CCD2 REVIEW: Surrey’s charge continues; Hampshire made to suffer

Surrey are the side with all the momentum in the race for promotion from Division Two of the LV= County Championship.

They have now won three of their last four games - the latest being a resounding triumph over Glamorgan in north Wales - and have dropped just 15 out of 96 points in those games. Compare that to Hampshire, who are their extremely close rivals for the second promotion spot, and, following their draw today against Gloucestershire today, they have dropped 50 points from their last four games.

Surrey’s success is built around no one man - although skipper Gary Wilson may argue with that, having now scored 339 runs in his last three matches for once out, as might the spin pair of Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty. To overly attribute success to those three, though, would be to overlook several other important reasons for their purple patch.

It would discount the effect of having such a strong seam-attack that they are able to bench the likes of Stuart Meaker, George Edwards and Tim Linley for this match. That allows a freshness in the attack that helped Chris Tremlett and Tom Curran share nine of the Glamorgan first innings wickets to dismiss them for 232, and Matt Dunn, who with four for 124, helped end their second innings resistance at 398.

It would discount the runs from the openers. Zafar Ansari and Rory Burns added 182 to set up Surrey’s massive first innings total of 589 for eight declared.

And it would discount the middle-order runs. Jason Roy has made headlines for his form in the NatWest T20 Blast, but with his 70 here at Colwyn Bay, he has two centuries and two half-centuries from his last five first-class innings. Arun Harinath is another who chipped in and made sure overseas pro Hashim Amla wouldn’t be missed by compiling 60.

Hampshire, by contrast, almost came a cropper against Gloucestershire. They reached 138 for five in their second innings on day four in Southampton; still behind by 69 runs, and only clung on to take the extra five points thanks to an important sixth-wicket stand between Adam Wheater (29) and Sean Ervine (57 not out).

Their 297-run first innings total had proven woefully inadequate as the visitors amassed 504 before declaring eight down in reply. Even that total had only been reached thanks to a 115-run last-wicket stand between James Tomlinson, who registered his maiden fifty, and David Balcombe, who notched the third of his 67-match career.

Gloucestershire’s bowlers then seemed barely troubled by the Hampshire bowlers. Exciting young opener Will Tavare made 86; Alex Gidman 43; Hamish Marshall 56 and Ian Cockbain 61. Even then, there was much more to come in the form of Will Gidman. He made 119, his third century, and put on 119 with Cockbain. Gidman junior must surely rank as the most valuable county cricketer. He now averages 38 with the bat and 21 with the ball over his 53-match career. Could he yet do a job for England?

Essex’s promotion hopes took another blow as they failed to build on last week’s win over Gloucestershire - despite the best efforts of young opener Nick Browne - and were held to a draw by wooden-spoon-contenders Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

James Tomlinson

James Tomlinson registered a maiden first-class fifty.

Only two runs separated the sides on first innings, as Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston hit half-centuries for the hosts, and Browne dominated the visitors’ reply by carrying his bat for a maiden first-class hundred.

The 23 year-old Leytonstone man then made it back-to-back hundreds with an undefeated 159-ball affair which helped rescue a faltering Essex run chase. Derbyshire had declared their second innings at 368 for eight - Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wayne Madsen and Ben Slater all passing 50 - to set Essex 367 in about two sessions. They quickly subsided to 19 for three and then 50 for four as rapid left-arm pacer Mark Footitt took three early wickets.

Browne, though, along with ten Doeschate ensured that the hosts would taste no more success. Both men hit unbeaten hundreds and added an unbroken 193 for the fifth-wicket.

Leicestershire made it 26 Championship games without a win as they comfortably failed to defend 304 in the fourth innings against Kent. Sam Northeast made an unbeaten century in his first game since returning to the side following his axing for poor form last month. 53s from Daniel Bell-Drummond and Brendan Nash had earlier set things up.

Leicestershire demonstrated many of the signs of a side that can’t remember their last win. They made only 217 after being asked to bat despite openers Greg Smith and Angus Robson successfully seeing off the new ball. They then had Kent 235 for nine, but Mitchell Claydon followed up his five for 77 with the ball with a career-best 77 with the bat as they were finally all out for 302.

A second innings top-order wobble was then only saved by Josh Cobb and Rob Taylor. The former hit 137, while the latter fell just two runs short of a second first-class ton. The worst was, of course, yet to come despite Ben Raine removing Kent captain Rob Key on the third evening.

News off the field was arguably barely any better. The signing of eight players, including Jigar Naik and Tom Wells, on new contracts should bring smiles to Grace Road. However, the list of players re-signed contained several notable omissions. Nathan Buck, Ned Eckersley, Angus Robson, Shiv Thakor and Ramnaresh Sarwan are among those who are far from certain of spending 2015 playing for the club. The trend of being a feeder club for those monied elite could yet continue.

Teams Mat Won Lost Tied Draw Aban Pts
Worcestershire 10 5 0 0 5 0 160
Hampshire 11 4 0 0 7 0 156
Surrey 12 4 2 0 6 0 155
Essex 11 2 2 0 7 0 121
Kent 10 3 3 0 4 0 115
Glamorgan 11 2 3 0 6 0 114
Gloucestershire 11 2 3 0 6 0 103
Derbyshire 10 1 4 0 5 0 79
Leicestershire 10 0 6 0 4 0 69

Daniel Grummitt

Cricket Writer at World Cricket Badger
Daniel first began writing about cricket in 2011, having been a fan of the game ever since his Grandad introduced him to it at the age of 10.

He worked for for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.

The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.

Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!

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