Just forty overs were possible on Day One of the Second Eleven Championship clash between Surrey 2nd XI and Middlesex 2nd XI at Radlett.
Surrey, fresh from their victory over the MCC Young Cricketers last week – a win which saw them go top of the table – fielded a largely inexperienced side which included PG Academy batsmen Dominic Sibley and Harry Stephens, as well as Leatherhead CC wicket-keeper Matthew Laidman, who makes his first appearance for the team this year.
After winning the toss and inserting Middlesex into bat in damp, overcast conditions, it was the old-heads who got things under way for Surrey after an hour’s rain delay, however. Captain Tim Linley and veteran Jon Lewis both looked menacing, but the Australian opening duo of Chris Rogers and Sam Robson nullified the early threat. Runs began to flow as the Middlesex batsmen took advantage of the surprisingly quick outfield at Radlett, and it wasn’t until the thirteenth over that Surrey were celebrating a breakthrough. The introduction of Chris Jordanreaped instant reward in the form of Robson’s middle stump cartwheeling backwards to leave Middlesex 46-1.
Rogers and Tom Scollay guided the hosts through to lunch on 67-1 and despite a shower during the interval, no time was lost and the afternoon session started promptly. Rogers emerged from the pavilion showing the sort of form which one him his only Test cap in 2008 as he bludgeoned Linley for consecutive boundaries and passed fifty with the score on just 87.
The momentum with Middlesex was not to last long, however. The dismissal of Sculley for thirteen, when he edged to Tom Jewell in the slips off the bowling of Matthew Dunn, signalled the start of a mini-collapse for Middlesex, and Rogers was lucky to survive the next over when he was dropped by Jewell off Linley. Second slip Stephens was not so careless three balls later, though, when he pouched Andy Balbirnie for a duck.
Rogers was eventually bowled by the impressive Dunn for 66 to leave the score on 118-4, and more success for Surrey soon followed, as Lewis was rewarded for a tidy day’s bowling by trapping Ryan Higgins for another duck.
Tea was taken with Middlesex struggling on 138-5 before – as forecast – the black clouds came and put paid to any hope of further play in the day. Nevertheless, a productive forty overs for the league leaders, and Surrey will be looking to polish off their opponents’ first innings when the match resumes at 10.45am on Thursday.
Day one bowling figures:
Tim Linley: 12-2-47-1
Jon Lewis: 9-1-21-1
Chris Jordan: 8-3-24-1
Matthew Dunn: 10-1-35-2
Freddie van den Bergh: 1-0-1-0
By George Hobbs
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