Surrey’s Twenty20 campaign has been a bit of a shambles this season and a comedown for a county that won the inaugural tournament in 2003 and were beaten finalists the following year – and the faithful in the pavilion and the not-so-cheap-seats are beginning to grumble and indulge in gallows humour.
But, leaving aside a confused selection policy and an inability to settle on a convincing batting order, there is still plenty of entertainment to be had at the Oval. While the Health and Safety Executive continue to raise concerns about the gas holders just outside the perimeter of the ground, asking for the Local Government Secretary to call in their redevelopment plans, last night’s match against Hampshire proved there are dangers even closer to home.
Chris Schofield, back in the Surrey side after injury, didn’t get a chance to bat and was so late in being called into the attack by stand-in captain Mark Ramprakash that most spectators thought he must have packed his bags and gone home in a huff, but he threatened to turn a game that was slipping away from the hosts in his first over, removing Michael Carberry (three fifties and a 45 in his last four Twenty20 appearances) and Nic Pothas in his first few deliveries.
Inbetween, though, Carberry smote him for a huge six down towards the members’ pavilion over long-off, the ball crashing on the full into the sightscreen. To the surprise of those sitting in the six rows below and in front of it, it dislodged one of the long slats of which the screen is constituted and it fell, with a loud clang, onto the spectators beneath, leaving one bleeding from the lip.
Stewards worked swiftly to usher the man away from the scene, hoping perhaps that a nice cup of tea and a sit down in a less hazardous area might dissuade him from making a call to injury-lawyers-are-us.com or one of their competitors.