As Warwickshire prepare to be the fourth and final visitors to the Kia Oval in the Royal London Cup, Richard Spiller looks back on some of the best List A clashes between the counties in the past.
1969: Player’s County League – Surrey won by 10 wickets
Having avoided each other in the first six years of the Gillette Cup, the two counties had to wait until July 1969 for their inaugural List A encounter in the new Sunday League.
It proved a short engagement, Warwickshire being inserted at Edgbaston and being bowled out in 31.1 overs for 86. Captain and wicketkeeper Alan Smith was the highest scorer, making 23, former England skipper MJK Smith’s 17 the next best against an attack led by Geoff Arnold’s miserly 2-12 from eight overs. Robin Jackman and Jimmy Cumbes also finished with two wickets.
John Edrich (51no) and Mike Edwards (32no) found life rather easier against an attack featuring Tom Cartwright and Jack Bannister, the latter playing his final List A match, knocking off the runs with 19.1 overs in hand.
Warwickshire 86ao (31.1), Surrey 87-0 (20.5).
1982: NatWest Trophy final – Surrey won by 9 wickets
Surrey were getting painfully accustomed to losing finals by 1982, having been the bridesmaids to Essex (Benson & Hedges Cup), Middlesex (Gillette Cup) and Somerset (B&H) in the previous three seasons. After a miserable time in the mid-1970s, skipper Roger Knight and manager Micky Stewart had re-established Surrey as a force but wanted a trophy to confirm that.
This time they got it resoundingly right. Durham, Northants and Hampshire had all been brushed aside on the way to the semi-final, where Mike Brearley’s powerful Middlesex side were trounced by 125 runs at The Oval.
Now Warwickshire stood in their way, led by former Surrey man and current England captain Bob Willis. It was a year when the toss was particularly important, given matches were starting at 10am, Robin Jackman almost immediately having Andy Lloyd lbw in the second over before a fierce burst of three wickets for one run in 11 balls from David Thomas put Surrey firmly in charge. He pushed opener David Smith (12) so far back that he trod on his stumps, then cleaned up prolific opener Dennis Amiss for a duck and had Geoff Humpage (0) magnificently caught behind by a flying Jack Richards.
From there Surrey never let their grip slip, two fine catches at slip by Geoff Howarth off Knight maintaining the feeling it was truly Surrey’s day at last. At 74-8 the game was effectively over and although Asif Din (45) and Gladstone Small (33) put on 62 in 24 overs, a six-man seam attack had Warwickshire back in the pavilion for 158.
Sylvester Clarke, Jackman and Knight finished with two wickets to augment Thomas’s 3-26.
Any remaining Surrey nerves steadily evaporated, Alan Butcher and Geoff Howarth (31) launching the reply with 80, David Smith (28no) helping Butcher (86no) finish the job in 33.4 overs before Knight – delight mixed with relief – received the NatWest Trophy.
Warwickshire 158ao (57.2), Surrey 159-1 (33.4).
1994: Benson & Hedges Cup, semi-final: Warwickshire won by 4 wickets
Coming just a day after Brian Lara had become the first player to score 500 in a first-class game – against Durham at Edgbaston – it was no surprise that this pulsating tie was dominated by his presence.
It certainly contributed to an excellent attendance, so it was no shock that the West Indian maestro played a key role. He had to wait to bat until 5.30pm, having suffered a migraine amid all the tumult, Surrey flourishing after being inserted. Darren Bicknell (39) and Alec Stewart (24) gave the hosts – unbeaten in List A cricket to this point – a crisp start, Graham Thorpe (87) and David Ward (61) then adding 118 for the third wicket.
They both fell to off-spinner Neil Smith (3-54) and the innings lost momentum before closing at 267-7, Dermot Reeve underlining his one-day expertise to finish with 3-48.
Dominic Ostler (44) and Roger Twose (46) put on 78 for the second wicket, both among Tony Pigott’s three victims, and when Lara entered the match was in the balance at 120-4. His 70 from 73 balls, twinned with man of the match Reeve’s unbeaten 46, ensured 93 runs were added in 20 overs and although Adam Hollioake removed Lara’s middle-stump near the end, it was Warwickshire who went through to the final in a season where they won three out of four trophies.
Surrey 267-7 (55), Warwickshire 270-6 (54.1).
1996: Axa Equity & Law League – Surrey won by 2 wickets.
It was desperately tight at the top of the Axa Equity & Law League as the 1996 campaign entered the final three rounds and Surrey – having been beaten in the semi-final of one knockout competition and last eight of another – were desperate to end their 14 years without a trophy.
With Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe and Adam Hollioake all away on international duty, the home side were captained by Chris Lewis, Warwickshire being among the challengers.
Having chosen to bat first, the visitors were in early trouble at 43-4, Dougie Brown (66) and Mike Burns (29) adding 80 until a trio of strikes from off-spinner Richard Pearson. Joey Benjamin, playing against his old county, also finished with 3-33 as Warwickshire were dismissed for 185 but Surrey had taken so long to bowl their 39.4 overs that they would face just 37 back and were fined £1,320.
They had made the job even harder by bowling 15 wides but Warwickshire paid that back with interest by delivering 21. Losing Alistair Brown (6) early, the hosts progressed through Mark Butcher (48) and Darren Bicknell (21), Nadeem Shahid’s 43 making the hosts favourite before he was run out. Lewis made 26 but Surrey got the wobbles from 169-4, entering the final over needing three runs with three wickets in hand and inching nervously to victory by two wickets with two balls to spare.
Warwickshire 185ao (39.4), Surrey 186-8 (36.4).
2011: Clydesdale Bank 40, Group B – Surrey won by 3 wickets
Sent into bat at Guildford, Warwickshire were indebted to Rikki Clarke – who had spent his formative years playing at Woodbridge Road – for ensuring they had a competitive total.
Clarke’s 76, entering at 95-4, came off 61 balls and included nine fours and two sixes, adding 55 for the fifth wicket with Tim Ambrose (39). He dominated another 55 stand, for the sixth wicket, with Chris Woakes (12) but both were victims of Pakistani seamer Yasir Arafat, whose 5-45 was instrumental in containing the visitors to 225-8.
Coached by another Guildford graduate in Ashley Giles, Warwickshire had high hopes when they removed Rory Hamilton-Brown (0) and Jason Roy (7) early. Steven Davies (23) provided momentum and Tom Maynard made 39 but Surrey were dependent on the experience of Zander de Bruyn (84no). Aided by Matt Spriegel (20) and Zafar Ansari (22), he saw Surrey to victory with seven balls in hand.
Warwickshire 225-8 (40); Surrey 227-7 (38.5).