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
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam