As with Championship cricket, Surrey have been very infrequent visitors to Scarborough – they have played in only six List A matches there – the most recent being 14 years ago – and Paul Dyson look back at a game which had a close finish.

July 5, 1981 at Scarborough: Surrey 243-3 in 40 overs (GS Clinton 105*, MA Lynch 70); Yorkshire 228 in 39.3 overs (DL Bairstow 78, PI Pocock 3-22) Surrey won by 15 runs.

This game was in the 13th season of the John Player League – a 40-over competition in which all of the matches were played on Sunday afternoons and which both of these counties had yet to win. In the previous campaign Yorkshire had finished in 14th place and Surrey fifth. The 1981 season started very wet and, prior to this match, three of Yorkshire’s first seven games had ended as ‘no results’, the remaining four consisting of two wins and two defeats. Surrey, meanwhile had played only five matches and they had two wins, one defeat and two further games rained-off.

With Geoff Boycott involved in the Lord’s Test against Australia and Chris Old injured, Yorkshire fielded a relatively inexperienced team, especially in bowling. With none of the five main bowlers having yet received their county caps – only two were to do so – the attack was up against it from the start, skipper David Bairstow having won the toss and deciding to field. Although there was an early wicket for Alan Ramage and Surrey captain Roger Knight made a low score, left-handed opener Grahame Clinton and Guyana-born Monte Lynch then shared a stand of 116 in 17 overs, the pair scoring seven sixes and 15 fours between them. Lynch was caught off the bowling of Simon Dennis for a rapid 70 and Pakistani Intikhab Alam got in on the act to make a quick-fire 33 not out, Clinton remaining 105 not out at the conclusion of the 40th over, Surrey having made a challenging 243 for three. Yorkshire used six bowlers but only two went for fewer than six an over – Simon Dennis, who took one for 30, and Mark Johnson.

Yorkshire had an uphill task but got off to a good start with John Hampshire and Bill Athey making 66 together for the first wicket in 15 overs but five wickets then fell for 36 runs, three of these falling to the off-spin of Pat Pocock. It was then that Bairstow took the bull by the horns, launched a fierce assault and his side kept up with the clock. Martyn Moxon, batting at number eight in what was only his fifth List A game, gave valuable support in a stand of 69, as did Johnson, but three run-outs stemmed the tide as did the dismissal of Bairstow for 78, which included two sixes and eight fours. His innings remains the highest for Yorkshire against Surrey at Scarborough. Gradually the run-rate became less and less manageable, three wickets fell for six runs and when the final wicket went down Yorkshire were 15 runs adrift even though they had batted through to the third ball of the final over. With excellent figures of 8-2-22-3, Pocock was easily Surrey’s most successful bowler.

By the end of the season both counties had finished in seventh place – a drop of two places for Surrey but a rise of seven for Yorkshire.

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