – with the energy levels out there I think we saved 40 to 50 runs.

“Then on the last day the stand between Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes put a huge dent in the target. From every aspect, it was a performance to be really proud of.

“Now we are straight back on the road with another tough game against the champions. We are moving in the right direction but not getting ahead of ourselves. We have got a lot of cricket coming up and we have to find a way of refreshing the players for The Oval and then the matches that come thick and fast after that.”

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Warwickshire’s resurgence is that it has been delivered despite a string of injury-blows, particularly in the seam-bowling department. Already without Chris Woakes (England duty) and Olly Stone, Henry Brookes and Ryan Sidebottom (injured), the Bears will face Surrey also without Norwell who has made a superb start to his Bears career.

“We’ve been dealt some serious injury problems and Liam going down with a hamstring is really disappointing for him and us,” said Troughton. “But the way the squad had absorbed those blows and kept punching has been brilliant. It has shown the depth in our squad with younger guys coming in and showing they can affect game the way Rob Yates did with important first-innings runs at York.”

Rain, a 15-wicket haul and a Bears win at The Oval

Sam Hargreave had enjoyed a busy and interesting winter.

Warwickshire’s tall, left-arm spinner never played for England but his form in county cricket in 1901 and 1902 – 225 first-class wickets in the two seasons – earned some very influential admirers. Lord Hawke, for one.

Few men wielded more influence than the long-time Yorkshire captain and in the winter of 1902/03, England (or the MCC as then known) not having a tour, His Lordship organised his own. Lord Hawke’s was a great evangelist for cricket and his XI had toured the world most winters since 1891. In 1902/03, they headed for the United States, New Zealand and Australia – and Hargreave was selected.

Lord Hawke’s XI steamed up the River Thames and docked in Tilbury – and Hargreaves headed for The Oval. Warwickshire made a very welcome late team-change and it was to transpire that a month afloat had, far from leaving the bowler rusty, made him unplayable.

Brian Halford

The marathon tour began in late November in San Francisco where 12 of Lord Hawke met 18 of California. The Californians were bowled out for 125 in 76 overs, Hargreave taking two for 17 while Middlesex leg-spinner Bernard Bosanquet (the man widely credited with inventing the googly) harvested 32-9-37-11. From the States the tourists travelled to New Zealand for the main body of the tour before ending with three matches in Australia. The last game concluded in Adelaide on March 31 before the party boarded the boat back to England.

Hargreave, whose trip peaked with six for 12 in an innings victory over South Island at Dunedin in February, had more reason than most to wish the vessel a swift journey. The 1903 county season was to open with a single match, Surrey v Warwickshire at The Oval starting on May 4 – and the ship was due to reach England that day.

A visit to The Oval was a daunting start for Warwickshire so it was with great reluctance that they assumed they would be without Hargreave. Since moving south from his native Lancashire, the 27-year-old had become central to the bowling attack. He was not a huge spinner of the ball but deadly accurate and deployed clever changes of pace and length. It was most unfortunate for the Bears that on the first day at The Oval he would be chugging through the channel with Lord Hawke’s chaps. But then came that rain. Lots of it.

Throughout Monday May 4 it poured down and there was never a chance of play at The Oval. The deluge was frustrating for spectators, though at least gave them a chance to chew over the hot topic in English cricket – the proposed enlargement of the wicket. Later that week MCC members would vote on a proposal by the county captains, designed to stem the surfeit of boring, drawn games due to high scoring, to broaden the wicket by an inch.

Opponents of the idea felt the stumps should remain the same but “pleaded for great efficiency in fielding and less waste of time in adjournments for tea and other observances.” Feelings ran high.

All through Monday the debate raged and the rain fell. Meanwhile, Lord Hawke’s XI steamed up the River Thames and docked in Tilbury – and Hargreaves headed for The Oval. Warwickshire made a very welcome late team-change and it was to transpire that a month afloat had, far from leaving the bowler rusty, made him unplayable.

When, on Tuesday, the match began, Warwickshire batted first on a wicket so wet that, though the ball deviated, it did so very slowly. They totalled 222 with Hargreave’s fellow Lancastrian Crowther Charlesworth scoring 64. The home side’s reply then began solidly and they reached 56 for one before the sun came out. The drying pitch became difficult and 56 for one became 56 for four – and 82 all out. Hargreaves, readjusting adroitly to dry(ish) land, took 15.4-4-41-6 and Sydney Santall 17-7-33-4, the former also pulling off a brilliant catch at short mid-on to remove Bill Montgomery. Surrey were 82 all out, 140 behind, just before the close.

But could Warwickshire finish the job? More rain overnight prevented play before lunch on the final day but umpires John West and Archie White decreed a start at 2.20pm. The Bears had won by 5.15pm.

Warwickshire batted for a little over an hour (in which 27 overs were bowled!) to leave Surrey a target of 196 in 165 minutes. This time, Hargreaves was unplayable, delivering 16.3-4-35-9 as the home side was all out for 69. The spinner sent down barely a loose ball and was denied Warwickshire’ first all-ten only by Santall’s removal of opener Fred Holland.

Surrey’s bamboozled batsmen could only regret that first-day rain – though as they digested their collapse, some good news filtered through for them and all the nation’s batters. Across London, at Lord’s, the proposal to widen the wicket from eight to nine inches was carried by 215 votes to 199 but, as a two-third majority was required, the motion was lost. The stumps would say the same.

That did not prevent Hargreave from enjoying a magnificent year. He finished the 1903 season with 134 first-class wickets, including 16 five-fors, at 14.02 apiece, but that England call never came. Wilfred Rhodes and George Hirst led the intense competition for bowling places and, unluckily for Hargreave, his golden season coincided with a summer in which England had no Tests.

Instead, his slender frame struggled to withstand the sustained rigours of county cricket. In 1907 he suffered a shoulder injury which affected his bowling to a terminal degree. Two years, later, at the age of just 33, he played his last game for Warwickshire, having taken 919 first-class wickets at 21.84 apiece. He died, aged 53, in Stratford-upon-Avon on New Year’s Day 1929.

Sam Hargreave was a fine cricketer: perhaps a slightly unfulfilled talent but definitely the only player ever to bowl Warwickshire to victory having started the match in the English Channel.

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