Cricket: Bicknell shows the way: Surrey prove too strong for Kent

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Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205-8

Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181

Surrey win by 24 runs

KENT finally lost their bridesmaid's tag, and everything else, after Surrey overpowered them with a 24-run victory to consign last year's runners-up to third place in this summer's competition.

Having arrived at The Oval in second place in the Sunday League table with a far superior run-rate, Kent needed victory and an abandonment or worse for Warwickshire in order to lift the title. They got neither and Surrey soured the day by denying them the consolation of a pounds 15,500 second prize.

For a fleeting few overs somewhere in the middle of their innings, the cavalier Matthew Fleming and the consistently brilliant Carl Hooper took large chunks out of the 206-run target. They had put on 91 for the second wicket in just under a dozen overs when Hooper fell to James Boiling, superbly caught by Alistair Brown in the deep. Fleming followed in the next over, brilliantly taken by Graham Thorpe to his right at slip. His 65 contained a belligerent six and nine boundaries.

But that was it, really. Boiling made his last appearance for Surrey's first team a memorable one before moving on - Durham are favourites for his signature. He finished with 3 for 27 and Adam Hollioake also picked up three wickets.

The Surrey ship was set fair when Darren Bicknell and Thorpe were together. They picked off runs with apparent ease, and by the time they were parted 115 runs had been taken off the Kent attack. It was a vital foundation for their cause.

Thorpe had reached 60 at a run a ball before he departed, to a magnificent running catch by Graham Cowdrey, who galloped 25 yards around the boundary to get his hands on the ball. Bicknell hung around for another half an hour before being bowled by Fleming and, rather like Kent were to do, the Surrey tail allowed itself to be docked rather cheaply.