Surrey Shine On Festival Fortnight

Morkel unsuccessful site

Published: 6th December, 2018

As part of our ongoing Creating New History series, detailing the biggest aspects of the 2018 Specsavers County Championship title victory, Surrey’s players have reflected on the impact of their festival fortnight at Guildford and Scarborough in the middle of the season.

With three victories from their first five matches in the campaign and two in a row, Surrey were well set for a title tilt with nine games still to play. Approaching the end of one of the hottest months of June on record, Surrey crushed nearest challengers Somerset by an innings at Guildford before a six-wicket win over Yorkshire at Scarborough.

Click here to see the latest episode of Creating New History, focusing on Surrey’s best performances in 2018.

That win over Somerset will mainly be remembered for the performance of one young all-rounder. With the visitors fighting back after an impressive first innings Surrey score, the ball went to Ryan Patel. He then proceeded to take five wickets in just 11 balls and end with six wickets from his 3.5 overs.

He didn’t even get to bowl in the second innings but much of the work was already done and Surrey clocked up their first Guildford win since 2002.

Director of Cricket Alec Stewart couldn’t believe his eyes.

He said: “Guildford’s been a tough place in recent times. Going back in time we had a decent record but then for too many years we weren’t good enough there. Against Somerset this year we battled well and got ahead early. It wasn’t straightforward and they started to claw it back in the second innings but then Ryan Patel did something incredible. To take five wickets in 11 balls is something I doubt he’ll repeat, I hope he does, but just to be sat there watching it was amazing.”

Taking the gloves in place of Ben Foakes that week was Ollie Pope, who had a prime view of the carnage created by Patel’s in-swingers.

“It was one of those days. Everything went his way, with everything getting nicked rather play and missed. It was awesome to watch and I was lucky enough to get to see it from behind the stumps. I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Pope.

On to Scarborough then and another week of glorious festival cricket in one of Britain’s favourite seaside resorts. Behind the eight-ball at the halfway point, it was Morne Morkel who came up trumps in the match’s third innings to swing it back into Surrey’s favour.

Click here to see the latest episode of Creating New History, focusing on Surrey’s best performances in 2018.

In front of a partisan crowd and at an outground that Yorkshire hold dear, Rory Burns was impressed with his side.

“The mentality we demonstrated to win the match at Scarborough having been behind at the halfway stage was very pleasing. That game was set up by the bowlers in the second innings which was quite exceptional from all of them.

“Winning games from behind or in any position was something we spoke about and once you’ve done it it breeds that confidence. After the bowlers got us back in to it, Rocky and I managed to knock off quite a lot of the target on the third evening. To then get there four down was pretty exceptional.”

Jade Dernbach was a key figure across that fortnight spell with 11 wickets in the four innings and revelled in the atmosphere around a confident squad at the time.

“I hadn’t played at Scarborough for a number of years but I knew that for Yorkshire it’s a second home and they seem to regard it as a fortress so any time you go there and put in a performance it’s going to be quite defining.

“Everyone who was there to see that game will have really believed, or at least we certainly started to truly believe, that we could go on to become champions.”

The star of that third innings was Morkel however and the chance to visit a ground like Scarborough in his first full summer in England was one he enjoyed.

“It was my first time at Scarborough and I had heard a lot about it through the summer. There was lots of talk about the pace and bounce of the wicket which was exciting for me as a seam bowler. It’s a beautiful place by the seaside and the bowlers really came to the party that week. I was quite lucky to get the wickets but I can only thank the bowling unit for that.”

Missed all of Creating New History so far? Get hooked now with the first episode, focusing on the culture cultivated by Captain Rory Burns.

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