Butcher brothers stir Surrey ambitions

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The Independent Online

Forget the bakers and candlestick makers, this was the day of the Butchers.

Forget the bakers and candlestick makers, this was the day of the Butchers.

Indeed it was butchery pure and simple. Surrey made a nonsense of the idea that cricket is complicated. They made it look ridiculously easy as they tore Derbyshire apart first with the ball then with the bat.

The Butcher brothers, Gary and Mark, both made significant contributions to the Surrey cause and in the former's case a little bit of history on the day. Gary had taken just two wickets in 21 overs for Surrey since joining them two years ago. Yesterday he more than doubled that and in the process became only the fourth Surrey bowler to take four wickets in four balls and the last since Pat Pocock managed the feat against Sussex 28 years ago.

On that occasion the crowd at the Saffrons in Eastbourne saw Pocock go on to make it five wickets in six balls, although the match finished in a draw. But that outcome is unlikely here, especially after the way Gary's older brother Mark and opening partner Ian Ward set about the weakened Derbyshire attack - Dominic Cork is with England and Trevor Smith has ankle problems.

Surrey had passed the feeble Derbyshire total in barely two hours, with Butcher Major reaching fifty for the second successive innings. It was only the second time this season that the openers had put together a century stand and they did it with embarrassing ease. Ward reached his fifty shortly after, needing one ball fewer than Butcher's 91, as the pair capitalised on the supremacy that their bowlers had exerted. By the time Ward was dismissed lbw Surrey were in charge.

Derbyshire were never allowed to get under way. They lost the services of Stephen Titchard even before the toss (which they won). The former Lancashire opener who had been enjoying a rich vein of form until the warm-up yesterday, had to withdraw with a back problem. There was no Karl Krikken (broken finger) and clearly little backbone to their batting.

When stand-in opener Simon Lacey twisted his left knee, which entailed him having to be carried off - not to return to the fray until it was pretty well all over at six wickets down - even the most fervent optimist in the Derbyshire camp must have been groaning.

By then all their chief hopes were back in the dressing- room, including Matthew Dowman, who had resisted for almost two hours, making his way to the top score of the innings, 36. Michael di Venuto, Rob Bailey and Matthew Cassar were also accounted for, as was rookie wicketkeeper Luke Sutton.

At which point Gary Butcher wove his own bit of magic in his first championship appearance of the season. Paul Aldred had no idea how to cope with Butcher's excellent late away swingers and Martin Bicknell at third slip parried the ball to Mark Butcher at second.

That was the last ball of Gary's seventh over (he had dismissed Bailey in his opening spell of six overs). The first delivery of his eighth saw Bicknell pocketing Tim Munton's edge, next ball saw Kevin Dean's catching practice shot end up Bicknell's safe hands. If the Surrey fielders went wild at the hat-trick they were delirious when Lian Wharton fell leg before.