By Neil Fissler
Surrey must have thought that they had one hand on the NatWest Trophy for the second time after being handed a dream draw on their way to Lord’s.
The South Londoners, despite their rich history in the Championship, had struggled to win anything in the one-day competitions for many years.
They only had a 1974 Benson & Hedges Cup and1982 NatWest Trophy in 1982 to show for their efforts until the mid-Nineties.
Surrey then picked up their first Sunday League title and another B&H Cup in 1996 and 1997 respectively.
But, as Tony Murphy recalls, their bid for honours was almost derailed in the first round when they were drawn at home to Oxfordshire but needed a bowl- out to win after two days of rain.
“The Minor Counties games were there to trip you up, playing away you could end up on a minefield but at The Oval we thought we’d waltz through. But suddenly it just rained and rained and threw open all possibilities especially as we did the bowl-out indoors but we snuck through it, 3-2, I think.
“I’d been practising for it. I’d always been comfortable hitting the stumps from no run-up, it was those guys who bowled from full run ups who saw balls bounce, swing or spin,” he said.
Surrey then dispatched Kent and Essex to earn a home semi-final against Northants which Murphy believes they should have lost after only posting 208-9 before winning by seven runs.
Murphy said: “It was a bizarre run, almost as if we were destined to win because of the way that things fell for us. Playing all our games at home gave us a distinct advantage.
“We should have lost that semi-final but Northants decided to take bad light and come back the next day which was the worst thing that they could have done.
“Their guys were on a roll and we were desperately staring at defeat but they came back the following morning and Waqar ran through them and Bickers ran their last man out off the last ball.”
In the final Surrey, after being put in, posted 240-5 mainly thanks to Graham Thorpe’s 93. But Hampshire always appeared to be in control after putting on 90 for the first wicket.
They eventually reached their target with four balls to spare and Murphy conceded Surrey had posted too fewer runs than necessary while Waqar only managed to take one wicket, that of David Gower.
“We felt that we were probably 30 runs shy of where he would have liked to have been. Alec Stewart and Graham batted for a long time but said it was difficult getting the ball away.
“That partially swung it to them but Tony Middleton and Robin Smith really stepped up for Hampshire and it was the only game in the whole tournament Waqar didn’t take wickets.”
BACK ROW (left-to-right):
Mark Butcher: England batsman forced to retire with a knee injury in 2009. Now working with Sky Sports. Also a musician.
Andy Robson: Fast bowler. Went on to play for Northumberland is living and working in his native East Boldon, Co Durham.
James Boiling: An England A spinner. Has for 17 years been the head of sixth form and a history teacher at Monmouth School.
Nick Peters: Fast bowler who became a modern languages teacher before retraining as a psychotherapist. Has clinics in Clapham and Balham.
Adam Hollioake: England all rounder, whose brother Ben also played for Surrey. Moved to Australia where he has been involved in a property development business.
Andy Smith: All rounder whose his father Bill played for Surrey. Spent six years as operations manager for Hockey Australia and is now high performance director.
Neil Sargeant: Wicketkeeper/ batsman. Still plays for Northwood CC and works for a company that builds ceilings and partitions.
Ally Brown: England one-day international batsman. Still working for the county and is currently coaching the 2nd XI.
Tony Murphy: A seamer who has worked in IT, business re-engineering and event management. He is now managing director of safety solutions provider Hamilton Deed.
Rehan Alikhan: London-born batsman. Works for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital in Dubai as a senior patients coordinator to its hair transplant services.
Paul Atkins: Batsman who became the head coach at Buckingham CCC’s academy and is now cricket professional at Bloxham School and coaches at the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy.
Jon Robinson: Batsman. Went into sponsorship and marketing before going to work for the MCC in 1997 and has been the assistant secretary (marketing) for the last six years.
Neil Kendrick: Left-arm spinner who was cricket professional at Cumnor School and then Whitgift School, where he is now head of golf and head of cricket performance.
Chris Waller: Left-arm spinner who coached at both the counties who he played for – Sussex and Surrey. Now working for Ardingly College.
Waqar Younis: The Pakistan fast bowler went into coaching and was head coach of the Pakistan team until standing down in April 2016.
David Ward: Batsman who was a carpenter and joiner and is now the head of cricket at Whitgift School.
Martin Bicknell: England seamer played for Surrey along with brother Darren. He is now chief scout at The Oval as well as head of cricket at Charterhouse School.
Alec Stewart: England wicket-keeper/batsman and the son of Surrey legend Mickey. Has worked in the media and is also the director of cricket at The Oval.
Ian Greig: England all rounder and brother of ex-England captain Tony. Lives in Brisbane and worked in marketing and sales and runs special activities at Anglican Church Grammar School.
Monte Lynch: The England batsman ran his own cricket equipment business but then went into coaching in England, Zimbabwe and his native Guyana.
Keith Medlycott: All-rounder who went on to become first team coach. Is cricket professional and a PE teacher at Reed’s School, Cobham. He also coaches at Intouchcricket’s Academy.
Chris Bullen: Off-spinner who spent 22 years working for Surrey as cricket development manager and is now lead cricket coach at Wilson’s School, Caterham.
Mark Feltham: Batsman. Is now living in High Wycombe and is executive director of Marine & Superyachts for insurance brokers Willis Towers Watson in the City of London.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, September 2 2016
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