Cricket: Graduates keep Surrey sliding: Parker scores maiden century - Blow to Leicestershire's runners-up hopes

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 333-8 v Surrey

SURREY are approaching the end of the season in a nose- dive from which they seemingly cannot pull out. The erstwhile Championship leaders can still finish second, in theory, but it looks an increasingly unlikely prospect.

Since the end of July, when they were thrashed by Sussex at the Oval and allowed Warwickshire to go ahead, Surrey have gained a mere 18 points.

In Surrey's situation, it does not help to have players injuring one another in practice. The absence of leading wicket-taker Joey Benjamin here was the consequence of a blow on the back of the head sustained in the nets.

For a while it seemed it might not matter. Yorkshire, having reached 66 without loss as Martyn Moxon and Simon Kellett took advantage of some undistinguished bowling, stepped on a series of banana skins, surrendering four wickets for 27.

The fifth wicket took Surrey another 35 overs to achieve, during which Grayson advanced from 24 to 85 in a partnership with Bradley Parker that realised 148 runs. Parker went on to his maiden first-class century, having swung away a Smith long hop for six and gathered 17 fours in a chanceless innings.

Parker, 23, and 22-year-old Grayson, two of several highly promising graduates of the Yorkshire cricket academy, are both in rich form. Parker has gone past 50 five times in six games, Grayson five times in seven innings and the latter was unlucky not to record his second century in that sequence, driving straight to James Boyling in the gully.