Surrey's Scarborough win looks just champion

Rory Burns plays the cut Getty Images

Surrey 267 (Pope 69, Burns 59, Coad 5-53, Bresnan 3-77) and 229 for 3 (Burns 97, Borthwick 62) beat Yorkshire 342 (Tattersall 70, Ballance 54; Dernbach 4-104) and 152 (Morkel 5-39, Dernbach 3-34) by 7 wickets

The fifth ball of the 47th over of Surrey's second innings in this game was bowled by Tim Bresnan. It was on a good length and pitched just outside off stump. Scott Borthwick pushed forward to it but the ball caught the edge and landed well in front of the slips. It then shot along the ground between Harry Brook and Adam Lyth and banged into the boundary fence.

Surrey moved to 159 for 2, within 69 runs shy of their target. Bresnan stood for a protracted period with hands on hips. Coaches can have all the team talks they desire but there are still moments when cricketers reconcile themselves to the reality of imminent defeat.

But Yorkshire's players and coaches may also have to reconcile themselves to the wider consequences of this seven-wicket defeat. Lancashire's draw at Old Trafford means that Yorkshire will go into next month's Roses match in one of the First Division's relegation positions, three points shy of their keenest rivals and four behind Hampshire. Andrew Gale is steeling himself for a second successive relegation battle.

For Surrey, the situation is very different. Whereas Yorkshire looked flaky and vulnerable in this match, even after gaining a 75-run first innings lead, Surrey looked like a team who have won their last four Championship matches and are capable of winning their next four. Their supporters will note a remarkable statistic: the champions in the last five seasons have all won at Scarborough, where Yorkshire only play twice a season.

But omens are for people who believe in good fortune. Champions make their own luck - just as Surrey did on Wednesday afternoon when their bowlers set up the batsmen's rather straightforward task on the final morning.

By lunchtime the deficit had been reduced to 39 and the cricket in the early afternoon bore the same resemblance to a genuine contest as an end-of-term school assembly to the business of education.

It was also noted that Surrey's four most recent successful run chases away from home have all been achieved on outgrounds. Now their supporters can add Scarborough to Colchester, Colwyn Bay and Beckenham; and they will remember this week at North Marine Road when winter winds strike Dorking and Banstead. Shadows sharp on the parched field; rooftops dazzling with reflected sunlight; eyes shaded and hats almost compulsory; the stillness of a midsummer morning.

Nothing, not even the cricketers, moved with particular haste. For the first hour or so of the day, though, Yorkshire harboured hopes of surprising the leaders. The first two overs were maidens and then Burns took ten runs off four balls from Jack Brooks, cutting him adroitly backward of square and clipping him through midwicket.

At breakfast some Yorkshire spectators had hoped they might be put out of their misery but when cricket matters so much to you, pessimism is a protection. When Stoneman, whose batting even on Wednesday evening, had seemed more laboured than that of his captain, was leg before making to work Coad to leg, they wondered if they were about to see a tale for the grandchildren. They were not. Burns batted with the dreamy fluency of a man in one of his life's glad seasons and was three short of a century when he cut a high, wide ball from Bresnan straight to Alex Lees at deep point. Perhaps the ball stuck in the pitch a shade. Burns left the crease with a disgusted punch into the dry, hot air. The Surrey skipper is now the leading scorer in Division One but he knows it is hundreds that get you noticed by selectors.

Surrey 4th innings Partnerships

1st99MD StonemanRJ Burns
2nd47SG BorthwickRJ Burns
3rd74SG BorthwickRS Patel
4th9TB de BruynRS Patel