Cricket: Stewart's shuffle short of the mark

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP: Surrey stumble along the trail to glory, Kent stay in the chase and Lancashire sink without trace
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The Independent Online
Glamorgan 364 & 442-9 dec Surrey 471-9 dec & 205-7 Match drawn

Surrey's Championship aspirations are receding rapidly. After failing to meet Glamorgan's demand to score 336 off what turned out to be 51 overs in Cardiff, victory over Worcestershire in their final match of the season, at The Oval this week may not be enough to earn them their first County title since 1971.

Surrey ended yesterday at 205 for 7 and find themselves 14 points adrift of Leicestershire, who can take the Championship by earning maximum bonus points and a draw against Middlesex at Grace Road.

Alec Stewart responded to the challenge laid down by Matthew Maynard by shuffling his batting order, but Brendon Julian lasted only two balls before he was dismissed by Steve Watkin, and Mark Butcher went in the second over. There was still hope: Surrey may have lost two wickets in two overs but they had scored 15 runs, and Adam Hollioake and Chris Lewis were in no mood to capitulate.

Lewis cut, drove and pulled his way to 40 off 28 balls before he was out to the last delivery before tea, beaten by the arm ball when going down the wicket to Robert Croft and duly stumped by Adrian Shaw.

Surrey were 84 for 3 at tea but only nine overs had been bowled. It was decision time but they could not make up their minds. Again, Stewart tinkered with the order. He promoted Martin Bicknell, who managed just two, above his brother, Darren, and did not enter the fray himself until the fall of the fifth wicket, the vital one of Hollioake's, bowled by Croft for 85,with the total at 154 in the 26th over.

Effectively that was that, and when Dean Cosker sent back Stewart and Graham Thorpe in quick succession it was Glamorgan who were entertaining thoughts of an unlikely win.

Surrey had needed an early breakthrough when Glamorgan resumed at 218 for 3 with a lead of 111 runs. It did not come. Steve James and Anthony Cottey extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 168 and took Glamorgan to 262 before Cottey was bowled around his legs by Nadeem Shahid for 83.

James soon lost Adrian Dale and had scored 131 in 298 balls when Shahid moved one across the face of the bat and Thorpe took the catch at slip.

A Glamorgan lead of 234 at lunch still left Surrey with a real chance but frustration set in when they were unable to bring an end to the seventh- wicket partnership between Shaw and Croft that realised 79 runs. More importantly in Surrey's eyes, it occupied 18 overs. It was Butcher, the ninth bowler used, who succeeded where his betters had failed, tempting Croft into a slash outside off-stump and Lewis taking the catch at point.

Stewart handed the gloves to Shahid to become the 10th bowler, sending down two overs for 24 runs in a somewhat pointless exercise that smacked more of pique than professionalism. Butcher had Shaw caught at slip for a career-best 74 and sent back Steve Watkin first ball. Owen Parkin denied him his hat-trick before Maynard eventually relented.

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