Golwalkar sends Surrey spinning down as Middlesex ensure top-flight status

Middlesex 404-5 dec Surrey 462-4
Match abandoned at 73 mins

It took Middlesex 100 minutes to break the partnership of Scott Newman and Mark Ramprakash, and claim the bonus point that secured their First Division status. Middlesex had shown no sign of panic - Surrey still needed to score a further 261 runs without losing a wicket to keep their remote hopes of salvation alive - but the relief was clearly visible when Ian Gould gave Newman out lbw.

Golwalker, Middlesex's fifth overseas player of the season, was mobbed by his team-mates when the Surrey opener missed a back-footed prod, and those supporters who had travelled from north of the river roared in approval as one of their old boys raised his finger.

Alan Butcher, who is Surrey's new coach, was talking to the media about what he hopes to achieve in the future as Newman forlornly made his way back to the players' pavilion here at the Oval. The loss of Newman's wicket did not change his appraisal of Surrey's position but it did alter the tense of his comments.

The first thing Surrey need to do is make changes to their playing staff. Their ageing squad is good enough to get them immediately out of the Second Division, but if this is attained using the same players then they are guilty of failing to address the problem.

Butcher suggested that making wholesale changes to the squad will not be easy because most of the current crop of players are on long-term contracts. Surrey are amongst the best payers in the country and at least 10 members of their staff would be earning in excess of £70,000 a season. Salaries of this size prohibit movement and it is hard to believe any of them would choose to go elsewhere at a reduced rate.

"It would be nice to get back in the First Division next year and develop one or two players along the way, but it will take two years before there can be any major changes to the playing personnel," admitted Butcher. "Going down highlights the fact that we do need to do something about the age profile of our side, and that we do need to improve the quality of our playing squad.

"We are top heavy with players in their mid-thirties age group and we do not have enough in the mid to late twenties. Therefore we have a big gap in experience. Some of the young players who look to be good enough are actually a little way off being ready to play and compete at first-team level. But if we can keep the players we have got fit, and we can get the right levels of professionalism, we do have the quality here."

Steve Rixon, who is Surrey's departing coach, also questioned the professionalism of the players, and this only serves to heighten the call for change. One can understand Butcher's reluctance to lambast players he will be working with next summer, but if old players are not performing, or setting the right example, they must go.

"I have already spoken to some of the players about their approach and they have accepted responsibility," he said diplomatically. "We need to do a lot of talking as a group. Over the last two years we have not done ourselves justice. The players have accepted this and we need to get back to the group/team ethos that we had five or six years ago.

"We need to return to a code that we are all prepared to live and play by. Some of these things have gone by the wayside in the last two or three years and we need to address them.

Mark Ramprakash is not one of the players whose future at Surrey is in doubt, and he completed the most meaningless of his 10 double hundreds against a Middlesex side that were guilty of going through less than the motions.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before