2018: A Season in PicturesMartin Chandler |
Author: Clark, Emily, and Pope, Joel
Publisher: Surrey CCC
Rating: 3 stars
It seems like a long time ago that Surrey celebrated winning the 2018 County Championship, particularly no doubt for Brown Caps fans as, a season on, they are rather closer to the bottom of the 2019 table than the top.
But a title is always worth a celebration, and last summer the Surrey club produced two publications to celebrate its first championship in a number of years. The gap wasn’t quite in the same league as Lancashire’s 77 years of hurt between 1934 and 2011, but 2002 is still a while ago.
The ‘other’ book is by commentator Mark Church and is a diary of the summer. This one, as the title suggests, is therefore designed to complement that diary, which is titled Typical Surrey. This one is a landscape booklet which has two pages of photographs for each of the fourteen matches. One of those pages contains a single large image, and the other a number of smaller ones. There is a brief introduction, but that apart no significant narrative content.
In this day and age the quality of the finished product is a given, and the photographers are clearly highly skilled. Surrey supporters will, naturally, enjoy this souvenir thoroughly, but what about the rest of us?
There is one factor above all others that struck me as I went through the images. I suppose the high definition that cameras can achieve now is part of the reason, but some of the Surrey side look incredibly young. On his international debut last summer Sam Curran looked barely old enough to have left school. In 2018: A Season in Pictures he looks, alongside Olly Pope, like a seasoned professional.
Ryan Patel, despite the facial hair, didn’t appear much older and doubtless, had he been a bit less camera shy, neither would Will Jacks. Even the comparative veteran, Kolpak signing Morne Morkel, looked young and fit. The older reader need not despair completely however. Rikki Clarke managed 500 runs and 47 wickets over the season, but still had the decency to look every bit the 37 year old he is.
My one disappointment with the book comes from the one Surrey game from last summer that I vividly recall following. It was the Oval game against Lancashire and the defeat which finally made me realise that the Red Rose would be spending 2019 in Division two. Lancashire began the last day against Surrey needing 96 more runs to win with five wickets to fall. Three wickets fell quickly, but the tail wagged and with seven more wanted it looked like a much needed win was on the cards, until Jacks held what by all accounts was a stunning catch. Sadly the Surrey photographer did not capture that moment.
A favourite image? I rather like the one on page 26 of Dean Elgar and Rory Burns, the latter a man whose technique horrified me when first I saw it, but in whom I find I have increasing confidence as his Test appearances accrue. In the main 2018: A Season in Pictures is going to appeal to Surrey supporters, but it is nonetheless a publication that neutrals will find of interest, although a price tag of £20 does seem a little on the high side