Hollioake's paddle ends steaming run

Cricket: Surrey 395 & 298-9; Northants 235 & 173-6
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The Independent Online
It is impossible to keep a good man down or, in the case of Surrey yesterday, good men down. Adam Hollioake, standing in as captain because Alec Stewart was in hospital to be with his wife, Lynn, who was expecting their second child, missed making a bit of history by two runs. Then Chris Lewis conceded just two runs in a devastating spell of fast bowling as he whipped out three Northamptonshire batsmen to leave Surrey on top and challenging for the title.

Hollioake had been Northamptonshire's chief tormentor first time around with a hundred. That he went so close to becoming only the third Surrey player to achieve the feat twice in a season (the first time was against Somerset in the opening match of the championship) is because he put the game before himself. His attempted paddle to get to the declaration was a calculated gamble. It did not pay off.

He missed the ball, it did not miss the pads, off-spinner Jeremy Snape shrieked for the leg-before decision and the umpire Jack Bond awarded the bowler the verdict. It is only a matter of time before Hollioake enters the Surrey pantheon alongside Tom Hayward (1906) and Jack Hobbs (1925) for the achievement of a hundreds in each innings of a match twice in a summer. After all, he was only 25 yesterday.

His was the major contribution to the Surrey innings, which saw them struggle more this time around, albeit without Stewart. Curtly Ambrose made inroads into the Surrey middle order as they attempted to build on a first innings lead of 160. Ambrose improved on his first innings performance of only one wicket with 4 for 55 from 25 overs.

But as the early evening shadows lengthened so did the faces of the Northamptonshire batsmen as Lewis revved up and began to motor. In the space of 10 balls he had shattered any illusions Northamptonshire might have harboured of reaching the victory target of 459.

David Sales fell lbw looking to work a ball to leg; Kevin Curran just could not get his bat out of the way of a shorter one that reared up and he touched behind to Graham Kersey, and Mal Loye was yorked. Tony Penberthy's edge to Mark Butcher off Martin Bicknell half a dozen overs before the close left Surrey poised to pick up maximum points and maintain the pressure on their rivals.