Published: 9th October, 2018
Surrey’s bowlers were in fine form throughout the 2018 campaign but what were the best individual efforts across the summer?
Picking up the 20 wickets required for Specsavers County Championship is no mean feat for any bowling attack. This year’s Surrey side achieved that 10 times, were robbed of the final day at Somerset in order to take another seven and were just one away from victory in the season closer against Essex.
Morne Morkel led the way for Surrey in Division One with 59 wickets, just five fewer than division leader Tom Bailey in six fewer innings with the ball in his hand.
Rikki Clarke (47), Amar Virdi (39) & Jade Dernbach (32) were all consistently on the money throughout the campaign and rewarded as key players in the title success.
Brothers Sam & Tom Curran both had their time with Surrey cut short by international commitments but still picked up 25 wickets from seven matches and 19 from four appearances respectively.
Here are the standout spells with the red ball from the 2018 summer.
S. Curran v Yorkshire – 10/101 in the match
The first 10 wicket haul of a career described as fledgling by commentator Johnny Barran, our young left arm seamer ripped through a star-studded Yorkshire team with the scalps of internationals Joe Root, Cheteshwar Pujara & Adam Lyth namely.
It was Curran’s ability with the swinging new ball from both over and round the wicket that proved impossible to deal with. The method of his wickets – five caught in the slips, three bowled and two LBWs – prove that Curran didn’t have to rely on luck, he simply had too much for the batsmen across the week.
Much like Ollie Pope – who scored 158 in the first innings of the match – Curran seemingly picked a good match, in front of the England captain, to shine.
Clarke v Hampshire -5/29 in the first innings
With a solid base of 368 at the Ageas Bowl, Surrey could go on the attack with the ball. Having watched Jade Dernbach, Sam Curran & Morne Morkel get the innings under way, Clarke was handed the ball and soon got to work.
The first victim was England man James Vince in the way that became Clarke’s trademark wicket with an outswinger caught in the slips. Next up came opener Jimmy Adams trapped in front before Gareth Berg’s back leg somehow prevented the ball from clattering into his stumps.
Clarke demonstrated his versatility too with a short ball to Brad Taylor that proved unplayable before completing the innings with Ben Foakes catching Fidel Edwards.
Patel v Somerset – 6/5 in just 3.5 overs
Crucial to a Championship winning campaign is the ability to throw the ball to a number of options within the team and know you can rely on a performance. When Rory Burns called on Ryan Patel at Guildford, he maybe wasn’t quite expecting this response however.
In just 11 balls, the medium pace bowler had his maiden first-class five-fer and Somerset went from 169/4 to 174/9. Settled opener Ed Byrom was first to go trapped in front. Lewis Gregory followed him back to the new state-of-the-art Pavilion shortly afterwards when caught by Scott Borthwick before the other set batsman Steve Davies was also out LBW.
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Josh Davey was then caught in the slips before Tim Groenewald was the third leg before victim and Patel’s five-wicket haul was confirmed. All that was left was to wrap up the innings and of course it was Patel with his fourth LBW to see off Jack Leach and end a whirlwind passage of play.
Morkel v Nottinghamshire – 9/120 in the match
With the hosts up first at Trent Bridge, Morkel was the first change bowler that made headway through the batting lineup with opener Jake Libby and number three Will Fraine both caught in the gully area after fending off the South African’s steepling bounce. He returned later in the innings to clatter Luke Fletcher’s off stump and have Stuart Broad caught at mid off.
Libby was in Morkel’s pocket throughout the match and was LBW going back to a full delivery then Samit Patel, Billy Root, Broad and Jake Ball were all powerless to resist the South African’s charms as he got into full swing for his best red ball performance for Surrey at the time.
That created another innings victory for Surrey but was just the start of the dominance Morkel was to enjoy in the second half of the season.
Morkel v Lancashire – 6/57 in the second innings
Lancashire required 96 runs on the final day of this pink ball match. Surrey needed five wickets. Morne Morkel began the day fresh and took the ball from the Pavilion End.
He already had one wicket in the innings to his name but his incredible burst of pace and bounce to win this one was one of the best individual performances throughout the season.
It began with Steven Croft, Josh Bohannon and Joe Mennie all powerless to resist and edge through behind the stumps. Then came a stubborn partnership between Graham Onions and Tom Bailey which saw Morkel require a breather. As the visitors approached the winning score, our Test bowler returned to bowl Onions before *that* Will Jacks catch sparked wild celebrations.
Morkel, McKerr & T. Curran v Nottinghamshire – 18/166 in the match
Now, obviously we said this was for individual bowling efforts but we simply couldn’t overlook just how well the seam attack smothered the Nottinghamshire batsmen for this innings victory.
Conor McKerr and Tom Curran were both battling back to full fitness having suffered injuries earlier in the season and looked at the peak of their powers in this one.
Surrey’s 375 in the first innings was enough for another innings win as McKerr (7/47), Curran (6/59) & Morkel (5/60) allowed just one wicket for spinner Amar Virdi and one to go to the fielding of Will Jacks.
Curran took the mantle for the top order in the first innings and a five-fer was his reward while McKerr and Morkel sweeped up much of the middle order. McKerr was the tormenter-in-chief in the second innings, taking four wickets for just 26 runs.
Morkel v Essex – 4/28 in the second innings
A losing effort but just about the best fight that could have been made ahead of the presentation of the trophy in front of the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion.
Essex needed 131 in the final innings to consign Surrey to their first defeat of the red ball season and got their with just one wicket to spare.
It seemed impossible as the innings got under way but Morkel beating Indian Test opener Murali Vijay gave the slightest hope. Dernbach & Virdi were also in the wickets before Morkel came back for an explosive spell that looked to have Surrey unlikely favourites at one stage.
Adam Wheater was caught in the slips, first innings centurion Simon Harmer caught behind and Jamie Porter out LBW before captain Ryan ten Doeschate held the innings together just enough to crawl over the finish line.
Have we missed your favourite spell? Tweet us at @surreycricket to let us know which one you will remember most.