OPINION: The London Cup – A Surrey State Of Affairs

On paper, you wouldn’t have given Surrey too much of a prayer in last night’s London Cup – I certainly didn’t, telling our YouTube viewers (above) that while there were two teams that could win the match, only one would… and that one wasn’t going to be Surrey!

How wrong was I?

Despite having no “pros” to Middlesex’s three – though you’d think Hannah Jones and maybe Aylish Cranstone will be added to the “pros” list for the Stars when it is expanded to five later this summer – Surrey finally pulled off a win in the London Cup at the sixth time of asking. Surrey Director of Women’s Cricket Ebony Rainford-Brent, whose brainchild the cup was back in 2015, was so delighted with the result that she stood at the gates of The Oval giving everyone, including us, socially distanced high-fives as they left the ground!

Surrey did it against the odds by winning some big moments… and losing one crucial one – the toss! Middlesex opting to bat might have been the right call by the book, but with so much rust in everyone’s gears after the non-season we’ve had so far, it proved to be a big mistake, as they failed to score a run in the first two overs, whilst losing the wicket of captain Naomi Dattani.

The Dattani wicket was a big moment in retrospect, because it set the tone – the ball was leaving her quite sharply, and might even have been called a wide if she’d left it, but she swung at it so vaguely that her bat flew out of her hand in the opposite direction and the edge went through to Rhianna Southby, whose catch was controlled and confident – everything that the shot that preceded it wasn’t!

Of the Middlesex pros, only Cordelia Griffith really looked the part, hitting 30 off 23 balls, including the game’s only maximum. Veteran (though she probably won’t thank me for calling her that!) Tash Miles gave Griffith a bit of support, until she got this…

A Ball of the Season contender in any season from leg-spinner Dani Gregory! There aren’t many who can do that, but Gregory’s challenge is that England don’t pick bowlers – particularly spinners – based on the ability to bowl a magic ball. England value consistency over turn, and that’s what they get from Sarah Glenn. Can Gregory add the consistency, without losing the spin? If she can, she’s going places!

Even having restricted Middlesex to 108, Surrey still had a lot of work to do, and whilst their top order all got starts, none of them pushed on, so by the time Kira Chathli came to the crease, with 5 down and 50-odd still needed, it looked a really big ask.

Then Chathli did this…

I’m a bit of a traditionalist sometimes – scoops belong on Fleet Street, not on a cricket pitch – but you can’t argue with the result, and having faced-down a Required Rate of 8.4 at one stage, Chathli found herself the hero of the hour… of the day… of the season, such as it has been so far, having ensured that the London Cup was, for once, a Surrey state of affairs!