This week Surrey head back to their second home, Guildford’s Woodbridge Road, to entertain a Sri Lanka Development side in what will be the 100th first-class match at the venue. Richard Spiller explains how Sri Lanka wrote their own unique chapter, and looks back on some of the classic matches to grace the ground.
Surrey v Hampshire 1938
The birth of first-class cricket in Guildford came on July 13, a newly-built pavilion overlooking Woodbridge Road as Hampshire crossed the nearby border. The drums of 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Royal Regiment, played during lunch and tea on the first day, though Surrey were not at their most hospitable, winning by an innings and 71 runs. In their only innings they made 433 all out, built around Ted Whitfield’s 138 with Jack Parker (85), Laurie Fishlock (59) and skipper Monty Garland-Wells (53) in support. The visitors could only muster 218 first time round against an attack led by paceman Eddie Watts (4-50). Sent in again, Hampshire crumbled to 144 all out, captain Cecil Paris’s 39 the top score, Parker’s 4-52 and Bob Gregory (3-34) cleaning up.
Surrey 433 (Whitfield 138, Parker 85) BEAT Hampshire 218 & 144 (Parker 4-52) by an innings and 71 runs.
Surrey v Hampshire 1946
A draw against Oxford University had marked the return of first-class cricket to Guildford after the Second World War and Hampshire followed in the same June week. They may have wished they had stayed at home, mustering just 48 against Alf Gover – stretching his long career into the first two years of the resumption – and Alec Bedser, the great post-war hope of English bowling. They bowled throughout and took five apiece. Bob Gregory hit 82 at the top of the reply, Surrey being contained to 222 by off-spinner Charlie Knott’s 6-58. It was still a substantial lead and although Gerry Hill hit 108 out of 242, Bedser and Eddie Watts striking three times each, Surrey sealed a nine-wicket victory in two days.
Hampshire 44 (Bedser 5-21, Gover 5-22) & 242 (Hill 108) LOST to Surrey 222 (Gregory 82) & 69-1 by nine wickets.
Surrey v Hampshire 1957
One of the most one-sided county matches played at Woodbridge Road ended embarrassingly early – and caused a real headache. Only two men got into double-figures as Hampshire were routed for 66 in 100 minutes on the opening morning, paceman Peter Loader’s 7-36 the main reason. There were no such issues for a Surrey side heading towards their sixth Championship title in a row, Tom Clark’s 82 opening up and England captain Peter May stroking 56 before declaring at 247-4. The visitors did little better second time round, this time mustering 108, skipper Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie’s 35 the best as Loader took another four wickets while Jim Laker finished with 5-46 to complete the match at 3pm on the second day. But there was no question of going home because The Queen was in town and due to visit, so an exhibition match was hastily arranged for both HMQ and the large crowd who had gathered to see her.
Hampshire 66 (Loader 7-36) & 108 (Laker 5-46) LOST to Surrey 247-4dec (Clark 82) by an innings and 73 runs.
Surrey v Leicestershire 1969
An all-time classic. This was Leicestershire’s second visit in three seasons, their first in 1967 ending a break of four years without a match at Woodbridge Road and resulting in a 10-wicket drubbing. This one was much closer, Micky Stewart’s 97 leading Surrey to 324-7dec and assisted by Graham Roope (75), Stewart Storey (52) and Arnold Long’s unbeaten 44. Leicestershire were in trouble at 72/5 before Jack Birkenshaw’s 131 – adding 148 for the seventh wicket with Barry Dudleston (78*) – gave them a slender first-innings lead, after which the bowlers took control. Surrey needed skipper Stewart’s 64 to rescue them as the Australian seamer Graham McKenzie claimed 5-51. Geoff Arnold’s 27 not out lifted the hosts to 176 and left Leicestershire needing 137 in 105 minutes. At 97-3 they looked favourites but Pakistan leg-spinner Intikhab Alam’s 4-33 and three run outs grabbed victory for Surrey by two runs with one ball remaining.
Surrey 324-7dec (Stewart 97, Roope75) & 176 (Stewart 64; McKenzie 5-51) BEAT Leicestershire 364-8dec (Birkenshaw 131) & 134 (Alam 4-33) by two runs.
Surrey v Gloucestershire 1978
The boundaries at Woodbridge Road can feel very small at times. In 1977 Gordon Greenidge had powered his way to a double-century for Hampshire, and a year later it was Mike Procter’s turn to smash a hundred. First he watched John Edrich (114) and Roger Knight (90) – Surrey captains past and present – guide the hosts to 268-6 in the maximum 100 overs permitted at the time, then the great South African all-rounder hammered 154 in less than two hours, Gloucestershire taking the lead at 334 all out. It might have been more but for off-spinner Pat Pocock’s 6-92. Openers Alan Butcher (54) and Monte Lynch (68) were backed by Edrich’s 47 before Surrey collapsed from 177-2 to 221 all out, emblematic of a season in which they finished a lowest-ever 16th out of 17. Left-arm spinner John Childs was largely responsible, taking 5-90. It almost proved enough, though, Procter making 40 before becoming one of Pocock’s three victims, taking him past 900 Championship wickets, and there were three victims for Robin Jackman before the Gloucester wicketkeeper Andy Brassington saw the visitors home.
Surrey 268-6 (Edrich 114, Knight 90) & 221 (Lynch 68) LOST to Gloucestershire 334 (Procter 154) & 158-8.
Oxford University v Sri Lanka 1979
The only first-class match at Woodbridge Road not to involve Surrey saw Oxford University stepping in at the last minute because DH Robins had been unable to raise an adequate team. Not that the students did much better against a confident Sri Lanka team, fresh from beating India in the World Cup a week earlier and embarking on a programme to widen their experience in preparation for admission to Test status, which would come three years later. Two De Silvas wrecked Oxford – first left-arm spinner Ajith claimed 6-30 in a meagre first innings of 63, and then – after Roy Dias (84no) and Anura Tennekoon (63) pushed the tourists to 295-8dec – leg-spinner Somachandra De Silva produced a devastating spell of five wickets for no runs, sending Oxford spiralling to 146 all out. His 8-46 brought an overall haul of 12-59, Sri Lanka winning by an innings and 86 runs.
Oxford University 63 (Ajith de Silva 6-30) & 146 (Somachandra de Silva 8-46) LOST to Sri Lanka 295-8dec (Dias 84*) by an innings and 86 runs.
Surrey v Glamorgan 1982
Increasingly, batters were enjoying their visits to Guildford. Rodney Ontong (88) and fast bowler Greg Thomas, whose previous highest score of 13 was dwarfed by his 84, ensured Glamorgan reached 360-7dec. Geoff Howarth’s unbeaten 156 took Surrey to within 12 runs when they declared after just 79 overs. Further hundreds for Ontong and John Hopkins set up an exciting last day, leaving the hosts needing 319. Monte Lynch was already proving one of the most destructive young batters in the country and he showed it by moving up to No.3 and hammering a thrilling unbeaten 141 from 112 balls – one of his eight sixes leaving a dent in the roof of captain Roger Knight’s car – in securing victory by two wickets in the final over.
Glamorgan 360-7dec (Ontong 88) & 316-6dec (Hopkins 123, Ontong 110) LOST to Surrey 358-5dec (Howarth 156*) & 322-8 (Lynch 141*) by two wickets.
Surrey v Hampshire 1999
One of the greatest first-class matches at Guildford was also one the most important. Surrey were on track for their first Championship title since 1971 but Hampshire were closest on their trail, dismissing the hosts for 171 on day one. It would have been even worse but for Adam Hollioake’s sterling 63*. Eight wickets were shared between Peter Hartley and Nixon McLean before the West Indian paceman hammered 70 to establish a lead of 151. Finding themselves under pressure, Surrey saw openers Mark Butcher (94) and Ian Ward (55) add 107 but it was Graham Thorpe who proved their matchwinner. His masterly 164 over more than six hours ensured the visitors would have to chase 332 and once Saqlain Mushtaq got to work they never stood a chance, the Pakistan off-spinner ripping through Hampshire to leave Surrey victors by 156 runs. There was no looking back from there.
