Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Kent v Surrey, Friends Life t20, Beckenham

'This is our summer'

The Railways ditched and the queues were long, but Kent and Surrey's fans enjoyed the cricket and dealt with all the inconveniences with humour

Stuart Croll

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Tom Maynard cracked a rapid 79 against Hampshire, Surrey v Hampshire, Clydesdale Bank 40, Whitgift School, May 22 2011
Tom Maynard could just pip Jason Roy to a place in the national side © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Tom Maynard
Teams: England | Kent | Surrey

Choice of game
A progressive and wise move by Kent CC to play this derby in Beckenham as there can't be a better ground closer to the border of both counties. What the board of Kent CC could not have envisaged when making their decision was that the South Eastern Railways would decide today was the day to close the line to Beckenham for engineering works. But despite this inconvenience a healthy crowd was in attendance.

Key performer
How I wished the key performer would be Robert Key. Alas the cricket-comedy gods did not want to play along so the Kent captain contributed just one run. The dismissal of Key and fellow opener Joe Denly brought together Azhar Mahmood and Martin van Jaarsveld whose big-hitting and astute running set up Kent's victory. van Jaarsveld edges it as key performer, thanks to his higher score.

One thing I'd change
The queues. There were lengthy queues to enter the ground, queues at the bar and queues for the toilets - yes even the gents toilets. Now the British love to queue but these queues were at times so lengthy there were times when we thought we had been transported to Glastonbury rather than watching the cricket.

Interplay I enjoyed
After the opening four overs of the chase, Kent were struggling with two wickets down. One fan was so annoyed he shouted: "Come on, Kent, this is like watching Geoffrey Boycott." Another fan replied: "Oi, this is Kent, show some respect. It's like watching Chris Tavare." Much hilarity ensued, and by the time it had subsided, Kent were ahead of the run-rate.

Wow moment
The heatwave. With so many Twenty20 games falling foul of the weather, this season it was just great to enjoy a game knowing it would reach its natural conclusion.

The "you-can't-be-serious" moment
Considering it is the middle of Wimbledon fortnight, the John McEnroe moment was when, in between overs, the PA announcer broadcast congratulations to a couple from South Carolina who were spending their honeymoon at the cricket. The entire crowd was aghast wondering why this couple would rather spend their honeymoon in Beckenham watching Twenty20 cricket than holidaying in Hawaii, Mauritius, Las Vegas or any other place on the planet.

Shot of the day
A six from Mahmood was so huge it would have disrupted the train-service into Beckenham Junction had they been running today.

Player watch
Despite being on the losing side, Tom Maynard again showed his class in this form of the game. Surrey have lost a few players to England this summer, and many are predicting Jason Roy to be next, but Maynard continues to impress and may just overtake the youngster in England's plans.

Crowd meter
There was good-natured fun between both sets of fans, which, considering the queues and the heatwave, was better than should have been expected. As one wag in the public bar said: "Remember today - this is our summer."

Marks out of 10
Kent won quite easily, but for a while this was a close-fought encounter. Also, it was played in front of a big crowd under lovely sunshine - so eight out of ten.

Overall
On the plus side, it was a good Twenty20 game with plenty of sixes. Also, Kent CC should be congratulated for moving the game from Canterbury to Beckenham. It's such a shame that National Rail closed the line in and out of Beckenham Junction on the very day the game was arranged. Is it too much to ask for a bit of common sense to be shown? That aside, an enjoyable day out, and a good game.

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Stuart Croll is a Scottish-born Surrey CC member. He was an opening batsman in the same school team as future Scotland captain George Salmond. Stuart regarded himself as a Geoffrey Boycott-style player - not that he was a technically proficient batsman, but because the rest of the team didn't like him. Nowadays, having grudgingly accepted that a professional cricket career has passed him by, he scrapes a living writing about sport.

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