Surrey, the club of West Indies pace bowler, Kemar Roach, have been crowned the winners of Division One of the 2023 Cricket County Championship, sealing their second title in as many years, before the end of the final round of competition.
The Surrey players received the news on the field during the 24th over of the day which caused off spinner Will Jacks to pull out of his delivery stride to applaud their fans.
A noise erupted from beyond the square leg boundary as travelling supporters from London heard news that nearest challengers Essex collapsed to an innings and 39-run defeat to relegated bottom placed Northamptonshire, handing Surrey the title.
The defending champions began the game needing just five points to seal the title whereas Essex needed full batting points (5) and victory (16 points) to have any hope of winning the title for the first time since 2019.
Speaking after the day’s play, Roach said “I love this club. Obviously I love the atmosphere and the people around the club. I think they do a fantastic job. The system, as I said many times, is an amazing system and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win it every year.”
The fast bowler was quick to credit his teammates and support staff saying: “I think everyone in this club does their job as well as they can and there’s a reason why we have won the Champo (Championship) two years in a row now. I’m happy to come back every chance I get as long as Mr Stewart will have me but I’m very happy with the club.”
Surrey’s Director of Cricket, Alec Stewart spoke about his pride of winning at his local club winning their 21st title saying he was “very pleased and very proud”.
“This group of players, head coach Gareth Batty and the backroom staff have been outstanding. To win a Championship back to back doesn’t happen too often, it takes a lot of hard work and it’s nice to be rewarded at the end of the season.”
Roach has been a key player throughout this title winning season, registering 26 wickets in his eight first class matches at an average of 26.26 for Surrey. It matches up well with last season’s tally – 25 wickets in seven matches at 26.24 a wicket.
In the final game of the season, Surrey need a further 73 runs on Day 4 to chase down the win at the Rose Bowl in Southampton against third placed Hampshire.
Summarised Scores: Hampshire Cricket Club 219 all out in 65.5 overs (Ben Brown 78; Tom Lawes 5-27, Kemar Roach 3-41) and 172 all out in 62.3 overs (James Vince 56, Liam Dawson 34; Will Jacks 5-87, Cameron Steel 4-40). Surrey Cricket Club 207 all out in 85.3 overs (Sai Sudharsan 73, Jordan Clark 50; Liam Dawson 5-44, Mohammed Abbas 3-34) and 112-6 in 30 overs (Sai Sudharsan 31*, Rory Burns 27; Tom Prest 2-32, Liam Dawson 2-46). Surrey need 73 more runs for victory.