After winning back-to-back County Championship titles, Surrey are enjoying a boom. But only a decade ago the Club had just been relegated for the third time in eight years. Richard Spiller explains how that came about – and sowed the seeds for the good times now.
Following a difficult year for the Club in 2012 came the resignation of Rory Hamilton-Brown as captain, followed by his return to Sussex, and a new Surrey skipper was appointed for the 2013 season – South Africa’s Graeme Smith, one of the most successful and highly respected leaders in the game. He had led his country to victory in England the previous summer, replacing the hosts as the number one team in the world – adding Andrew Strauss to Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan to the list of England captain scalps – and it was hoped Smith’s drive and knowhow would turn Surrey into a winning unit.
Team director Chris Adams, who had vowed to “build the team of the next decade” when he was appointed in 2009, also recruited experienced duo Vikram Solanki and Gary Keedy but it all started to go wrong quickly. Smith was forced out after three Championship matches – ankle surgery ending his campaign, leaving Solanki and Gareth Batty to deputise – and his adopted county, who failed to win any of their first seven Championship matches, losing two of them, which ensured a relegation struggle.
Two wins registered in the Yorkshire Bank 40, one over Scotland, were the only successes of any kind by mid-June when Adams’s time ran out. The CB40 title and promotion from Championship Division Two in 2011 had been the only highlights but 16 wins in 72 four-day games were a sorry tale, a period in which 24 different opening partnerships had been tried.
Executive director Alec Stewart took charge, assisted by bowling coach Stuart Barnes, although it was too late to shift the dial in the Championship. Just one win was achieved with four heavy defeats in the closing weeks confirming Surrey’s third relegation since 2005, even the presence of Australian great Ricky Ponting for a spell early in the summer not being enough to change the weather. Now retired from the international game, his arrival at the end of May had been marked by scoring 192 against Derbyshire and he made 493 Championship runs in four matches at 123. Hashim Amla came later on for six matches, making 545 at 51.
Solanki was just five runs short of making 1,000 while Rory Burns maintained his excellent impression from a year earlier with 917 and Steven Davies finished on 867. Surrey’s attack lacked teeth, Tim Linley the leading wicket-taker with 37 at 34, followed by Jade Dernbach (34 at 30) and Chris Tremlett (32 at 33).
The latter stages of the YB40 were used to blood youngsters – 22 were tried in all with seven newcomers, one of them 18-year-old seamer Tom Curran – but it was in the T20 Cup where Surrey showed signs of revival. The opening match, against Hampshire, was lost by five wickets but more than a month without a win of any sort ended when Sussex were beaten by 10 runs at Hove.
That sparked a run of four victories and although there were two setbacks, three more wins earned a home quarter-final against Somerset. They were defeated by three wickets in a stormy encounter, sending Surrey to Edgbaston, where they overcame the absence of the suspended Batty in beating holders Hampshire by four wickets before crashing a 102-run reverse against Northamptonshire in the final.
Stewart, taking on the role of cricket director full time, staged a spring clean of his squad and warned that rebuilding needed to be done on firm foundations. He recruited South African Graham Ford as head coach and set Surrey’s course.
Kia Oval Test
England had already retained the Ashes by the time the teams arrived for the final Test at The Kia Oval. Yet rather than a finale, it was more a case of preparing for the half-time oranges.
Amending the calendar so that tours to Australia were not in the same year as World Cups, the two boards had agreed that this series would be followed by a return straightaway down under. Then Australia would come back to England in 2015 and England head there in 2017-18.
Having won back the Ashes in 2009 and kept them in 2010-11 under Andrew Strauss, England were favourites this time and so it proved, winning the first two Tests. The mood of the series changed – new coach Darren Lehmann, who had taken over after the Champions Trophy when Mickey Arthur was axed – when the tourists dominated the third Test at Old Trafford without forcing victory. They were chasing 299 to win the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street only to collapse against Stuart Broad, ensuring England retained the Ashes.
That provoked the home selectors to make changes for the final match, giving all-rounder Chris Woakes and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan debuts. Neither would remember the match with much affection.
England’s contention that the ball would turn proved wrong, watching Australia amass 492-9dec thanks to centuries from Shane Watson and Steve Smith. Watson was in brutal form in making his third Test century and first for 48 innings, his 176 including three fours taken off Woakes’s first over and then crashing 28 off the suffering Kerrigan’s first two.
