Rackemann finds peak form

Surrey 187 and 501-8 dec Sussex 304 and 230-9 Match drawn
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The Independent Online

reports from Horsham

Surrey 187 and 501-8 dec Sussex 304 and 230-9 Match drawn

The last time Carl Rackemann played for Surrey, in 1981, Maggie was still plain Mrs Thatcher.

In those days Rackemann qualified and played for the second XI and the Under-25s. This time around he could play for the Over-35s. Except, as he proved yesterday, he is still far too good for that.

His first tour of duty on an Esso scholarship at The Oval did not involve first-team cricket either, but the potential was there. It was finally realised 14 years later in the most rural of settings in West Sussex.

Rackemann has the awkward task of filling in for the incapacitated Waqar Younis, but he is doing so remarkably well. His championship best of 6 for 60 brought Surrey tantalisingly close to victory, and at least ended a sorry run of three defeats.

Surrey had resumed on their Friday score, since Saturday was rained off, and added 107 before calling it a day 384 runs ahead, leaving Sussex 79 overs in which to get the runs. They began well with Neil Lenham and Jamie Hall taking them to 128 before Hall fell.

His half-century - some three hours faster than his effort at The Oval last summer - was all the more admirable since 48 of the runs were made after his left hand had been broken first ball after lunch by Rackemann. The burly Queenslander then accounted for Lenham, who chopped on for 72 shortly before the tea break.

Immediately after the interval, and appropriately from the Railway End, Rackemann steamed in to account for Keith Newell and Franklyn Stephenson in the same over.

Allan Wells followed not long after, lbw to Rackemann. At that point Sussex attempted to put up the shutters, but unfortunately for them the catches stuck, Graham Kersey and Alec Stewart snapping up Peter Moores and Ian Salisbury to end a spell for Rackemann of 5 for 7 in 36 deliveries.

With Sussex members leaning forward in their seats, echoing the kink in the spire of nearby St Mary's Church, Keith Greenfield and Jason Lewry kept Surrey at bay for 19 overs, during which time they added 34 runs for the eighth wicket but, when Greenfield was well-taken at third slip by Alistair Brown, and Eddie Hemmings trod on his wicket. The last man, Ed Giddins, looked to have too much to do with 21 balls remaining, yet somehow he and Lewry hung on.