Cricket: Surrey at top speed

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Worcestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205 and 343

Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .470 and 79-1

Surrey win by nine wickets

THE powers that be here will be delighted with Surrey's response on the field to what has been a difficult winter in the committee room. In their first Championship game, Surrey beat Worcestershire by nine wickets and picked up the maximum 24 points.

Worcestershire, who led by 40 runs overnight with three second- innings wickets standing, were bowled out for 343. Surrey were left to score 79, which they did for the loss of Darren Bicknell's wicket.

It is too early to start making forecasts about their likely achievements during a season which may see them lose Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe for six Test matches and four one-day internationals. It will not be easy for them either to make up for Waqar Younis's absence for the whole summer.

None the less, a couple of good wins - Somerset in the Benson and Hedges and now Worcestershire in the Championship - does wonders for confidence. Their first four-day match showed that there is plenty of exciting, young talent at The Oval. Mark Butcher and Adam Hollioake have already given notice that they are going to be important members of the side.

Worcestershire are going to rely heavily on Graeme Hick and Tom Moody and when they come into form they will be hard to beat. They have found a most promising out- swinger in James Brinkley, who will keep the old warhorses, Phil Newport and Neil Radford, on their toes.

Butcher had a hand in the three remaining Worcestershire wickets. He held a fine two-handed diving catch at slip when Richard Illingworth played forward to Joey Benjamin and then disposed of Radford and Brinkley. Surrey had no trouble in knocking off the runs, although near the end Bicknell was slow to respond to Stewart's call and was run out.