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Surrey record £1.2 million losses during Covid-ruined 2020 season




Extent of pandemic revealed at club’s AGM, as reserves take financial impact

Covid-19’s impact on county cricket’s richest club has been laid bare at Surrey’s AGM, where the club announced a £1.2 million loss before tax during the 2020-21 financial year.

The figures were announced during the first event to be held in the club’s new 175 Suite, part of the One Oval Square development that has added 2,700 new seats to The Kia Oval – as well as two large new suites, another roof terrace and an extension to the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion.

The financial loss for last year was in stark contrast to the record profits generated in 2019-20, when the club’s pre-tax profit was £6.3m. In 2018, profits were £2.75m.

The club has built up significant reserves in recent seasons, but these were tested in 2020, with the pandemic estimated to have cost Surrey a cash sum of £5.6m. Efficiency savings, as well as two restructurings that led to a number of staff redundancies, further mitigated the losses.

For the first time since 1945, The Oval was unable to host a Test match, and this was the central reason for a drastic reduction in turnover, from £45m in 2019-20 to £13.7m. The closure of facilities around the ground, including hospitality and conference venues, caused a drop of £5m in non-matchday sales, from £6.1m in 2019-20 to £1.1m in 2020-21.

The figure would have been more significant had it not been for a large proportion of Surrey’s members choosing not to take up the offer of a 25% refund on their annual fees. This helped the club to retain nearly £2m of revenue.

The club utilised a number of government schemes to prevent further damage to the business, including the retention of approximately £1m in Business Rates. The furlough scheme, meanwhile, helped to protect the jobs of many club staff, with Surrey picking up the extra 20% of salary not covered by the government.

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Recent Match Report – Durham vs Gloucs Group 2 2021




Graham Clark hundred in vain as Scarborough plays host to four-wicket cliffhanger

Gloucestershire 336 for 6 (Bracey 90, Charlesworth 87, Taylor 49*) beat Durham 335 for 4 (Clark 140, Lees 85, Worrall 4-58) by four wickets

Jack Taylor performed heroics in the final over of Gloucestershire’s Royal London Cup clash against Durham at Scarborough, securing their first win in the competition of the 2021 campaign by four wickets.
The visitors required 336 to beat Durham in the contest at North Marine Road after Graham Clark scored a brilliant 140 for the hosts.
Two fine innings from Ben Charlesworth and James Bracey had manoevured Gloucestershire into a decent position. However, it looked to be in vain as late wickets appeared to have halted their charge. Taylor took on the mantle and turned the game in the final over, dispatching Chris Rushworth for three straight boundaries to deliver an unlikely victory to get them off the mark in Group A.

Durham were inserted by Chris Dent, but made solid progress in the sunshine on the coast. Clark and Lees continued their impressive start to the competition at the top of the order, passing fifty in the 11th over. Clark pushed the accelerator to record his third fifty in a row, scoring three successive boundaries off Jared Warner.

Gloucestershire could find no answer in their bid to make a breakthrough amid the controlled aggression of the hosts’. Lees compounded Durham’s position of strength, working his way to his 13th List A half-century from 58 deliveries with a gentle nudge. Clark worked the hosts’ past their next milestone of 150 with a blistering cover drive. The right-hander pressed on and notched his second century in a week, clipping Josh Shaw through mid-wicket to the fence for his 15th boundary.

Clark and Lees brought up their second stand worth 200 in the competition, leaving Durham with a great platform to attack in the closing overs. Clark’s outstanding innings ended on 140 as he mistimed an on-drive as Dan Worrall and Taylor combined before the duo struck again to remove Lees for 85, offering Gloucestershire hope of holding Durham in check in the closing overs.

However, Sean Dickson ensured that Durham posted a score over 320 with an unbeaten 46, and Ned Eckersley blasted two sixes off the final over to end the innings on 335.

Gloucestershire made a bright start to their reply as Charlesworth found his range against Chris Rushworth and Jack Campbell. Chris Dent was given a life after being dropped on 10 by Clark, but Rushworth made the breakthrough to remove the Gloucestershire skipper for 20. Tom Lace and Charlesworth allowed the visitors to maintain their momentum, putting on a stand of 66 for the second wicket before Liam Trevaskis prised out Lace for 38.

Charlesworth continued his impressive outing, recording his first List A half-century from 79 balls. Bracey worked his way into form by finding gaps in the field, and the left-hander soon reached fifty from 45 balls. The hosts’ bowlers were suffering from the same issues that plagued the Gloucestershire attack, failing to put the batsmen under pressure at the crease as runs flowed with ease during the middle overs.

