Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Surrey v Somerset, Friends Life t20, The Oval

No carnage and no Mexican Wave

Pollard disappointed, but there was a Dilscoop, and sitting at The Oval on a summer's evening is its own reward

Andy Ryan

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Zafar Ansari bowls, Surrey v Somerset, Friends Life t20, The Oval, June 30, 2011
What's it like watching a school-mate play professional cricket? © PA Photos
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Choice of game
While I'm usually more of a County Championship fan, the batting power of these two sides tempted me. I wasn't too worried about an epic battle between bat and ball; a boundary fiesta would do me just fine.

Disappointment of the day
The sight of Kieron Pollard coming in to bat got me very excited. The big man swaggered to the crease, practising a host of bold-looking shots. I was confident that there was going to be carnage, and I got ready to take cover. Seven runs off six balls, with just one four, wasn't even minor carnage.

One thing I'd have changed
With so many good batsmen on show, it would have been great to see one of them go on and play a really special knock. Several made promising starts but none played a truly memorable innings.

Playground memories
It's very odd watching someone you know play professional sport; it's like they've crossed over into another world. Zafar Ansari was a few years below me at school, and I can give you the not-very surprising scoop that he was rather good even then. Still only 19, he's got prodigy written all over him. Brought on to bowl in the midst of a spell of Somerset dominance, he showed great nous and composure in stemming the flow of runs. Later on, he came to the crease with the game lost and made an accomplished 24. Remember the name.

England's loss is Somerset's...
Just days after England's Twenty20 openers failed to make an impact, former England opener Marcus Trescothick made it look so easy, despatching the bowling with calm authority.

Key performer
Trescothick brought fireworks, but he departed with lots of hard work still to do. It was James Hildreth who carried the load. It was one of those odd innings where a player gets to 50 without you really noticing. There weren't a huge number of boundaries but Hildreth kept the scoreboard ticking over, and set up the victory.

Crowd meter
One small group, made bold through booze, would not give up trying to start a Mexican Wave. This was despite the fact that the rest of the crowd was evidently disinterested. They gave a very long and very loud countdown. Then with a large "whey", they all stood up - only to be ignored by almost everyone. Appalled by the apathy of their fellow fans, they booed. This ritual was repeated on at least eight occasions. It never worked.

I think it is fair to say that the weird cardboard rattle/fan things being given out did not catch on. I saw no one using them. Despite extensive experimentation I was unable to get a good noise out of mine.

Shot of the day
Stuart Meaker is seriously quick. After seeing a bouncer fly past his head, Jos Butler was well aware of that, but that didn't stop him from playing a ridiculously impudent Dilscoop. I don't believe there is a more fun way to score four runs. Meaker, however, did get his revenge, having Buttler caught behind.

After their bowlers hit back following Somerset's belligerent start, Surrey's batsmen utterly failed to turn this game into a contest. Their line-up performed a sort of lacklustre hara-kiri through a mix of unconvincing slogs and foolish stumpings.

Marks out of 10
5. Surrey's chase never really looked on, and that took the spice out of the contest. There were, however, enough moments of quality to keep a fan interested. Forgetting the cricket, sitting at The Oval under a sunset with a beer in hand is a fine way to spend any summer evening.

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Andy Ryan is a keen cricketer, whose bowling has recently led to severe damage to nearby parked cars. He is one half of Reverse Swept Radio, a bi-weekly cricket podcast containing a mash of recent cricket, cricket history, book reviews, loud arguments and factual inaccuracies.

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