Looking back to… 1982 - Kia Oval Skip to main content

It’s 40 years since Surrey won the NatWest Trophy, beating Warwickshire at Lord’s by nine wickets to claim the county’s first trophy for eight years. Richard Spiller looks back at that success – and everything going on around it, which included a country engaged in hostilities.

Surrey’s season

It was with a mixture of delight and relief that Surrey won the NatWest Trophy in 1982.

“Everyone who has been involved with Surrey over the last few years will know how important this victory was to us,” wrote skipper Roger Knight in the Surrey yearbook, adding: “In the dressing room at Lord’s we were indeed able to celebrate and say ‘cheers!’”.

Surrey had been a highly competitive side for the previous three seasons and reached Lord’s finals each time, formidable line-ups from Essex and Somerset beating them in the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1979 and 1981 respectively, while Middlesex had been clearly superior in the 1980 Gillette Cup. Mike Brearley’s side had also finished above their London rivals in the Schweppes County Championship to make it a double.

The work of Knight and manager Micky Stewart, brought together after Surrey’s lowest-ever Championship finish of 16th in 1978, deserved reward, and a well-balanced squad with a good blend of experience and potential was desperate to anoint those efforts with a piece of silver.

It wasn’t going to come in the Championship, where three wins in the opening 12 matches left them well off the pace set by Middlesex, who were determined to send Brearley into retirement with another title. Surrey’s batting was too inconsistent early on and they also lost off-spinner Pat Pocock for all but seven of the 22 matches, treatment for a back injury going so badly awry that it endangered his life at one stage. Eventually fifth place was secured, a rise of one place. Four players passed 1,000 runs, led by Alan Butcher’s 1,293, while the ferocious fast bowling of Sylvester Clarke brought him 85 wickets, well backed up by Robin Jackman’s 61. Pocock’s absence was felt all the more given leg-spinner Intikhab Alam had retired the previous summer.

Losing two out of four group matches – both by tiny margins – torpedoed prospects of a place in the Benson & Hedges Cup knockout stages while the decision to play a young side in the John Player League, saving Clarke and Jackman for other battles, meant a drop of five places to 12th on Sundays.

That left the focus on the NatWest Trophy (formerly Gillette Cup), Surrey easing past Durham – then a minor county – by 111 runs in the opening round, led by Monte Lynch’s 129 out of 279/7.

That earned another home tie, Northamptonshire the visitors in an encounter which stretched over three days because of rain. Half-centuries for Geoff Cook and Peter Willey took the previous year’s finalists to 239/5 in their 60 overs, David Smith’s unbeaten 103 ensuring victory by six wickets with seven balls in hand.

Next came a visit to Southampton, where Knight was delighted to bowl first given the 10am starts that season, and he saw Jackman scythe through the hosts, his devastating 6-22 ripping them out for 119 with Smith’s 62* seeing off an attack led by Malcolm Marshall for an eight-wicket triumph.

That meant a return to The Oval to clash with Middlesex, who were sniffing a repeat of their double from two years earlier. Brearley opted to bowl on a cloudy day, Surrey reaching 40/1 in the 14th over when the weather closed in meaning they had to start again the next day against an international grade attack. Butcher made 53 before being run out and Smith hit 43 as they added 88, Lynch batting with untypical caution through the second half of the innings for 29* so that the hosts finished with 205-9.

Would it be enough?

That question was soon answered, Clarke producing a spell frightening even by his standards as his 4-10 from seven overs started with Brearley brilliantly caught off an inside edge by wicketkeeper Jack Richards diving way to his left. The Barbadian speedster wasn’t needed for a second spell but took two catches, one a flying effort in the gully to send back John Emburey as three wickets for Jackman and Graham Monkhouse saw off Middlesex for a paltry 80.

Warwickshire had beaten Yorkshire in the other semi-final, so it would be Bob Willis leading the Bears against his first county at a packed Lord’s on September 4, when the morning dew was likely to be a factor. Knight won the toss and saw Jackman pin Andy Lloyd lbw for two but it was David Thomas who proved the key this time. Taking over from Clarke at the Pavilion End and generating impressive pace, the blond left-armer persuaded opener David Smith (12) to tread on his stumps, bowled veteran Dennis Amiss for a third-ball duck and had the dangerous Geoff Humpage beautifully pouched low down by Richards for a duck.

Knight’s medium pace proved effective too, two fine catches by Geoff Howarth at slip contributing to Warwickshire finding themselves in desperate trouble at 74/8. Asif Din (45) and Gladstone Small (33) prolonged the match into the afternoon through a partnership of 62 but their side could only muster 158 all out.

Any hopes they harboured of putting pressure on Surrey were quickly dismissed by Butcher (86*) at his most fluent, adding 80 with Howarth (31) and then finishing the job alongside Smith (28*). Surrey had wrapped up their first trophy for eight years in just 33.4 overs, enabling Knight to raise the trophy, one which was hugged by Jackman in one of his final matches for Surrey – he had first appeared in 1966 – before retirement after the following winter’s Ashes tour.

“Success will stand Roger Knight and the players in good stead for the future,” wrote Stewart, “for it has been said many times that nothing succeeds like success.”

In the teeth of a recession and committed to developing an ageing ground – which included an innovative scheme to rebuilt the perimeter wall – Surrey reported a profit of £5,374.

Former Test batter Graham Roope and Hugh Wilson, whose fast bowling had raised great hopes early on, were released at the end of the season.