Smith had not been an original member of the tour party or been regarded as worthy of a central contract but, having just missed his maiden century at Old Trafford, he was not going to miss out this time. Bringing up the landmark with a six off Jonathan Trott, he batted six-and-a-half hours to make 138no – it was the first of 32 Test tons over the past decade – with the unorthodox technique and cluster of twitches having since become horribly familiar to international bowlers around the world.
Starting their reply late on day two, England owed opener Joe Root (68), Kevin Pietersen (50) and Matt Prior (47) for keeping the deficit down to 115, the follow-on having threatened at one stage, with debutant left-arm seamer James Faulkner (4-51) expediting the end of their innings. That did not come until early on day five, the fourth washed away by grim weather which gave play no chance of starting.
Australia had been outspoken about England’s conservative mindset under Alastair Cook and head coach Andy Flower and now decided they would show how the game should be played. They sped to 111-6dec from 23 overs before skipper Michael Clarke – seemingly inspired by Shane Warne – declared at tea, a match which many had assumed would die quietly suddenly seeing England needing 227 for an unprecedented 4-0 series victory.
They took up the challenge, Cook (34), Jonathan Trott (59) and Pietersen’s 62 setting up a thrilling climax in working down a challenge which saw 85 needed from the last 15 overs. Clarke was forced to slow things down and, with play having started 30 minutes late to complete the clearing up, the light was fading. With 21 needed and five wickets left, the umpires decided that play was no longer possible and a day which had seen 447 runs scored ended in anti-climax.
Australia claimed the moral high ground and would soon be occupying the rest, a thunderous 5-0 victory down under seeing them reclaim the Ashes.
The Kia Oval was one of the venues for the Champions Trophy, hosting five matches. The opener proved an exciting game, Pakistan being bowled out for 170 – which they owed almost entirely to Misbah-ul-Haq (96no) and Nasir Jamshed (50) – and West Indies finding batting little easier, winning by two wickets. Then Shikhar Dawan’s unbeaten 102 saw India cruise past West Indies by eight wickets after being set 234. Next came England versus Sri Lanka, the home side reaching 293-7 thanks to Alastair Cook (59), Jonathan Trott (76) and Joe Root (68) but finding Kumar Sangakkara’s unbeaten 134 far too good for them in fashioning a seven-wicket margin with 17 balls in hand.
It was Mahela Jayawardene’s chance to shine when he made 84no in guiding Sri Lanka to 253-8, which proved too good for Australia by 20 runs. The first semi-final brought England and South Africa together, Jimmy Anderson’s 2-14 from eight overs followed up by Stuart Broad (3-50) and off-spinner James Tredwell (3-19) in dismissing their opponents for 175. Trott (82no) and Root (48) ensured the runs were knocked off easily for victory by seven wickets, although England would go on to lose the final to India by five runs at Edgbaston.
What else happened in the world?
Benedict XVI became the first Pope to resign – rather than die in office – since Gregor XII in 1415, being replaced by Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who took the name of Francis.
A misty morning in January brought tragedy to Vauxhall when a helicopter crashed into the jib of a crane attached to St George’s Wharf Tower. Two people – the pilot and a pedestrian walking underneath – were killed.
Pub landlord Mark Cahill from west Yorkshire became the first person in the world to receive a hand transplant.
Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1979-90, died in London following a stroke, aged 97. Her funeral, at St Paul’s Cathedral, was attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
Draft legislation was published to enable a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union while Parliament agreed same sex couples could now marry.
Britain enjoyed its warmest summer since 2006, a temperature of 34.1 recorded in London on August 1.
The Duchess of Cambridge (now Princess of Wales) gave birth to a boy, George Alexander Louis, who became third in line to the throne.
Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement after 27 years as manager of Manchester United. Before he left – being succeeded by David Moyes – they completed a 13th Premier League title, having also won the FA Cup five times, League Cup four times and Champions League twice.
In the FA Cup final at Wembley, Wigan Athletic beat Manchester City 1-0.
Andy Murray became the first British player to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4. France’s Marion Bartoli took the women’s title, overcoming Sabine Lisicki 6-1 6-4.
Phil Mickelson, of the USA, won the British Open Championship at Muirfield by firing a final round 66 to finish three strokes clear. He had started the day five off the pace in equal ninth place.
Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the Formula One World Drivers Championship for the fourth consecutive year, driving for Red Bull.