Mark Church, the Surrey commentator-in-chief, tweets the gory or glorious (according to taste) details of Surrey’s recent run of triumphs in the Country Championship:
Surrey’s 5 straight wins:
Innings and 17 runs
Innings and 58 runs
Innings and 89 runs
Innings and 183 runs
6 wins in total this season
Good numbers those 🏏🏏
Very good. No surprise, then, that Surrey are way out in front and are hot favourites to win the whole thing.
I’ve been following all these wins, the scores via Cricinfo, and if I want to hear the actual fall of wickets being described by normally taciturn men who suddenly start shouting, then through the BBC commentaries, the ones that Mark Church does.
If you follow a sports team, you will know both how deeply satisfying this Surrey hot streak has been for me, a Surrey supporter, and also how impossible it is for me to explain to someone who doesn’t share such sports fan feelings why it is so satisfying.
With four day county cricket, keeping track of the progress of a steamroller team, like Surrey have been this year, means tracking your team for twenty solid days, six hours each day, minus the days you miss because Surrey have already won inside three days, like they did today. Imagine following your football team doing that, winning for twenty solid days!
Follow that link, and you will learn that the guy who made the difference for Surrey today was South African pace monster Morne Morkel. The word is that people around the counties hate Surrey a bit less than usual just now, on account of so many of Surrey’s good players these days being proper county cricketers that they have nurtured in their Academy or whatever, rather than bought in from The World. But Morkel is a classic throw-money-at-the-problem answer to a problem, the problem being that Surrey needed a bowler like Morkel to make their bowling attack the complete steamroller than it now is.
Morkel wasn’t just the difference today. On the first morning of this game, when Notts were just one wicket down and were groping towards a position of batting adequacy, Morkel got two quick wickets, and Notts never recovered. Instead of Notts batting in the second half of the day when batting was easier, Surrey got to bat then. Yesterday morning, Surrey batted on and lost four wickets for not a lot, but this wasn’t enough for Notts to get back into the game. The Surrey tail didn’t so much wag as flail. Rikki Clarke, who started his career at Surrey and is now finishing it there, got a century batting at eight, Burns having already scored a century batting at one, and that was pretty much that.
Okay, your eyes glazed during that last paragraph, but you are now here. The point is: Surrey are now really good.
This metaphorical hot streak of Surrey’s has been a great comfort to me, in these literally very hot times.