Surrey Derby – Devils Ahead by a Nose
21st July 2018
Saturday at Highgate was the first match in a double header over two weekends as the Devils faced Surrey in the league before the regional T20 cup semi-final at Frimley on Sunday 29th July. This local derby had added spice, as Hassan and Jack were facing their team-mates from last year; while Surrey had both Lois and Amit in their side. The weather was another in this year’s long run of splendid warm and sunny days – with the square at Highgate made obvious by the bright green grass in the sea of brown and yellow – where the ground staff had been making sure pitches for use later in the year were well watered.
The Devils had a great start to the afternoon as they won the toss, choosing to bowl first, and then just 5 balls into the game had a wicket as Dave Allen drove DS to extra where Nick, in his first game for the Devils, took a good low catch. The closest they came to a second wicket was a half out with Andy bowling to Mo Ahmed – a compliment that was to be returned later in the day when Andy was batting.
At drinks the score was 93 for 1, but soon after Lois had to retire after reaching 50 with an all run four following confusion in the field left the ball lying still near the boundary with no-one nearby able to see it. A rapid 50 from Surrey’s skipper followed so that the score reached 169 for one as he took a single to reach his milestone. From that point on the shape of the innings turned in favour of the Devils. With the next ball Dave Samuels bowled Mo and then on the last ball of the over trapped Scott LBW; so in one over five runs and two wickets.
The final nine overs of the innings saw Surrey trying very hard to score as many runs as possible – taking chances along the way; and surely helping Amit to twelve at a strike rate of 150. The risky approach resulted in three run outs as Alan and Nick threw in well and then on the last ball of the innings Brenda beat Lois in a race from the strikers end to prevent a run and claim a seventh wicket. Gary had meanwhile chipped in by bowling Lizzie.
Devils were keen to know the targets for their reply – the 231 for a win was clear as was the 200 for a batting bonus point but calculation was needed to confirm that 198 were needed for the winning draw, a required rate of 8.25. Surrey bowled very well at the start and had their mobile fielders in the right places to cut off possible boundaries and so ensure some good shots were rewarded only with a single. Dave and Gary were watchful and careful as they settled in; their scoring was slower than the rate and the worm was behind Surrey until the ninth over where both batsmen scored boundaries off Mo.
At drinks they had scored 110, so were not quite up with the rate needed for a win but it did look as if 200 should be possible. DS retired shortly afterwards after an opening stand of 115. With Andy Law at the crease Surrey sensed an opportunity to slow the scoring rate but Andy was no slouch – when Gary was bowled by Mo to make the score 155 for 1, he had 16 and a strike rate of 160 that included a great pull square of the wicket that had the umpire moving rapidly to evade being hit. Andy’s second boundary just after Gary was out meant the Devils needed just 24 from the last five overs to reach the winning draw.
In fact they chased hard hoping that a win could be achieved only for their innings to end in a similar way to Surrey’s as there were three run outs in those five overs. Andy fell just 4 short of 50 while Everton and Chris could not keep up with Brenda’s pace and both sacrificed their wickets in the chase. Brenda had got a rapid 19 but it was not enough – so when Jack came to the crease he just blocked out Dave Allen’s last two balls as 17 off two had made the win impossible.
The winning draw was good for the Devils in the league with games to come at Gloucestershire and at home to Dorset Dolphins on the 4th August. Next week however it is the T20 cup – will Surrey gain revenge for this week’s result? The Devil’s would welcome support at Frimley as they aim to secure a place in the final at Hatherley and Reddings in Gloucestershire on 26th August.
Report by Paul Toplis