Published: 15th January, 2019
With the 2019 season fast approaching and the fixtures set in everyone’s calendars, it’s time to take a look at the periods of the season that instantly stand out as crucial junctures.
Between the first week of June and the corresponding week in July, Surrey will play four matches of their Specsavers County Championship title defence. Three of those will take place at outgrounds.
With the ICC World Cup occupying the Kia Oval in early June, the visits of Somerset and Yorkshire will both be to Woodbridge Road in Guildford. After a Kia Oval clash with Warwickshire later in the month, Rory Burns’ side will then be straight on the road to Scarborough for another meeting with Yorkshire.
Festival cricket holds a special place in the hearts of many county cricket fans with the tighter grounds typically providing a more intense atmosphere and the weather often at its glorious midsummer best.
That Surrey have up to 12 days of festival cricket to look forward to in 2019 is exciting for many, especially given how the fortnight across Guildford & Scarborough in 2018 galvanised the title charge.
The first match of this festival feast comes on Monday 3rd June when Somerset return to Guildford, having lost there in 2018 following bowling heroics from all-rounder Ryan Patel.
The West Country county were Surrey’s closest challengers at the time with five matches down in Division One. 117 from Ollie Pope in the match’s first innings not only delighted a strong Guildford crowd, it took the hosts to a total of 459 that ensured they wouldn’t have to bat again.
It was Ryan Patel that ensured that. He took the visitors from 117/4 to 180 all out with six wickets for five runs in just 3.5 overs that dispirited Somerset and inspired Morne Morkel and Jade Dernbach to four wickets each to clean up in the second innings for Surrey’s first win at Guildford since 2002; the last time they had won the County Championship. An omen perhaps?
Somerset’s visit in 2019 will be the fifth match of this year’s competition, placing it at a similar point in the campaign. Could it have a similar impact on the winner’s fortunes?
Guildford Cricket Club will remain in festival mode as the clash with Yorkshire begins the following Monday. Last year’s home meeting with Yorkshire was the first of Surrey’s nine consecutive wins that sealed the Specsavers County Championship.
The two sides will complete their festival double header between Sunday 30 June and Wednesday 3 July in Scarborough, another scene with glorious 2018 memories for much of the current squad.
Behind at the halfway point and facing a number of other challenges in the splendid seaside town, Surrey fought back thanks to a quickfire five-wicket haul from the fearsome Morne Morkel before Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman took them most of the way home.
This match in 2019 marks the start of the second half of the red-ball season and begins the run-in for two of the biggest names in the county game.
We’ll be back next week to look in detail at another period of the season which will get you dreaming of the cricket season. 2019 Memberships are available now!