Brown proves a big hit

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The Independent Online
DAVID LLEWELLYN

reports from The Oval

Durham 189-8

Surrey 190-3

Surrey win by seven wickets

A brutal half-century by Alistair Brown was probably good enough cause for the police to turn up in protective headgear and riot shields outside The Oval. They were there to monitor and contain, if necessary, a small demonstration between Kennington police station and The Oval tube station. Even the police helicopter was at risk from a couple of Brown's more ambitious attempts at finding the boundary.

His 79, which contained three huge sixes and nine boundaries, scattered fielders and shattered the labouring Durham bowlers. A victory target of 190 with Brown in this sort of mood was hopelessly inadequate as Surrey won with almost five overs to spare.

It was amazing that Durham had managed to make as many. No single batsman stood out, although nine of them did get into double figures. Each time a partnership began to blossom the Surrey bowlers would nip it in the bud. Martin Bicknell was a model of economy, while Tony Pigott belied his 36 years with a useful 3 for 34. Surrey's two Marks, Kenlock and Butcher, were a mite generous, contributing eight wides between them to the Durham cause, but charity was not in Brown's heart when he strode out.

He and Darren Bicknell shared a 56-run opening partnership before Bicknell attempted an extravagant drive and was caught behind. Alec Stewart then joined Brown and they added another 66 runs. At that point Brown, whose innings lost none of its culture despite the big hitting, whipped a delivery from the Surrey old boy, James Boiling, to Mel Bettsin the deep at wide mid-wicket. By then Brown had passed 2,000 runs in the competition, having made his debut in 1992.

Graham Thorpe went four overs later but the crowd's disappointment was tempered by the arrival of another Oval favourite, David Ward, who is currently only playing limited-overs matches. He made an unbeaten 32 and, with Stewart's 44, took Surrey to their second Sunday League win.

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