Had a very enjoyable evening at the Oval, watching Surrey vs. Northants in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Over competition. It was the first time I’ve watched one of these day/night games where floodlights are used.
It was a really good game of cricket. I was sitting with Roger Hamilton-Brown, father of the Surrey captain Rory, who was man of the match. Rory hit the ball with real ferocity, notching 43 off just 31 balls. It was such a shame when he was out, as he looked set for a big score. Roger says he still gets a bit nervous watching his son play. Not far from us was Matthew Maynard, the ex-England batsman, whose son Tom also put in a top display, including one of the best catches I’ve seen.
Surrey’s score, after their great start, looked gettable on this pitch. Northants began solidly and Surrey were looking a little light on the bowling front, to the extent that with 10 overs left, Northants looked favourites. But wickets began to fall: Surrey’s fielding, their ability to take wickets with bad balls, and their gritty attitude, meant that they ran out winners by 12 runs.
It was a shame there weren’t more there: the ground was about a third full. This was seriously good cricket. Picture top is taken with my phone camera (HTC Desire), which has suddenly developed a new lease of life. I was surprised with how bad it was, until I changed the battery cover for a new one (£10): the glass lens cover had become finely scratched, enough to diminish picture quality significantly. Now it’s not bad, as far as phone cameras go. The picture below is taken with a compact camera, and processed a bit (HDR).
As I type I’m drinking a really nice Crozes Hermitage – Chapoutier’s Les Meysonniers 2009. Ripe, authentic, meaty, approachable, with lovely fruit expression. Available from Sainsbury’s in the UK. And all the better for having been chilled in the fridge for 20 minutes on this balmy August evening. I shall feature this in more detail later.