Surrey 333 (Pope 136, Clark 55, Patterson 4-69) and 55 for 0 (Burns 30*, Patel 19*) beat Yorkshire 179 (Kohler-Cadmore 55, Lawes 4-31) and 208 (Lyth 46, Worrall 4-61) by ten wickets
Surrey County Cricket Club, County Champions once more. A second title in four years, a fourth in the 2000s, a 21st in their long and storied history, was claimed in emphatic fashion with victory over Yorkshire by ten wickets.
Winning titles at home is always preferable, though doing so a round early – with a day to spare – meant the Division One trophy was still locked away at Lord’s. It will be back in their possession at the end of their final fixture against Lancashire up at Emirates Old Trafford, and will presented by their former chair Richard Thompson, no less, in his new role as chief executive of the ECB.
That game may no longer have any consequence, but don’t call it a dead rubber. Surrey still have an unbeaten record to preserve.
Yet, as odd as it may sound, no one seemed to miss the golden goblet here.
By 2.49pm, Surrey players and coaching staff had re-emerged onto the ground, beers in hand, to salute the crowd. There’s a small matter of the team’s end-of-season dinner tonight, too. Trophy or not, they’ll be just fine.
This was always going to be more Surrey’s day than Yorkshire’s as the latter returned in their second innings on 89 for two, still trailing by 65. Quite how emphatically so was dependent on the goings-on at The Ageas Bowl, where second-place Hampshire, already four-down in their chase, had 269 remaining to secure an unlikely win over Kent. Nevertheless, the best of starts came here when a clerical bowling change brought the first of the final eight wickets needed.
It was the second breakthrough in three balls, after Clark finished the over before by removing Will Fraine with a bit of extra lift that surprised the right-hander into playing onto his own stumps. With that, Clark’s season tally moved to 30 which, along with his 467 runs at 51.88, underlines how invaluable he has been to the balance of this XI since his arrival from Lancashire in 2018. Fittingly, he was awarded his county cap at the lunch interval.
Clark might have ticked over to 31 by then. With Yorkshire trailing by 30, skipper Jonny Tattersall, top-scorer in the first innings with an unbeaten 45, was put down on three off Clark. Again, Patel was the slip fielder though the legitimacy of the catch would have probably been called into question given how low it arrived.
Tattersall went on to a dogged 21 but had the misfortune of being caught down the leg side off a delivery from Jamie Overton that looked like being too wide for any trouble. He’d at least got his team within four runs of Surrey’s total, a deficit which was wiped with singles before Jordan Thompson square-drove Overton gloriously through backward point to put Yorkshire four ahead.
That lead was 17 (for six) by the end of the first session, at which point the more cynical sorts began fearing a tricky fourth-innings chase, even as an eighth-wicket stand of 63 between James Vince and James Fuller began to chip away at the 169 still needed for victory further down south.
Two overs after the restart, Thompson had a bruise and a new helmet after Overton cranked one up from the Pavilion End to strike him on the grille via his right forearm. And, to add insult to injury, he was off four deliveries later when one from Worrall kept low to pin him on the shin in front of off stump. At the same time, Vince holed out to deep midwicket for 73. With that, those in the stands could refocus their attention on what was in front of them.
A brisk 22 from five overs was nipped in the bud when Dom Bess was caught down the leg side off Roach for a diligent 43, before Mike’s brisk 14 was ended by a nip-backer from Worrall with the lead at 52. And when Worrall bowled the ever-retreating Ben Coad to give himself four for 61, Surrey’s task was simple – 55 for the win. And then, when Kent took the last Hampshire wicket to confirm a 77-run win during the innings break, confirmation this 55 would be for the Championship.
The first over brought 16 of them: Burns guiding two fours to third man between second and third slip, before an imperious clip off the hips through square leg. A botched charge led to four byes in between whiles and, in turn, a carnival atmosphere ensued in south London.
Among the cheers for boundaries was the odd chuckle, notably when Tattersall, having given up keeping duties to Kohler-Cadmore, started with a head-high full toss that Patel trimmed for four of his own (six with the no-ball). A heartier whoop followed when Burns pulled out a perfect reverse sweep for boundary No.5, before the sixth confirmed the inevitable.
Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo