Surrey & England legend Mark Butcher cut the ribbon on his room in the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion during the second day of the fourth LV= Insurance Test Match between England & India at The Kia Oval on Friday.
Butcher, at the match as part of Sky Sports’ broadcasting team, heard a speech from Chairman Richard Thompson before thanking those in attendance, including former teammates and father Alan, and Surrey County Cricket Club for their support through his highly distinguished career.
Created as part of the new development at The Kia Oval that encompasses the three-tier Galadari Stand, vast events spaces & a dedicated match day store all connected to the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion, the Mark Butcher Room celebrates the career of one of the modern batting greats of Surrey & England.
Born in Croydon in 1972 as the son of Surrey batsman Alan, ‘Butch’ spent his childhood surrounded by the game and always seemed to destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, who made 761 career appearances including one Test match in 1979. Likewise his brother Gary, who played for Surrey & Glamorgan in an eight-year county career.
Mark reached first-class and List A level while still a teenager, playing five times at the elite domestic level before his 20th birthday. Immediately recognised as a batsman of high class, it wasn’t long before Butcher was a fan’s favourite in the stands at The Oval.
Five consecutive 1000-run first-class seasons between 1995 and 1999 tied in to the start of the trophy-laden Adam Hollioake era when he, Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe, Martin Bicknell et al were dominating county cricket and the England Test side.
His Test debut came as a gutsy and combative opener in the 3-2 home Ashes series defeat of 1997. The first of his eight Test centuries was to follow in 1998 but it was in the 2001 Ashes match at Headingley, batting at number three, that Butcher’s magnum opus was created.
Needing more than 300 in the fourth innings to win the match, England were 8/1 after three overs. Butch hit 173 from just 227 balls on one of the iconic days of Ashes cricket for England fans.
When Butcher returned more permanently to county cricket after the 2004 season, he was immediately made Club captain for 2005 and remained in the role until his retirement in 2009.
For England, Butcher played 71 Test matches and scored 4288 runs but remarkably never featured in an ODI. For Surrey, he scored 16525 runs in 370 matches across first-class & List A cricket.
More than just that sheer weight of numbers, Butcher’s career was one of deep connection to the Club through the brightest and darkest moments of its modern era. He won eight trophies, including three County Championships. He also wrote and performed his own song ‘You’re Never Gone’ at the memorial service for teammate Ben Hollioake.
Since hanging up his bat he’s been a constant presence at The Kia Oval, a familiar face to Members who remember his greatest triumphs and an enthusiastic one to those cricket obsessives who are too young to. He’s now a world-class cricket broadcaster, covering international cricket in England and overseas. He has even transformed his passion for playing the guitar into two studio albums.
Born and raised in Surrey and now a key part of the Pavilion at the county’s cricketing home, Mark Butcher is a shining light of the Surrey Family.