Essex taking 19 points from the Ageas Bowl has slight narrowed the gap on Surrey above them, but having seen the Champions first-hand for three days, I cannot see anyone catching this quality outfit.
They have such variety in their bowling attack, even without England left-armers Reece Topley or Sam Curran or indeed Tom Curran. The pace of Gus Atkinson, Tom Lawes and Jamie Overton complimented by the wobble of Dan Worrall and Jordan Clark. Added to by a recent England Test spinner in Will Jacks when needed. And they can all bat!
They are a quality side. Enough bigging up of Surrey, scroll down for a preview of what became the final day’s play and a run through of events:
After two false starts, the first over of the day was eventually completed at 12.10pm. Clark gave Dickson a short wide one to get him going nicely, the first 12 runs of the Somerset innings all coming in boundaries.
The fourth over, Jordan Clark’s second, saw Sean Dickson (4) dropped by Will Jacks at third slip. Fortunately for Surrey it only cost a couple of balls, Dom Sibley at first slip showing his more recently capped teammate how to do it.
Jacks, in the same position, then took a much harder chance, also off Clark, four overs later, Lammonby (4) cut low to his left, 17-2.
It got better for Clark and Surrey before lunch, George Bartlett lbw for two. TKC ran down and left his first ball outside off-stump, signalling his intent as ever.
He fell to a cracking Jamie Overton catch at point for five, 28-4 seriously having the Rey boys considering plans for a free day four.
Former Somerset, now Surrey Assistant Coach Jim Troughton joined us in the commentary box and told of how Dan Worrall, officially a local now using his British passport and also studying a Masters in Trading, was described by the great Hashim Amla as “the best bowler in County Cricket.” (Worrall played for Gloucestershire whilst Amla was at Surrey.) He did not pick up a wicket though did deserve to.
Trought also spoke of how he enjoyed watching Tom Lawes to James Rew “I think you’ll see those guys in England colours in the next five to six years.” Lawes’ first over went for 11, all from three balls to Abell, but the youngsters’ 1-1 battle did then commence.
In the 31st over, Rew reached the 21 he needed to join Alex Lees on 1000 runs in the Championship season (the first in Division One) -a truly remarkable feat when you think he’s only 19-years-old and has had fewer innings and often run out of partners batting six and wicketkeeping in the Somerset side.
Abell fell just shy of a third first-class 50 of the season (to add to one hundred) for 46 to a low full toss/yorker, dipping onto his front toe – Clark’s fourth.
Kasey Aldridge, with the side strain that reduced him to just 9.4 overs with ball in hand, came and joined his Old Trafford centurion companion at 92-5. When only on one, Aldridge was surprisingly dropped by Latham at second slip off Worrall and then got away with a couple falling just short of fielders as he really did not look comfortable batting with his side strain. Eventually Lawes had his first of the innings, fifth of the match – Jacks holding the tall all-rounder for six, 107-6.
A collectors’ item saw Foakes dive low across Sibley at first slip, attempting to get there before it died, but could not get there, Green’s soft-enough hands saving him before he got off the mark…yes technically a drop, but potentially no-one but Foakes would even have considered getting across to it.
Rew did use Lawes’ pace and angle to pull for six, though you would not say now because accompanied by the tail he would accelerate, as Ben Green has opened for Somerset in Championship cricket more often than he has batted eight – as he is in this match.
Overton got his old Somerset teammate and Devon junior rival Green for six, pushing far too far in front of his body for an easy catch behind.
The Overton battle did take place briefly before tea with parents Mark and Helen nervously watching on from the Colin Atkinson Pavilion. Somerset did make it into the third session today though still 59 runs behind making Surrey bat again.
Soon after tea, Rew fell to the short ball ploy, hooking to fine leg for 55.
Matt Henry, in his final five minutes in a Somerset shirt, hooked his first ball for four then fell to the two-card trick, lbw to a full one fired into leg stump which he seemed to be already ducking.
Atkinson bowled to Craig Overton with a boundary backstop, a fine leg, a long leg and a deep square leg…he top edged one lusty blow for six, turned down singles, and drove anything pitched up to the vacant area down the ground.
T’other end saw Worrall bowl to Bashir with four slips in place, two contrasting wicket-taking approaches showing the versatility of this Surrey attack. Think how many different ways you can cook an egg or a potato…Surrey can do similar or worse ways of torture to a County batter.
Bashir stayed at one end long enough to put on 77 and allow Overton to smite a season best 70*, including some massive sixes as I enjoyed the oohs and ahhs sat alongside the Overton fan club behind Jamie (at fine leg) in the Colin Atkinson Pavilion.
22 points for Surrey and they will be back to their home of the Oval for day two of the final Ashes test tomorrow morning.
And some quotes….
From Jamie Overton:
On finals day: “Was nice to see Craig win a trophy.”
His fitness: “My back’s absolutely fine now, back to full fitness.
I could’ve bowled in the last few T20s but wasn’t required.”
The final partnership: “It wasn’t quite as planned, but nice to see Craig get a few.”
From Jason Kerr:
“They were definitely the better team over the 3 days. They were streets ahead of where we were.”
On Henry “he’s been phenomenal on the field and off the field too, he’s such a great character.
His returns have been phenomenal.
He’s fitted into the group fantastically and we can’t thank him enough for that.
& getting him back next year? “We’re definitely going to look at it but we know the international schedule just gets busier and busier.”
On Rew: “When he bats he doesn’t look 19 years of age like he does in the dressing room!
Long may his form continue, he plays the ball on his merit and hopefully he does that for a long time to come!”