Oval Test

England arrived at The Oval 1-0 up in the three-match Cornhill Insurance Test series against India, needing just a draw to claim a series victory.

Winning the opener at Lord’s had put them ahead, followed by a draw at Old Trafford, but a second success evaded the hosts despite controlling much of the match. There was satisfaction for skipper Bob Willis, back at the ground where he started his career. He had been appointed in the shocked aftermath of a South African rebel tour which deprived England of 15 leading players – now starting three-year bans – with Graham Gooch and John Emburey the most serious losses.

England showed eight changes from the side which had played Australia in the final Test 11 months earlier, the makeshift opening partnership of Geoff Cook (50) and Chris Tavaré (39) putting on 96 after Willis opted to bat. Although played on the same relaid pitch which had impressed with its pace and bounce in the Ashes finale, this was a more placid surface but that was some achievement given the ground had been under water just a week earlier.

Allan Lamb, having spent four years qualifying, was in his third Test and made brisk progress to his maiden century, first adding 89 with David Gower (47) and then being joined by Ian Botham to add 144 in 28 glorious overs at the end of the first day.

Sunil Gavaskar, having piloted India to a 1-0 victory over England over six attritional Tests the previous winter, made the mistake of stationing himself at silly point to Botham, who crashed a ball into his shin off Ravi Shastri and sent the Indian captain off to hospital with a fracture.

It was left to Shastri and fellow left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi to contain Botham but they found it nigh on impossible, the all-rounder refusing to allow Lamb’s run out for 107 to put him off and scoring one of the fastest double-centuries in the history of Test cricket. Among his 208 – which remained his Test best – there were 19 fours and four sixes, one of them a gigantic effort onto the top deck of the pavilion. Although never at his inventive best, Derek Randall’s 95 expanded England’s score to 594 all out at the end of the second day, Doshi’s marathon 46 overs earning him 4-175.

With Gavaskar in plaster, India’s hopes of levelling the series appeared over and even saving the follow-on looked difficult when they slid to 135/3 as Shastri’s sterling 66 was ended by Willis (3-78). But Gundappa Viswanath (56), Yashpal Sharma (38) and Sandeep Patil (62) counter-attacked and the loss of 42 overs on the fourth morning – with umpire Dickie Bird at his most pernickety about the light, despite India’s apparent willingness to continue their fight – meant England’s task of forcing another victory became even harder. Wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani (43) helped Kapil Dev to add 130 for the sixth wicket, which took the tourists to the threshold to safety, Dev’s splendid 97 from 93 balls a delight in seeing his side to 410 all out. Left-arm spinner Phil Edmonds claimed 3-89.

England were in no great hurry as they sauntered to 191/3 dec from 70.3 overs, Tavaré making 75* while Lamb and Gower chipped in with 45 apiece, Willis leaving his opponents a nominal 376 to win. There was a brief flurry of excitement at 18/2, Viswanath’s 75* calming it all down as the close came at 111/3.


The two teams had already met in early June, England cruising to victory by 114 runs to wrap up the two-match Prudential Trophy series 2-0.

Allan Lamb (99) and David Gower (76) were mainly responsible for the hosts making 276/9 from 55 overs after being sent in, adding 159 for the third wicket, Madan Lal and Sandeep Patil claiming two wickets apiece.

India’s reply was in tatters at 43/6 as Bob Willis, Graham Dilley, Ian Botham and Paul Allott all bowled tight spells to claim a wicket each, the visitors having to rely on Kapil Dev (47) and Madan Lal (53*) to save some pride. Off-spinner Geoff Miller finished with 3-27 from 11 overs in a final total of 162-8.

What else happened in 1982?

  • Britain found herself at war with Argentina – although hostilities were never formally declared – after the invasion of the Falkland Islands, off South America, in early April. Argentina’s military junta sent a sizeable contingent to take the territory and in response UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher despatched a hastily put together naval task force which successfully retook the islands just over two months later. It was a remarkable military operation which many experts had reckoned to be impossible. Both sides suffered notable losses of personnel and equipment.
  • Pope John Paul II became the first reigning pontiff to visit the United Kingdom, his tour taking in nine cities. Another notable guest was Ronald Reagan, who became the first president of the United States to address a joint session of the Houses of Parliament.
  • Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union since 1964, died and was replaced by fellow veteran Yuri Andropov.
  • Unemployment in the UK reached three million for the first time since the slump of the 1930s but inflation fell to a 10-year low of 8.6%.
  • Terrorist attacks by the IRA in London in Hyde Park and Regents Park killed eight soldiers and seven horses.
  • London’s Barbican Centre was opened by The Queen, who was one of the few people not to get lost going round it.
  • Tottenham Hotspur retained the FA Cup, beating Queens Park Rangers in the final after a replay thanks to Glenn Hoddle’s penalty. With three points for a win introduced for the 1981/82 season, Liverpool won the Football League by four points from Ipswich Town. Defending champions Aston Villa slid to 11th but did beat Bayern Munich to take the European Cup final.
  • Having qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1970, England went unbeaten but failed to qualify for the latter stages, manager Ron Greenwood retiring at the end of the tournament and being succeeded by Bobby Robson.
  • Tom Watson won the Open Golf Championship at Royal Troon by one shot from Britain’s Peter Oosterhuis.
  • There was a surprise in the men’s final at Wimbledon when Jimmy Connors defeated favourite John McEnroe over five sets, winning the title for the second time, eight years after his first victory.
  • Martina Navratilova defeated Chris Evert Lloyd to claim the women’s title for the third time, adding the doubles alongside Pam Shriver.