Hamilton-Brown returns in Surrey win
Surrey 151 for 6 (Spriegel 47) beat Nottinghamshire 149 (Voges 36, Dernbach 3-39) by four wickets
It is unlikely those connected with Surrey will remember this season for anything positive but this was their most decisive step yet in recovering from the death of Tom Maynard.
Their victory at Trent Bridge on a turning pitch was doubly special, firstly as it enabled them to leapfrog hosts Nottinghamshire and go top of their Clydesdale Bank 40 group. But, more importantly, it marked the return of their captain Rory Hamilton-Brown to the team after a month on compassionate leave following the death of his flatmate and close friend.
On the field, Surrey owed a lot to Matthew Spriegel, whose controlled spell of 2 for 21 in eight overs and innings of 47 in testing conditions set up his team's victory.
The surface, so conducive to slow bowling neither Surrey quick Stuart Meaker or Notts' Jake Ball bowled a single ball, appeared difficult to bat on but the hosts' meagre score of 149 only briefly looked competitive before late hitting from Spriegel and Gareth Batty handed Surrey victory with 23 balls to spare.
Hamilton-Brown did not assume the captaincy on his return but his colleagues made a superb start after stand-in skipper Batty won the toss and opted to open the bowling with two spinners. Spriegel and Murali Kartik both achieved considerable turn and the former made early inroads, getting Michael Lumb to chop on in the fifth over and Riki Wessels to pick out Jason Roy at midwicket.
The pressure exerted by Spriegel benefitted Dernbach. The England bowler served up some filthy early fare, which Alex Hales flayed away square of the wicket, but then snared two cheap wickets.
Samit Patel top-edged an attempted hook and Hales carved a short, wide ball to Zander de Bruyn at point to leave Notts floundering on 52 for 4. They were perhaps too eager to break free from the stranglehold achieved by Surrey's four spin bowlers, but Adam Voges and Chris Read showed no such impatience.
They added 67 in 17 overs for the fifth wicket but their good work was undone when both fell in quick succession. Voges nicked a superb delivery from Kartik to slip before Read picked out Spriegel in the deep to hand Zafar Ansari a wicket.
Notts then collapsed, Batty claiming two deserved wickets and Dernbach bowling Luke Fletcher - returning after a three-month absence - with a slower ball after Graeme White had been run out.
If a script appeared to have already been written, Harry Gurney swiftly tore it up. Hamilton-Brown, opening for Surrey, nicked off in the left-arm seamer's first over for 2. Gurney, who like James Taylor joined Nottinghamshire from Leicestershire in the winter, then ousted Roy first ball with a vicious delivery that the Surrey No. 3 fended to White at point.
Gurney was unlucky not to claim a third victim in the tenth over, Hales granting Gary Wilson a reprieve by shelling a tough slip chance.
Surrey were recovering steadily but suffered a setback when opener Steve Davies skied one to Voges when he looked set on 35. Wilson then charged White, who was spinning the ball a long way, and was stumped to ensure Hales' error was not too costly.
Pressure was building on Surrey but Spriegel provided welcome relief by heaving a four and six to the vacant midwicket boundary off successive Steven Mullaney deliveries. His partner de Bruyn remained bogged down and tamely clipped a half-volley from Mullaney to Voges. Surrey's chase began to look challenging but Spriegel took the initiative and twice smashed White over the top before being caught on the square-leg boundary.
After that wicket White inexplicably overstepped and Ansari hit the free-hit for four. Batty then hit Patel for two boundaries - one a maximum - before Ansari won it with a six off White.