BY MARCUS HOOK
Surrey’s Jordan Clark is glad to be showing off his skills at long last, having missed much of the early part of this season due to injury.
The 28-year-old, who swapped Old Trafford for South London over the winter, added that one of the reasons behind his move was the lure of playing at the Oval, where he hit a career best 140 two years ago.
Averaging a shade under thirty with the bat and a respectable 34.50 with the ball, it’s not difficult to see why Surrey came in with a three-year offer towards the end of last season.
“The lads have been really welcoming, so it’s been quite easy to fit in,” said Clark.
“When I was at Lancashire, I always used to love playing at the Oval. It’s always been my favourite place to play, so it was really nice to be out there this week.
“It was a bit more special getting my first wicket at the Oval for Surrey. I really enjoyed that, and the ball was coming out well.
“I’ve had a few little niggles recently – in my knee and tendonitis in my elbow, which required a few cortisone injections. But that’s what happens in sport. I’m back fighting fit, so hopefully I can put in a few performances.”
Clark dropped down the pecking order while sidelined.
“That happens with a really talented and big squad,” he said. “I’ll try to do all I can to remain fit and keep my skill levels as high as possible. Just give it my all really.
“It’s always important to put in performances, it meant a lot for me against Warwickshire to take a bit of responsibility and help the team.”
Surrey picked up a first win of the County Championship season on Wednesday with s 74-run win over Warwickshire.
Clark agreed a poor opening day meant the Oval outfit had to dig deep against a resourceful Bears’ side.
“As a team, we felt we were 60 to 70 runs short in our first innings, but it was good that we pulled it back with the ball – from 89-1 at the start of day two to bowl them out for 230.
“We talked about bowling in partnerships – the need to build pressure. It showed if you bowl as a unit you get the rewards. It’s just a case of being disciplined and not trying to search for wickets.
“Rikki Clarke only picked up one wicket in the first innings, but to only go for 33 off 19 overs was a brilliant effort.
“The conditions were pretty consistent in terms of swing, which made it easier to keep your disciplines when you were bowling. I think knowing the conditions and how it’s going to play helps you come up with a plan for the opposition.”
Surrey made amends with the bat by following up their first innings 194 with a total of 325, built on the foundation laid by Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns’ 77-run opening stand.
Clark said: “That sort of start gives you momentum, and they really put the pressure back on Warwickshire.
“The key thing was batting partnerships, to bat long and to give ourselves a target to bowl at.
“We knew if we batted well second innings, and we had a total, it would be a difficult chase on that wicket, especially with our bowlers.
“I can’t believe I’m batting at nine, but obviously that means we bat right down. With Gareth Batty at number 11, he’s no mug. He can do a job at eight, so I was definitely backing our batters as much as I was backing our bowlers.”
The former Lancashire man believes Surrey are a far better team than the Division One table suggests, especially after also coming close to beating Kent at Beckenham and being denied by the weather against Yorkshire at Guildford.
“You can always wonder about the ifs and buts, but what’s happened has happened – it’s a case of move on to the next game,” said Clark.
“There’s still plenty of time and hopefully with the confidence we can take from the last two games we can go on a bit of a winning streak.”