Surrey wrapped up their second LV= Insurance County Championship title in five years, and 21st overall, when they beat Yorkshire by 10 wickets inside three days at The Micky Stewart Oval.
Yorkshire, starting the day 65 runs behind at 89 for 2 in their second innings – they were following on after being dismissed for 179 in reply to Surrey’s first innings 333 – were bowled out again for 208 with Dan Worrall taking 4 for 61.
That left Surrey needing just 55 for victory, knowing that second-placed Hampshire had already lost to Kent at Southampton, and their 22-point win tally took them 27 points clear at the top of Division One – an unassailable lead with just one round of championship games left to be played next week.
It took captain Rory Burns and his fellow opener Ryan Patel only 37 balls to knock off the runs required, with Burns pulling his opposite number Jonny Tattersall, who took off his wicketkeeping pads to purvey some leg breaks, for four to take Surrey to 55 without loss.
It was Surrey’s eighth win from 13 matches and they remain the only county from both divisions to remain unbeaten in what has been a triumphant campaign.
The long-time championship leaders, and favourites, beat Hampshire decisively in their only meeting this season, back in mid-April, and are thoroughly deserved winners. Additionally, of the 22 players who have appeared for them in the championship this season, 11 are homegrown cricketers who have been nurtured through Surrey’s age group teams and their Academy.
One of those players, 19-year-old seamer Tom Lawes, is top of their championship bowling averages with 18 wickets at an average of 20.00 from the first five matches he has played in his embryonic career, having taken 4 for 31 in Yorkshire’s first innings.
Yorkshire’s chances of turning the match around suffered an almost immediate blow when Cameron Steel, surprisingly given the first over of the day from the Vauxhall End, turned his googly appreciably to bowl Tom Kohler-Cadmore for 11 through a back foot defensive gate with his sixth ball.
Adam Lyth, who had battled to 36 on the second evening, resisted for almost an hour in the company of Will Fraine before the two fell in the space of two balls in the 14th over of the day.
Fraine went for 13, bowled by a ball from Jordan Clark which jagged back off the seam and may have brushed his right elbow before cannoning into the middle and off stumps, and then Lyth departed for 46 as Kemar Roach was at last rewarded for a testing spell from the Pavilion End.
West Indies Test paceman Roach, in his seventh over of the morning, swung one away from left-hander Lyth, from around the wicket, to have the former England Test opener caught by Patel at third slip.
That left Yorkshire 116 for 5 and, 11 overs and 34 runs later, Tattersall’s 21 ended when he touched a lifting legside ball from Jamie Overton to keeper Ben Foakes.
Soon after lunch Worrall angled one that kept a little low into Jordan Thompson’s pads, from around the wicket, to have the left-hander leg-before for 8.
And when Dom Bess, who had fought hard for his 43 from 71 balls, could only fend off a steeply rising ball from Roach to Foakes, making good ground to his left to take the catch, the end was nigh for Yorkshire’s second innings.
In the next over, indeed, Worrall pegged back Ben Mike’s off stump with a perfect outswinger, the all-rounder departing for a 14 which had included a second-ball pull for six off the same bowler.
Worrall hit last man Steven Patterson’s off stump to finish off the innings, leaving Burns to take three fours off Ben Coad’s opening over as he and Patel knocked off the runs with a flourish, scoring 30 and 19 not out respectively.
Surrey’s triumph has been based on a deep batting order and a relentless fast bowling attack, in which Worrall now has 39 wickets at 24.15, Roach 25 at 24.04, Overton 33 at 24.72 and Clark 30 at 33.86. Another youthful quick, Gus Atkinson, aged 24 and like Lawes a product of Surrey’s youth system, has taken 13 wickets in his four appearances and – as in this match – they have often fielded five frontline pace bowlers in their championship XIs.