Butcher makes his mark
In a year when Mark Ramprakash sped past the 2,000 run mark for the second successive season, it would be easy to forget the achievements of club captain Mark Butcher.
After an incredible second half of the season turnaround that saw Surrey finish fourth in the Championship however, there are plenty of positives that the former England batsman can take from his third year at the helm.
Butcher played a pivotal role in this year's campaign by scoring 752 runs at an average of 39.57, the highlights of which were 179 at Hove in May and 100 at the Rose Bowl in August. His achievement in turning the club's season around following a difficult start to the summer has also been outstanding. Despite the lack of silverware at the Oval this year, Butcher has hailed the season a success.
Speaking at an event to launch Surrey and Brit Insurance's school playground marking scheme, Butcher said: "Considering the start we had, I think the season stands as one that we can be proud of. With a few weeks left, it was still touch and go as to whether we would be caught in a relegation fight. The fact that the guys were able to pull together and produce some superb results was a great achievement in itself.
"The way we played against Hampshire and Lancashire towards the end of the summer really showed what we are capable of on our day. By finishing fourth in the Championship, we have every right to feel optimistic moving into 2008".
The next stage of the playground markings scheme was being showcased at Marden Lodge Primary School in Caterham. The project has been carried out throughout schools in Aldershot, Woking, Worplesdon, Dorking, Addlestone, Battersea, Putney, Merton, Croydon and Camberwell, with Brit contributing £3000 each year to each school.
With the brightly coloured markings and wall targets, the scheme provides a cost-effective way of transforming an outdoor space into a fun and vibrant environment fit for playing cricket, and a variety of other games. The markings will also encourage boys and girls to play and develop their skill levels during their break times, as well as help teachers deliver the school curriculum.
Butcher said: "People forget that this is where the love for cricket starts when you're a child. Not to mention that it encourages everyone to get out and have some fun which is what it's all about. I wish that I'd had facilities like this when I was growing up."