Tea Report: Surrey 206-5 (64 overs) v Somerset

Tea on the first day of four (Surrey won toss)

Not a good day for Surrey in general and Mark Ramprakash in particular as Somerset took control of this Championship match.

The big-guns of Surrey, not least Ramprakash who arrived at this charming ground still looking for the hundredth hundred of his first class career – were well and truly spiked by an accurate Somerset attack.

Not until James Benning was unleashed on the Somerset attack did the match start to swing back at least towards parity. The hard-hitting Benning smacked his way to an attractive fifty off just 38 balls, with the help of ten fours, then shut up shop to steer Surrey safely to tea.

Until Benning’s arrival however Somerset were well in charge. Pick of the bowlers was left-armer Charl Willoughby, who claimed the prized scalp of Ramprakash a quarter of an hour before lunch with a beauty of a ball that slanted across the right-hander and found an edge to have him caught behind for a painstaking 17 runs.

It was the fifth successive innings in which Ramprakash had tried, and failed, to nail that elusive landmark century, and this on a ground where he has scored three Championship hundreds – the only Surrey player to reach three figures in this competition on this ground.

Ramprakash had come in at the fall of Matthew Spriegel’s wicket. The 21-year-old, a former pupil at Whitgift and captain of the School XI was just beginning to look good, and had struck four boundaries before becoming the first of Ben Phillips’s three victims.

Phillips really waded into Surrey after lunch accounting first for Mark Butcher, caught and bowled, then the in-form Usman Afzaal, taken at slip for Justin Langer’s second catch of the innings.

The hot one, that of Newman, fell to Alfonso Thomas, although by then the Surrey opener had reached his highest score of the season, 84, an innings which contained an incredible 16 fours. Newman fell lbw to leave Surrey looking sickly at 140-5.

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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
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<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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