Surrey 171 (Hollioake 63*) & 482 (Thorpe 164) BEAT Hampshire 322 (McLean 70) & 175 (Saqlain 6-44) by 156 runs.
Surrey v Leicestershire 2000
Just a year later, as the Championship divided into two divisions, Surrey were on the hunt again. They had made a relatively slow start to the season before brushing Leicestershire aside at Oakham School a fortnight before the Guildford rematch. Like Hampshire 12 months earlier, the visitors had the best of the early exchanges, Ben Smith’s 102 dominating the first part of the day; only a magnificent display of controlled seam and swing on a blameless pitch by Martin Bicknell, returning 7-72 in 28.1 overs on the ground where he learned his cricket, kept them at bay. Ian Ward’s 107 led the reply but the loss of the final five wickets for just 22 meant a deficit of 30, Jimmy Ormond’s 6-87 largely responsible. Grumpily pulling his bowling boots back on after tea on the second day, Bicknell went on the rampage, tearing through the Leicestershire top order. The visitors finished the second day on 33-6 and were duly finished off the next morning for 87, Bicknell finishing with 9-47 and 16-119 overall, the ground’s best match figures. Mark Butcher (47*) and Ward (61*) sauntered to a 10-wicket victory.
Leicestershire 318 (Smith 102; Bicknell 7-72) & 87 (Bicknell 9-47) LOST to Surrey 288 (Ward 107) & 119-0 by 10 wickets.
Surrey v Somerset 2006
A blisteringly hot summer in 2006 baked the Woodbridge Road ground, leaving an unforgiving pitch and lightning-fast outfield for this County Championship Division Two clash. Justin Langer was just the man to take advantage, his ground record score of 342 the basis of Somerset’s 688-8dec. On a scorching opening day, as a high of 36.3c was recorded just up the A3 at Wisley, the Australian’s relentless progress over 618 minutes gave a Surrey attack which included India’s leg-spinner Anil Kumble no let-up. Nonetheless the hosts, en route to winning the competition and promotion, relished the conditions as well to even take a first innings lead. Mark Ramprakash’s 167 included a third-wicket alliance worth 205 with Mark Butcher (84) and then the middle-order climbed in. Rikki Clarke’s 214 on his home ground was a career-best, while Azhar Mahmood hammered 98 as Surrey totalled 717, Langer’s compatriot Cameron White persevering for his 5-148. To no one’s great sorrow, especially the bowlers, much of the final day was rained off.
Somerset 688-8dec (Langer 342) DREW with Surrey 717 (Clarke 214, Ramprakash 167, Mahmood 98; White 5-148).
Surrey v Somerset 2018
Out of a clear blue sky came Ryan Patel’s remarkable spell to transform this match. Surrey were already on top as they charged towards their first County Championship title in 16 years, having been inserted and posting 459. One of the Guildford club’s graduates, Ollie Pope, cracked 117 while another in Will Jacks made his first-class debut; skipper Rory Burns (66) and Scott Borthwick (83) were also on song. With their reply standing at 169-4, Somerset were fighting hard when medium-pacer Patel got his chance to bowl. Having Ed Byrom leg-before with his first delivery, the medium-pacer went on to claim an extraordinary six wickets for five runs in 3.5 overs as the visitors sunk to 180 all out. James Hildreth’s hard-fought 89 led the follow-on but Somerset were all out for 210 to lose by an innings and 69 runs, Morne Morkel and Jade Dernbach collecting four victims apiece.
Surrey 459 (Pope 117, Borthwick 83) BEAT Somerset 180 (Patel 6-5) and 210 (Hildreth 89; Morkel 4-36, Dernbach 4-49) by an innings and 69 runs.
Surrey’s match against the Sri Lanka Development XI takes place from Friday 20 May to Monday 23 May, with play starting at 11am each day.