Surrey concludes its 21st County Championship title in one game after beating Yorkshire by 10 wickets… as manager Gareth Batty warns plans to reduce the number of games could reduce competition
- Surrey ended their 21st title with a 10-wicket win over Yorkshire
- It came after Hampshire – their only rivals for the crown – lost to Kent
- Surrey coach Gareth Batty warned of plans for a 10-game competition
Surrey manager Gareth Batty welcomed his side after they won the district championship with a round to go – then warned a 10-game contest suggested by Andrew Strauss’ high-performance rating would ‘drain’ the emotions of victory would.
Surrey ended their 21st title with a 10-wicket win over Yorkshire after learning half an hour earlier that Hampshire – their only rival for the crown – had lost to Kent. The trophy will be presented in Manchester next week, where Surrey’s final game against Lancashire will now be a lap of honour.
This was their eighth win of 13 and while Hampshire have won nine they have also suffered three losses to Surrey. Unlike Surrey, Hampshire have not lost a stream of players to England.
Surrey took the county championship after beating Yorkshire in three days
Rory Burns celebrates with Ryan Patel after leading Surrey to the 55 victory goal
Fittingly, the winning runs were beaten by captain Rory Burns, who put his disappointments in the winter with England behind him to a club-high 763 runs – one of eight Surrey players to have averaged 40 or more this season have scored at least five games with the racquet.
Batty described Burns’s ever-present presence as “golden” and called seamer Dan Worrall – the Australian who has honed his game on the unforgiving fields of Adelaide – “probably the best signing I’ve ever seen in county cricket”.
With a game to go, Worrall has 39 wickets on 24, including four more here, as Yorkshire went down from their 89 to a total of 208 for two overnight. Burns and Ryan Patel then needed just six overs to reach a target of 55, giving Surrey their first title since 2018 and sparking celebrations at a ground temporarily renamed in honor of Micky Stewart, their 90-year-old former captain .
But on the day that Strauss’ review suggested a six-man lead group cut four games to 10 a side, Batty cautioned.
“I think it would soften the emotions a little bit because they’ve been building for so long,” he said. “We have to be careful not to lose too many games. Ultimately, County Cricket is here to serve an English team. But I just hope we do it for the good of the game and not to keep celebrity cricket alive.
Burns was equally lukewarm about the prospect of a curtailed Red Ball season. “I personally think it would be too short and there wouldn’t be enough games to have the integrity of the result,” he said. “I agree that you have to look at it, but 10 is not enough.”
Yorkshire, meanwhile, must not slip against bottom Gloucestershire next week lest they be drawn into a relegation battle.