Richard Spiller looks back on five classic List A contests between Surrey & Somerset ahead of Thursday’s Royal London Cup meeting at The Kia Oval.
1969: Player’s County League – Somerset won by 9 wickets
The first year of the new Sunday League sent Surrey to the Ironmould Lane ground in Bristol for their inaugural List A meeting with Somerset.
Graham Roope’s 52 was the highlight of the visitors’ innings after they were sent in, Intikhab Alam’s 27 next best in reaching 173-7.
An early success, when Roope snapped up a catch off Geoff Arnold to remove Tony Clarkson for a duck, only brought in young Australian strokemaker Greg Chappell and his unbeaten 128 – improving on his previous best of 41 – dominated a second-wicket stand with Roy Virgin (42no) which saw Somerset to an easy victory with 10 balls to spare
Surrey 173-7 (40) lost to Somerset 175-1 (38.2).
1981: Benson & Hedges Cup final – Somerset won by 7 wickets
Surrey reached Lord’s for the third successive season but, just as Essex and Middlesex had done, Somerset sent them home potless in lifting the Benson & Hedges Cup for the first time.
The circumstances were less than propitious for Roger Knight’s men, having spent the previous three days attempting to settle a NatWest Trophy tie with Leicestershire at The Oval and finally losing a 10-over Friday evening thrash.
They started like a team with a hangover, limping to 15-1 from the first 17 overs and needing a typically sterling 92 from Knight to reach 194-8 from 55 overs.
Just as giant paceman Joel Garner evoked memories of his mastery over England in the World Cup final two years earlier, claiming 5-14 from 11 overs, so did his West Indies colleague Viv Richards. Finding Somerset 5-2 after three overs of the reply, he made a superb unbeaten 132 which steadily took the game away from Surrey.
Ian Botham, who had been given the silent treatment earlier that July when he suffered a pair in the Ashes Test, now walked out to a standing ovation following the Headingley miracle. In typical fashion he crashed his first ball straight into the pavilion on the way to 37no so that Somerset cantered in with 10.3 overs to spare.
Surrey 194-8 (55), Somerset 197-3 (44.3).
1994: Benson & Hedges Cup zonal round – Surrey won by 35 runs
It should have been no surprise that Alec Stewart launched Surrey’s season in prime form, stroking an unbeaten 167.
Just three weeks earlier he had scored a century in each innings for England against West Indies in Barbados, inspiring a famous Test victory. Having chosen to bat first, Stewart lost Darren Bicknell (8) early but added 105 with fellow tourist Graham Thorpe (34) and 140 with David Ward (50) before Alistair Brown (19no) stayed to the end of the 55 overs to accrue 288-3. Andy Caddick, having been Stewart and Thorpe’s colleague so recently, was despatched for 62 from his 11 overs.
Mark Lathwell, who had played two Tests amid the wreckage of an Ashes mauling the previous summer, was equally dominant in hammering 120 and was helped by Richard Harden (34) and Nick Folland (38) in leading the reply to 202-2.
Lathwell became one of three victims for Mark Butcher’s medium pace and with Martin Bicknell’s 4-49 he ensured the visitors were bowled out for 253 in the 54th over.
Surrey 288-3 (55), Somerset 253ao (53.2).
1998: Benson & Hedges Cup zonal round – Surrey won by 9 runs
Being outshone by Ben Hollioake was just part of the job if you played for Surrey around the turn of the century.
Alec Stewart’s 108 formed the backbone for the hosts in their 296-6 from 50 overs but it was the stylish all-rounder who caught the eye, his 91 joining in a second-wicket alliance worth 185. Hollioake almost single-handedly smashed leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed out of the attack as his three overs cost 36. Both fell in the end to Marcus Trescothick, as did skipper Adam Hollioake (10).
There were doubts it would be enough while Dermot Reeve (60) – having moved from Warwickshire – and Mike Burns (95) launched the reply with a stand worth 158 but after that the Surrey attack worked their way through the batting, Ben Hollioake and Martin Bicknell claiming three wickets each to dismiss Somerset with seven balls to spare of a thoroughly entertaining contest.
Surrey 296-6 (50), Somerset 287ao (48.5).
2011: Clydesdale Bank 40 final – Surrey won by 5 wickets
It all came right for Surrey in the closing stages of the 2011 summer.
Four successive victories in the County Championship ensured promotion from Division Two – which had looked highly unlikely just a month earlier – but in the Clydesdale 40 they were the outstanding team of the season, winning 11 out of 12 league matches and then seeing off Sussex by 71 runs in the semi-final.
A Somerset side desperate to avoid finishing second in a competition for the fifth time in two years would surely test them. Off-spinner Matt Spriegel struck an important blow in the fifth over by having half-fit Marcus Trescothick stumped by Steven Davies, after the Cidermen had surprisingly chosen to bat first despite the iffy weather forecast.
At 124-6 in the 30th over, Somerset seemed unlikely to raise a challenging total but owed Jos Buttler’s commanding 86 from 72 balls before becoming the final victim of Jade Dernbach’s 4-30 as they were dismissed for 214 in the final over. Gareth Batty chipped in with 2-35, well supported by fellow spinners Spriegel, Chris Schofield and Zafar Ansari.
Surrey soon lost Steven Davies (8) and then Jason Roy (11), two rain delays seeing the target readjusted to 186 from 30 overs.
Skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown had his nervy moments, being dropped at midwicket in the opening over, but gained useful support from Tom Maynard (17) and Schofield (26) before being run out for a typically buccaneering 78. That left Surrey 147-5 in the 23rd over, the job being completed by Zander de Bruyn (17no) and Spriegel (24no) with 15 balls remaining, giving the county their first trophy for six years.
Somerset 214ao (39.2), Surrey 189-5 (27.3/30) (DL).