4 September 2008
ALAN BUTCHER'S VIEW
WITH THE Championship match against Lancashire at Blackpool being completely washed out and then having to bat second under floodlights against Kent in the Pro40, it's been a particularly frustrating week for everyone at Surrey.
The most annoying thing is that it hardly rained at all while we were in Blackpool, but the pitch was a sea of mud and when we knew as soon as we got there that there was very little prospect of play. With Old Trafford already having been dug up for the season there was nowhere else for us to play the game.
Of course the smaller grounds still have a place in cricket but they do need to be adequate. Perhaps Blackpool was adequate but with so much rain falling in the ten days before the match you would think that there should be alternative arrangements made.
The result up there (or lack of one) had as much effect on Lancashire as us as they've now slipped out of the title race. As I said, it's frustrating for everyone.
Having said that, we are in the position we are in because of how we have played, not because of the weather. We may have had a few matches disrupted by the conditions but so has everybody else so I won't be using that as an excuse at all. We've got to hold our hands up and admit where we've been ppor.
We have dropped 43 catches in the championship this season and that is not acceptable. Had we taken a few of those we would have certainly picked up a few more points. We should have beaten Hampshire, we should have beaten Kent and we should not have lost at Somerset. And none of those matches had anything to do with rain.
However, we are still in there fighting and we've got three games left to rescue our season, starting this week at Kent. It may look like a big gap to bridge but it is still very possible.
In the Pro40, the loss to Kent was disappointing as we've been on a bit of a run of late. It was always an outside shot to get into the top two but I had been pleased with our recent performances until Tuesday night.
While we may not have played well, I think floodlit games in this country just won't be fair unless they improve the quality of the lighting. We have played three floodlit games on TV this season. We have lost all three and batted second each time, and I don't think that is a co-incidence.
The lights were appalling on Tuesday and it was a massive factor. It means far too much rests on the toss in these games, but you can't knock Kent - we would have done exactly the same as them in their situation.
Apparently we might get some permanent floodlights installed for next season. That's great as long as they are of good enough quality, otherwise it just makes these games too much of a lottery.
Having said that, Kent's batsmen did well. It was a good pitch and once they got in it was hard to get them out. Hopefully our bowlers will learn from the experience though.
As for our side, Matt Spriegel did well again. I'm pleased with the way he has come on this season. He's one of a few players who have got something to build on for next year.
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