Emburey adds to Surrey's misery

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The Independent Online
reports from The Oval

Middlesex 304-7 Surrey 225 Middlesex win by 79 runs

Surrey's season is now on the critical list and their 150th anniversary is rapidly turning into an annus horribilis, and yesterday they slumped to a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Middlesex.

John Emburey, who will be 43 next month, picked up the man of the match award for his return of 2 for 23, including the valuable wicket of Surrey's top scorer, Darren Bicknell, who he bowled for 77. The rest of the much- vaunted batting line-up offered little in the way of hope for Surrey, who are also languishing at the bottom of the Championship.

All this came about despite a reasonable performance in the field. Middlesex opener Toby Radford had marked his NatWest debut with a sound if slightly slow 82, and Paul Weekes followed up his first- round century with a solid 72. But after the relative serenity of their 165-run opening stand, which occupied 44 precious overs, when Surrey looked to be on top, it needed a drastic injection of pace to get Middlesex anywhere near a realistic target. It arrived with a brutal passage of play from Mark Ramprakash - 40 off 25 balls - and Mike Gatting (an identical score off 31 deliveries).

When Keith Brown then joined his captain, the pair shared a pugnacious partnership of 54 in 37 balls to help Middlesex equal their highest score in the 60-over competition. The record had been set against Cornwall in the previous round, when the West Countrymen had gone one better than Surrey by taking eight wickets.

Joey Benjamin was the pick of the Surrey bowling early on, with five maidens in his first spell of eight overs. Unfortunately he came in for a severe thrashing later on, although by then he was earning the cheers of the crowd for his stunning fielding exploits. Adam Hollioake finished with 4 for 53, the best figures of the match.