May 13, 2001

Notts total too much for Surrey despite young Hollioake's efforts

Surrey's batsmen rarely looked like settling in for a substantial innings against an attack which looked disciplined enough for most of the time to stick mainly to the basics of line and length.

At no stage did the Surrey Lions, who eventually went down by 17 runs, give the impression of being well on the way to their target of 234 for victory in this clash between the two promoted teams to the first division of the Norwich Union League.

Ben Hollioake, with some magnificent hitting in the latter part of his innings, did provide some hope and much entertainment for the supporters. But had this aggression come from him earlier or, indeed, from the top order batsmen, Surrey might have snatched victory.

Nadeem Shahid made good use of his opportunity in the Surrey side in the absence of Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe and Ian Ward, in scoring a chanceless 43 and Mark Ramprakash chipped in with 30. But it was left to Ben Hollioake to play the major innings.

His unbeaten 70 off just 67 balls, contained a six and eight fours, four of which came in the penultimate over which, bowled by Paul Franks, went for 21. It was a great effort by the younger Hollioake brother, but there was little support for him with his side losing wickets with such regularity. Gareth Smith was the pick of the bowlers, his eight overs gave him three for 32.

Earlier, in the Nottinghamshire innings, Darren Bicknell enjoyed his time at the crease against his old county. Having hit a century the last time they met in the league, in September at Trent Bridge, Bicknell, this time notched a half-century on a visit to the Oval, his home for twelve years until 1999.

Having decided to make first use of a true pitch on a day which had the distinct look of summer with several shirtless spectators, the Outlaws got off to a fine start with two half-century stands. Along with Guy Welton, Bicknell put on 52 and then took the score to 110 in partnership with Greg Blewett for the second wicket.

It was a fluent innings from the tall left-hander who had made his intentions clear from the first over when he picked up two boundaries. He continued to play beautiful off side strokes which brought him six boundaries in his 80-ball innings.

Blewett's highly entertaining knock of 69 from 82 balls, ended with Adam Hollioake bowling him with the next ball after being hooked for six. But by then a valuable stand, of 71 for the third-wicket, had taken Nottinghamshire to 181.

The visitors went on to produce another hard-hitting innings, it came from Usman Afzaal who missed a fifty by one run having faced only 51 balls. He was caught at short cover off Adam Hollioake who went on to claim Kevin Pietersen's wicket in the same over. It was a marvellous 19-ball spell from the Surrey captain who eventually finished with three for 56.