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Stuart Surridge

Stuart Surridge

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Walter Stuart Surridge was a cricketer
Cricketer
A cricketer is a person who plays the sport of cricket. Official and long-established cricket publications prefer the traditional word "cricketer" over the rarely used term "cricket player"....

 who played for Surrey
Surrey County Cricket Club
Surrey County Cricket Club is one of the 18 professional county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Surrey. Its limited overs team is called the Surrey Lions...

. He was born at Herne Hill
Herne Hill
Herne Hill is located in the London Borough of Lambeth and the London Borough of Southwark in Greater London. There is a road of the same name which continues the A215 north of Norwood Road and was called Herne Hill Road.-History:...

 in south London, educated at Emanuel School
Emanuel School
Emanuel School is a co-educational independent school in Battersea, south-west London. The school was founded by Lady Dacre and Elizabeth I in 1594. Today it has some 710 pupils, aged between ten and eighteen.-History:...

, and died at Glossop
Glossop
Glossop is a market town within the Borough of High Peak in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the Glossop Brook, a tributary of the River Etherow, about east of the city of Manchester, west of the city of Sheffield. Glossop is situated near Derbyshire's county borders with Cheshire, Greater...

 in Derbyshire
Derbyshire
Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire. The northern part of Derbyshire overlaps with the Pennines, a famous chain of hills and mountains. The county contains within its boundary of approx...

.

Surridge was arguably the most successful cricket captain ever in the first-class game
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

 in England. Through relentlessly aggressive tactics, he turned an under-performing Surrey team into a record-breaking success in the County Championship
County Championship
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales...

 of the 1950s. The county won the title in each of the five years he was captain, from 1952 to 1956, and then won two more under Peter May to create a sequence that has not been equalled.

Surridge came from a famous family of cricket bat
Cricket bat
A cricket bat is a specialised piece of equipment used by batsmen in the sport of cricket to hit the ball. It is usually made of willow wood. Its use is first mentioned in 1624....

 makers. He was only a moderate cricketer: a lower order batsman whose principal talent was belligerence and a right-arm fast-medium bowler who was, by the standards of his time, somewhat expensive. He was 30 before he played first-class cricket, and was included in the Surrey side mainly when one of the team's England
English cricket team
The England and Wales cricket team is a cricket team which represents England and Wales. Until 1992 it also represented Scotland. Since 1 January 1997 it has been governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board , having been previously governed by Marylebone Cricket Club from 1903 until the end...

 stars was playing Test cricket
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

, which was fairly frequently.

Surrey's team in the early 1950s was overloaded with bowling talent. Alec Bedser
Alec Bedser
Sir Alec Victor Bedser, CBE was a professional English cricketer. He was the chairman of selectors for the English national cricket team, and the president of Surrey County Cricket Club...

 was the main strike bowler for England for 10 seasons after the Second World War; Jim Laker
Jim Laker
James "Jim" Charles Laker was a cricketer who played for England in the 1950s, known for "Laker's match" in 1956 at Old Trafford, when he took nineteen wickets in England's victory against Australia...

 was reckoned by most to be the best off spin
Off spin
Off spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket which is bowled by an off spinner, a right-handed spin bowler who uses his or her fingers and/or wrist to spin the ball from a right-handed batsman's off side to the leg side...

 bowler in England; Tony Lock
Tony Lock
Graham Anthony Richard Lock was an English cricketer, who played primarily as a left-arm spinner. He played in forty nine Tests for England taking 174 wickets at 25.58 each.-Life and career:...

 was an aggressive slow left-arm bowler; and Peter Loader
Peter Loader
Peter James Loader was an English cricketer and umpire, who played thirteen Test matches for England. He played for Surrey and Beddington Cricket Club. A whippet-thin fast bowler with a wide range of pace and a nasty bouncer, he took the first post-war Test hat-trick as part of his 6 for 36...

, though eclipsed in Test terms by Brian Statham
Brian Statham
John Brian "George" Statham, CBE was one of the leading English fast bowlers in 20th-century English cricket. Initially a bowler of a brisk fast-medium pace, Statham was able to remodel his action to generate enough speed to become genuinely fast...

 and Fred Trueman
Fred Trueman
Frederick Sewards Trueman OBE was an English cricketer, generally acknowledged as one of the greatest fast bowlers in history. A bowler of genuinely fast pace who was widely known as Fiery Fred, Trueman played first-class cricket for Yorkshire County Cricket Club from 1949 until he retired in 1968...

, was a fast bowler of menace. Batting resources were thinner, but in Peter May Surrey had the most correct and fluent right-hand batsman to have emerged since the war.

Yet until Surridge became captain, a shared Championship in 1950 (with Lancashire
Lancashire County Cricket Club
Lancashire County Cricket Club represents the historic county of Lancashire in cricket's County Championship. The club was founded in 1864 as a successor to Manchester Cricket Club and has played at Old Trafford since then...

) was the only success Surrey had had since before the First World War.

Surridge's methods were simple. He determined that bowlers and catches won matches, and he aimed to win as many matches as he could. He himself was a fearless fielder close to the wicket, and others followed his example.

In his five years as captain, only in 1953 did Surrey win less than half their matches; in 1955, the county won 23 out of 28 games, losing the other five and going through the whole season without a single draw. His tactics were sometimes ruthless. In one match against a weak Worcestershire
Worcestershire County Cricket Club
Worcestershire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Worcestershire...

, having dismissed his opponents for a total of 25 runs, Surridge declared the Surrey innings closed at just 92 for three wickets, and bowled Worcestershire out again for 40 to win by an innings and 27 runs. The weather forecast had not been good, he said. Even when Surrey's contingent of England cricketers was away on Test duty, Surridge conjured outstanding performances from their replacements.

The difference Surridge made to a talented collection of individuals was recognised when he was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1953, but few other honours came his way, other than being chosen as President of Surrey in 1981 (his widow, Betty, was President in 1997). In retirement after 1956, he served on Surrey committees and ran his bat-making business, and was visiting his factory when he collapsed and died, aged 74. His son, also called Stuart, played once for Surrey in 1978.

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