Published: 10th October, 2018
Took their catches, they won 10 matches; that’s a major reason as to why Surrey won this year’s Specsavers County Championship.
Although it’s often the wickets and runs that grab the headlines, it’s a well-trodden cliche within cricket that the standard of fielding often decides matches at the highest level of the domestic game.
140 catches across the 14 matches in the campaign act as a good demonstration of just how dangerous Surrey were both with ball in hand and in the field.
Behind the stumps, Ben Foakes took 37, with one stumping, from 12 matches while Ollie Pope claimed nine catches with the gloves on in the festival fortnight at Guildford and Scarborough.
Rikki Clarke led the way for the outfielders with 19, usually from the slips, while his sidekick in the cordon Scott Borthwick came next with 13.
Here are the catches that immediately spring to mind for us.
Rory Burns v Lancashire, Specsavers County Championship at Kia Oval
With the end of *that* tense day/night clash with Lancashire looming large, skipper Burns crept forward to an unorthodox advanced position in the slips. It required a helmet but it didn’t stop him reacting in time to snaffle this wild swing from Josh Bohannon.
Rikki Clarke v Somerset, Vitality Blast at Kia Oval
Looking up after your follow through to see the ball hurtling back towards your chest is many a seam bowler’s worst nightmare but Clarke was well switched on here to make sure of the end of the dangerous Johan Myburgh.
Ben Foakes v Somerset, Specsavers County Championship at Taunton
Of his 37 catches, this was perhaps the most stunning from the ever reliable Foakes. That it came towards the end of a seemingly never ending season for the wicket keeper made the agility and concentration even more impressive.
Will Jacks v Lancashire, Specsavers County Championship at Kia Oval
The Sylvester Clarke Large Rum Moment and a decisive part of the Division One title charge but was it your favourite catch of the year? This reactionary grab from Jacks had everyone at the Kia Oval in raptures.
Will Jacks v Middlesex, Vitality Blast at Lord’s
In comparison to his other entry on this list, this was just about as different as a catch could possibly be from the youngster. Covering a lot of ground on the boundary and then getting his fingers under the ball, the celebration was well earned.
Jamie Smith v Kent, Vitality Blast at Kia Oval
The young wicket keeper batsman had made his senior debut just 24 hours earlier so when this swirler climbed up above the Kia Oval lights, Smith was sure to be nervous. It certainly didn’t show as he backtracked from point and took a stunner over his shoulder.
Ollie Pope v Yorkshire, Specsavers County Championship at Scarborough
A wicket keeper by trade, Pope has spent much of his first-class career in the field due to Ben Foakes’ excellent form. The latter’s time with the England Lions meant that Pope took the gloves at Scarborough and judging by this, looked very much at home.
Have we missed your favourite innings? Tweet us at @surreycricket to let us know which one you will remember most.