When it was announced that slow left arm bowler Daniel Moriarty would become a professional with Surrey in 2020, few could have predicted the impact he would have in his first year.
Having been part of the MCC Young Cricketers scheme in recent years, Moriarty played for and against Surrey’s 2nd XI in 2019.
He first shot to the attention of Surrey supporters when he took 3/4 (including the wickets of Arun Harinath, Will Jacks & Conor McKerr) for MCCYC at New Malden.
He got the call for Surrey later in the summer, playing for the 2nd XI against Yorkshire & Worcestershire with a spell of 6/71 against the latter.
It didn’t take long for him to complete his move to The Kia Oval, signing in early October ahead of a full winter with the Club’s coaching staff.
With a squad chock full of international talent and some of the most outstanding youngsters on the circuit, Moriarty may well have been looking to the first year to gain experience from those around him.
He immediately became close with player/coach Gareth Batty, who has also worked hard with Amar Virdi & Will Jacks in recent years.
Who’s up for seeing Dan Moriarty in Surrey colours? pic.twitter.com/Be2eDa93hR
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) July 5, 2020
While the lockdown did prevent Moriarty from working in person with the rest of the squad for a couple of months, the added time before the start of the season may well have worked in his benefit.
By the time the July pre-season friendly with Middlesex rolled around, Moriarty was ready to be involved.
With a number of injuries across the squad, the 21-year-old was back in the team for the Bob Willis Trophy opener where Stevie Eskinazi became his maiden first-class wicket.
It was the second innings in which he really made his mark however, breaking through with his maiden five-wicket haul claiming five of the six wickets in the top order.
Only one spinner was selected for the next three first-class fixtures with Amar Virdi in possession of the shirt so it was in the Vitality Blast when we got our next look at the young spinner.
He became an ever-present in the competition, playing all 13 matches and ending as Surrey’s most prolific bowler with 17 poles.
His best figures of 3/25 came in the defeat at Kent early in the group stage and it was on the road where he was truly at his most effective, picking up three at Essex and two at Hampshire.
It wasn’t to be in the end in the final at Edgbaston for Surrey but with the likes of Moriarty & fellow youngster Will Jacks at the heart of everything that took Surrey into October, the future looks bright for Surrey in this format.
In the middle of that run came the last Bob Willis Trophy match and with Surrey already out of the competition, Moriarty got another opportunity to rip the red ball.
It’s fair to say he took his chance with back-to-back five-wicket hauls in the Kia Oval fixture with Sussex.
A 37.3 over marathon in the first innings yielded figures of 5/154 then 6/70 from a comparative sprint of 19 overs in the second sealed Surrey’s first red-ball win of the year.
With that, he became the first bowler to take five wickets in three successive innings in his first two matches in inter-county cricket on first-class debut.
So in a year and season that was different to any other experienced in recent times, Moriarty helped all Surrey fans look to the future with some hope.
A young Surrey squad, including 14 home-grown academy graduates, will be back in 2021 with six months of cricket and three trophies on their mind.