Surrey’s final game of the 2021 season, against Glamorgan, proved to be a run-laden draw – so much so the County Championship Division Two clash at the Oval produced 1,394 runs over four days for the loss of just 10 wickets.
England’s Ollie Pope, captaining Surrey for the first time, made a career best 274 and shared in a third wicket stand of 362 in 89 overs with Hashim Amla (163) as the hosts overtook Glamorgan’s 672-6 by racking up 722-4 – the second highest total ever amassed by the Oval outfit.
“When we were bowling 177 overs and getting only six wickets I began to think I wasn’t very good at leading the side,” said Pope. “But it was a pretty lifeless pitch and everyone put in a lot of hard yards out there.
“It would have been nice to get to 300, but if I was going to do it I wanted to do it in style. Unfortunately I missed one and was bowled trying a big shot.
“The nature of the wicket meant it wasn’t the most challenging of conditions to bat in, but I always enjoy batting with Hash, and playing on this type of pitch does mean you have to challenge yourself to stay switched on for as long as you can.”
Ben Foakes marked his first appearance since injuring a hamstring in May with a knock of 53 not out, ahead of what he hopes is selection for this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia, if it is given the go-ahead in the coming weeks.
There was also time for Rikki Clarke, bowing out of the game after 21 seasons, to be given a guard of honour by Glamorgan’s applauding team as he walked out to bat to make an unbeaten 12.
Clarke said: “Credit to Glamorgan and their captain Chris Cooke. To walk out to a guard of honour there was very special. They’re a class act. For me it was the perfect ending.
“To be part of this fantastic side and this fantastic club, which has been a part of my life since the age of nine, is very special. I love this club and it’s going to be difficult to come to terms with. But at least I won’t have to go out any more and bowl on flat wickets like this.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support they’ve given me over the years. That’s what cricket does – it brings everyone together. I’ve made friends for life. I’ve played with and against some fantastic people.
“It’s an incredible dressing room I’m leaving behind. I’ve said to them to keep working hard because, literally, the world is their oyster. I’m sure they’re going to go on and win many trophies over many years, because it really is a dressing room that oozes class and ability.”
The absence of so many of Surrey’s stars this summer, due to international calls and The Hundred, gave the supporting cast the chance to prove themselves. Reaching the semi-finals of the Royal London Cup, with 21-year-old Jamie Smith filling in as captain, was no mean achievement in the circumstances.
Indeed, Smith was recognised in a number of categories at Surrey’s end of season awards evening, picking up the trophies for Members’ Player of the Year, Supporters’ Club Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.
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