Bracey and Charlesworth brought up their hundred partnership at a rapid rate to bring the visitors within 100 runs of their target. Charlesworth’s attempt to up the ante resulted in his dismissal for a career-best 87. The wicket sparked a collapse in the order as Graeme van Buuren and the key man Bracey fell in quick succession to Trevaskis and Borthwick respectively.

Gloucestershire were given a glimmer of hope courtesy of two George Scott sixes against Paul van Meekeren, but his third heave ended in the gloves of Cameron Bancroft. The visitors required 16 off the final over, and Taylor was up for the challenge. After opting against a run for the first ball he smashed Rushworth over the rope twice along with a boundary to power his team over the line.

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Recent Match Report – WORCS vs Essex Group 2 2021




Opening partnership add 243, as hosts crumble to 156 all out in reply

Worcestershire 338 for 7 (Haynes 153, D’Oliveira 123) beat Essex 156 (Wheater 77, Cook 42, D’Oliveira 3-8) by 182 runs

Jack Haynes and Brett D’Oliveira notched their maiden Royal London Cup centuries during a record first-wicket partnership as Worcestershire Rapids demolished Essex Eagles.

Haynes was flawless in his maiden professional ton of 153 while his opening partner’s 123 made him the third generation of D’Oliveira to reached three figures for Worcestershire in the format.

Their stand of 243, a best for the first wicket for the county, laid the foundations of a mammoth total of 338 for 7.

Essex collapsed to 17 for four in reply, and despite Adam Wheater‘s 77, were bowled out for 156 and lost by 182 runs – their highest ever defeat.

The Rapids maintained their 100 per cent record in the tournament while the Eagles lost for the first time.

Having been put in by Essex, D’Oliveira and Haynes strutted against a depleted home bowling line-up – with Sam Cook at the Hundred and Jamie Porter injuring his side during the victory over Middlesex.

D’Oliveira won the race to a half-century, smashing his 54th ball into the Tom Pearce Stand at wide long-on, before Haynes followed in 57 deliveries – for Haynes it was his third fifty in as many innings in the competition.

D’Oliveira also reached his hundred first, off 95 balls, but Haynes was quicker, in 91 balls, as both passed the milestone for the first time in professional white-ball cricket.

The incredible stand ended on 243, a best for Worcestershire of any stand against Essex, when D’Oliveira picked out wide long-on.

That started a wicket tumble as Rapids lost seven wickets for 68 runs in 69 balls.

Joe Leach was lbw to Aron Nijjar, Tom Fell was caught on the square leg boundary, Jake Libby was brilliantly run out by Simon Harmer and Ed Barnard was caught behind attempting a reverse sweep.

Haynes continued to accelerate, bunting over the long-off boundary and a sweet strike straight down the ground for two sixes – the latter off Shane Snater, who returned Essex’s third most expensive List A bowling figures with his one for 83.

The only chance he offered was a diving effort to Jack Plom at backward point on 151 before he was finally stumped off Harmer for 153 off 128 balls.

Gareth Roderick scooped to fine leg but Joshua Dell’s 27 off 24 helped Rapids back up to a total befitting the opening stand.

Essex’s top-order collapse was even more emphatic as they slumped to 17 for four in the first six overs of the reply.

Will Buttleman was yorked fourth ball by Charlie Morris before Joe Leach has Tom Westley bowled, Michael Pepper feathering behind and Ryan ten Doeschate leg before to an in-ducker.

Wheater was dropped on 16 and 23 both by Dell at cover during a 70-run stand with Alastair Cook before Ed Barnard took two wickets in two balls – Cook clothing to mid off for 42 and Harmer caught behind – to keep the win predictor firmly pointing towards the visitors.

Wheater accelerated after Cook’s dismissal but eventually holed out to long-on, Nijjar holed out to long-on, Snater chipped to midwicket and Plom was stumped – the last three wickets falling to that man D’Oliveira (three for eight).

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Recent Match Report – Rockets vs Spirit 10th Match 2021




Carter, Patel, Rashid the heroes with the ball as Eoin Morgan’s men come unstuck

Trent Rockets 123 for 4 (Short 69*) beat London Spirit 116 (Carter 3-17, Patel 3-20, Khan 2-13) by seven runs

Trent Rockets survived a late assault from Roelof van der Merwe and Blake Cullen to claim their third win in a row in the men’s Hundred. D’Arcy Short‘s unbeaten 69 had held the Rockets innings together after they were inserted by Eoin Morgan at the toss, and eight wickets shared between the spinners, Samit Patel, Matt Carter and Rashid Khan, helped keep London Spirit’s chase at arm’s length.

