Cricket: Medlycott signs off: David Llewellyn watches a slow left-armer leave his county on a winning note

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The Independent Online
KEITH MEDLYCOTT is leaving The Oval with a flourish. Rejected he may be, dejected he is not, as his four wickets against Northamptonshire in the Bain Clarkson final at The Oval yesterday proved.

His effort steered Surrey to an eight-wicket victory and kept them on course for a Second XI double. They need just one point from their remaining Rapid Cricketline Championship match against Lancashire, starting tomorrow, to secure it.

Medlycott's slow left-arm spin earned him 4 for 43 and the man of the match award. Thanks to Medlycott's post-lunch spell, when he picked up three wickets in as many overs, and a four-wicket haul for the off-spinner Andy Smith, Northamptonshire were never allowed to get into their stride.

True, they were without three key players, Jeremy Snape, Mal Loye and Tim Walton, who were all on duty with England Under-19 at Worcester, and their total of 199 for 9 in 55 overs reflected that.

So when Surrey came out to bat, the task was not an uphill one. And Jon Robinson, another player who is not being retained by Surrey, waded into the Northamptonshire attack, thumping a lusty 76 in just over an hour, cutting and driving 10 boundaries in the 68 balls he received. The opener Ray Alikhan's patient, unbeaten 69 ensured a safe arrival at the target as Surrey reached 202 for 2 with five and a half overs to spare.

Afterwards, Medlycott adopted a realistic outlook about his departure after eight years. 'It's business,' he said. 'I'm not bitter. I just have to accept I'm not a part of the Surrey set-up any more. But when you look at my figures today, do they look like those of a man who has the yips?'

Medlycott was referring to his loss of form and confidence on the England A tour to Sri Lanka the winter before last. And although he fought his way back into the Surrey side last season, picking up 38 wickets in the County Championship, this summer he has had to play second fiddle to the up and coming left-arm spinner, Neil Kendrick.

Although Medlycott never gave up hope of winning back his first- team place it did not happen.

'We'd all like to start and finish our careers with the same club,' he said, 'but it's not to be. I've still got hopes for my career. There is a lot of good cricket left in me and there are one or two offers for me to think about.'

Medlycott's first-class career, which began in 1984, has brought him more than 3,500 runs and 331 wickets. He earned a place on England's tour to the West Indies in 1990 but he did not play in any Tests or one-day internationals.

'I'll be back playing for England, you just watch,' he said.