Medleycott pays tribute to 'fear factor'

Surrey duly became the first champions of the new century at 1.37pm yesterday and were presented with the sponsors' trophy by the ECB chief executive, Tim Lamb, at the close. They already held the pennant, flying over the Washbrook Stand, from 1999 and have completed a double by taking the National League's Second Division.

Surrey duly became the first champions of the new century at 1.37pm yesterday and were presented with the sponsors' trophy by the ECB chief executive, Tim Lamb, at the close. They already held the pennant, flying over the Washbrook Stand, from 1999 and have completed a double by taking the National League's Second Division.

They are worthy winners. They have the best-balanced all-weather attack, a batting order that is, at full strength, the most powerful, they can give their bowlers, especially the spinners, dramatic support in the field and they are led with audacity. If Adam Hollioake is guilty of what another county captain decries as "the Surrey strut" well, good champions should be arrogant and can expect to be disliked. Their coach, Keith Medlycott, explains: "It means people are fearful of you and fearful of the cricket you can play."

After the groundsman Peter Marron's last brush with the Pitch Panel he promised a surface of "effing concrete" for this match, a new classification for Mike Denness's notebook. It was white enough but soon cut up after the visiting inspector Alan Smith had peered at every square inch. Lancashire lost early wickets to some superb fast bowling from Martin Bicknell and Alex Tudor - Bradman would have been pleased to get a bat on the ball that speared Mike Atherton - a display marred by dropped catches.

Mark Chilton (11), Sourav Ganguly (9), Neil Fairbrother (0) and Chris Schofield (0) all had their escapes and Chilton, continuing his good form, became another victim of Ganguly's, sent back on his own call when a single looked simple. Ganguly's half-century did hold the early innings together.

Saqlain Mushtaq appeared from the 21st over and thereafter ruled from the Warwick Road end but could make little impact on the acting captain Warren Hegg who, with Gary Keedy, raised 107 in 27 overs for the eighth wicket, Keedy recording a career-best 34. The irrepressible "Chucky" then added another 54 with Mike Smethurst in 13 overs and was left 93 not out, following his 128 against Somerset in the last match.

Mark Butcher survived an lbw appeal off his first ball but succumbed to the fifth. Nadim Shahid departed similarly in Glen Chapple's second over which also contained a painful blow in the box for Surrey's captain. Being champions is not all wine and roses and the diminution of the light, with six overs left, would have been welcomed.

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