Despite scoring at barely above a run a ball throughout their innings, Short pounced at the death to bring up a 41-ball fifty and then take 18 from Chris Wood’s last five – a flurry that was ultimately the difference between the sides. After 90 balls, Rockets were 96 for 4, while Spirit were 98 for 8, and despite the efforts of Cullen in hitting Marchant de Lange for six and four to bring the requirement down to 10 from four, the visiting side had just about enough.

Tiring surfaces have been a feature of the men’s games and Spirit were kept in check by spin throughout their chase. Carter removed three of the top four, with Rashid constricting the middle period of the innings during a boundary-free allocation of 2 for 13 from 20. Spirit’s biggest partnership was 28 for the eighth wicket and although van der Merwe dragged them close with an inventive 25 from 18, de Lange held his nerve to concede just a leg bye and a single from the last four balls.

Warne puts his spin on it
Less London Spirit, more the spirit of Shane Warne, the men’s head coach at Lord’s. Warne opted against including Mason Crane for Spirit’s opening defeat away to Birmingham Phoenix, but gave him the nod here – an attacking selection, since he was replacing the batter Dan Lawrence – and Morgan’s side then stuck to a gameplan that had Warne’s fingerprints on it. After five perfunctory deliveries of seam from Mohammad Amir the next 40 balls were bowled by spinners, as the hybrid surface began to offer grip for Nabi, Crane and van der Merwe.

With a short boundary towards the Grandstand, there was always the danger of one of the slow men being collared – but Nabi delivered his 20 balls of offspin from the Pavilion End inside the first 45, while Crane and van der Merwe were deployed from the Nursery End, both bowling twin sets of ten that encouraged batters to hit against the spin if they wanted to take the more enticing aerial route. Although van der Merwe took some tap in the Powerplay, the three spinners conceded just seven boundaries between them and left Rockets a sickly 83 for 4 after 80.

Short grinds it out
After the struggles of his first trip to the IPL in 2018, when he scored 115 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 116.16, Short might not have been the player you would expect to build an innings on a worn, increasingly spin-friendly surface. But while Short scores quicker against pace than he does spin in T20 (136.98 versus 132.27), he has a good average against slow bowling and showed the experience here to almost single-handedly lift Rockets to a competitive total.

After seeing Alex Hales depart for 21 from 14 trying to lift the tempo early on, Short seemed to opt for the long game, picking off boundaries here and there to become the first opener to bat through a full 100 balls. He picked his battles sensibly, taking four singles from seven balls of Nabi’s offspin, and eight runs from eight Crane deliveries, while targeting van der Merwe’s left-arm spin (17 off nine). With Rockets still looking a little queasy, at 103 for 4 from 95, he then carved out four boundaries from Wood’s final set – finishing with a cool reverse-ramp over the keeper – and effectively took the game out of Spirit’s reach.

Get Carter
Carter had played a big part in Rockets’ stunning win over Northern Superchargers earlier in the week – taking 2 for 17 and whacking 13 off 8 at the death after coming into the side for Steven Mullaney. The giant offspinner well knows the role of bowling within the Powerplay from his time with reigning Blast champions Nottinghamshire, and alongside county team-mate Patel helped put the skids under Spirit at the start of their chase.

Adam Rossington, into the side in place of absent Test batter Zak Crawley, opened the door with a poor shot to pick out deep square leg from Carter’s first ball. Spirit then sent in Nabi, who had batted at No. 7 in their opening encounter, presumably to try and target the ball spinning into him – but after clearing the long boundary for six out towards the Mound Stand, as Carter embarked on a tenner from the Pavilion End, he miscued a drive to mid-off. Patel then had Josh Inglis caught behind, as Spirit slipped to 29 for 3 inside the Powerplay.

Later in the innings, as the game began to slide away from the home side, Patel was left on a hat-trick by a brilliant reaction catch at slip. The fielder in question throwing himself down to pouch Wood’s edge in his right hand? Matt Carter.

Rockets fire
One of the terms that has been bandied around with the advent of the Hundred is “front-loading”: the idea that you push your best performers to the front, either with bat or ball, to put immediate pressure on the opposition. But such were the depth of options available to Lewis Gregory that he was able to do the opposite here, holding back de Lange – the tournament’s leading wicket-taker – until the ninth set of five and utilising Rashid in calculated bursts.

With Short’s left-arm wristspin employed to good effect, Gregory did not need to bowl himself or Timm van der Gugten, who came into the side as Joe Root’s replacement, while Luke Wood bowled just five deliveries with the new ball. The plan almost backfired, with de Lange expensive at the death, but Rockets look to have plenty of bases covered after moving to the top of the standings with three wins from three.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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