Cricket: Ben the boy for big occasion

B & H final: Hollioake the younger falls two runs short of a Lord's century as Surrey stroll to victory
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Not for the first time this summer, Ben Hollioake captivated a full house at Lord's with the casual confidence of his strokeplay. In the spring, the victims were the Australians; yesterday, in the final of the Benson & Hedges Cup, Kent played the stooge as the 19-year-old right-hander made a mockery of earlier struggles to lift Surrey to their first one-day knockout title for 15 years. The last time they won this competition, Margaret Thatcher was five years' short of Downing Street and David Thomas won man of the match.

It was as much the manner of the scoring as the statistics of a memorable innings which subdued Kent and reduced an evenly matched final to a procession. Once Hollioake - or 'Olly'ock, as Geoff Boycott calls him - had imperiously clipped Martin McCague to the Tavern stand for the first of his 15 fours, only four fewer than Kent managed in their whole pedestrian innings, Surrey's nerves receded in the aftermath of a calamitous defeat by Nottinghamshire in the NatWest Trophy on Tuesday.

For Surrey, fifth from bottom of the Championship and mounting a poor defence of their Sunday league title, a whole season rested on yesterday's outcome. But Hollioake has a youthful attitude to pressure. He seems to thrive on it, which augurs well for his international future, even if his erratic championship form shows how much tighter his technique could be on less thrilling days than this.

Without wanting to burden him with too extravagant a comparison, Hollioake junior has the timing and the elegance of a right-handed David Gower - and a similar lack of foot movement, too, at times. "A young man with a big future," said Mike Atherton, chairman of the adjudicating panel who chose Hollioake as man of the match. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect day for Surrey was Hollioake's dismissal two short of a well-deserved century. Another club higher, an extra foot or two of elevation and Strang would have had no chance with the catch at mid-on. Not that it altered the complexion of the match, which had already turned distinctly pale for Kent.

When Hollioake was out, Surrey were 161 for 2 and sailing towards victory. Alec Stewart, who sensibly played the supporting role in a partnership of 159, guided his side home with five overs and eight wickets to spare. But, long before the end, Kent had the resigned air of men who had once again played well below their best when it really mattered. Dean Headley, fresh from his successful Test debut at Old Trafford, conceded 53 runs in his 10 overs.

Steve Marsh, the Kent captain, was gracious in defeat, but he must be beginning to hate the sight of Lord's. Along with Graham Cowdrey, he had gone out of the Grace Gates three times a loser in Benson & Hedges finals. Although yesterday he changed tactics, opting to bat first instead of second on winning the toss, the result remained obstinately unchanged. Four defeats in 11 years take some digesting.

Kent did not have the rub of the green at a vital early stage in their innings. Needing to dictate the pace in the first 15 overs, as is the fashion these days, they lost three wickets inside eight overs for 23 runs, the first of them Matthew Walker, dragging a ball well wide of the off-stump back onto his stumps . He was quickly followed by the dangerous Matthew Fleming, adjudged lbw by umpire David Shepherd. There were question marks about the direction and the height. But, either way, Kent seemed to spend the rest of the innings trying to regroup.

Adam Hollioake, the Surrey captain, said: "The planning that went into this game was unbelievable. Our coach, Dave `Anorak' Gilbert, sat us down for hour after hour watching videos of their batsmen and it worked." The dismissals of Trevor Ward, Cowdrey and Walker were, he thought, due to good homework. Only Mark Ealham and Nigel Llong stayed long enough to launch an effective assault, but, pinned down by some intelligent bowling and sharp fielding, neither could find the fluency or confidence to take Kent towards an acceptable target of 250.

By halfway, reached at 91 for 4, they had settled for passing 200, presumably in the hope that McCague and Headley could exploit the demons lingering within the minds of the Surrey batsmen. Llong perished to an athletic catch above his head by Mark Butcher at short cover off Saqlain Mushtaq just as he might have led the charge and Ealham was out two overs from the end, miscuing a full toss to Ally Brown at mid-off. That was one of two wickets for the young Pakistan off-spinner, whose ungainly shuffle to the wicket masks a craftsman's skill. Saqlain was even entrusted with the penultimate over of the innings so mature is his talent, justifying his captain's confidence by taking a wicket and conceding a mere three runs.

No chains bound the younger Hollioake. Once Fleming had athletically caught Brown at short cover off the fourth ball of the innings to bring Kent a rare glimpse of hope, he strode out to revive memories of halcyon days and disgruntled Australians. Atherton, for one, must envy such exuberance.

Scoreboard from Lord's

(Kent won toss)

KENT

M V Fleming lbw b Lewis 7

15 min, 7 balls, 1 four; Half forward to seaming ball which may have been missing leg

M J Walker b Bicknell 6

13 min, 12 balls, 1 four; Chopped on extremely wide half-volley

T R Ward lbw b A Hollioake 15

65 min, 40 balls, 2 fours; Played across straight ball

A P Wells lbw b Bicknell 5

14 min, 15 balls, 1 four; Half forward to good length delivery, playing across

N J Llong c Butcher b Saqlain 42

89 min, 65 balls, 5 fours; drove turning ball high to short cover

M A Ealham c Brown b Lewis 52

110 min, 88 balls, 4 fours; Hit full toss to deep mid-off

G R Cowdrey b Lewis 8

25 min, 20 balls, 1 four; Bowled leg stump through bat and pads

P A Strang b Salisbury 23

25 min, 25 balls, 2 fours; Played across straight ball

*S A Marsh not out 24

32 min, 23 balls, 2 fours

M J McCague c Thorpe b Saqlain 0

4 min, 3 balls; Hit high to long on

D W Headley not out 3

9 min, 3 balls

Extras (b1,lb7,w17,nb2) 27

Total (for 9, 205 min, 50 overs) 212

Fall: 1-15 (Walker), 2-15 (Fleming), 3-23 (Wells), 4-68 (Ward), 5-106 (Llong), 6-135 (Cowdrey), 7-170 (Strang), 8-194 (Ealham), 9-198 (McCague).

Bowling: Bicknell 8-0-33-2 (nb1,w6) (one spell), Lewis 10-3-39-3 (w2) (6-3-12-1 2-0-9-1 2-0-18-1), A Hollioake 7-0-31-1 (w2) (4-0-13-1 3-0-18- 0), B Hollioake 6-0-28-0 (w2) (one spell), Saqlain Mushtaq 9-1-33-2 (w1) (6-1-19-1 2-0-11-0 1-0-3-1), Salisbury 10-0-40-1 (w1) (one spell).

Progress: 50 in 63 min, 84 balls. 100 in 112 min, 163 balls. 150 in 160 min, 237 balls. 200 in 198 min, 294 balls. Ealham 50: 104 min, 85 balls, 4 fours.

SURREY

A D Brown c Fleming b McCague 2

3 min, 4 balls; drove loosely to gully

A J Stewart not out 75

179 min, 124 balls, 7 fours

B C Hollioake c Strang b Ealham 98

125 min, 113 balls, 15 fours; clipped high to mid-on

G P Thorpe not out 17

49 min, 32 balls

Extras (lb11,w6,nb6) 23

Total (for 2, 179 min, 45 overs) 215

Fall: 1-2 (Brown), 2-161 (B Hollioake).

Did not bat: *A J Hollioake, M A Butcher, C C Lewis, J D Ratcliffe, M P Bicknell, I D K Salisbury, Saqlain Mushtaq.

Bowling: McCague 8-0-45-1 (w1) (3-0-19-1 2-0-10-0 3-0-16-0), Headley 10-0-53-0 (nb3) (4-0-21-0 2-0-7-0 2-0-13-0 2-0-12-0), Fleming 7-1-29-0 (w1) (6-1-22-0 1-0-7-0), Ealham 6-0-31-1 (w3) (3-0-20-0 3-0-11-1), Strang 10-1-31-0 (w1) (6-1-19-0 4-0-12-0), Llong 4-0-15-0 (one spell).

Progress: 50 in 39 min, 59 balls. 100 in 79 min, 114 balls. 150 in 122 min, 190 balls. 200 in 168 min, 255 balls.

Stewart 50: 138 min, 90 balls, 3 fours. B Hollioake 50: 47 min, 49 balls, 9 fours.

Umpires: G Sharp and D R Shepherd. TV Replay Umpire: J W Holder. Man of the match: B C Hollioake. Adjudicator: M A Atherton and D Llewellyn.

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