Clinical Surrey hammered Hampshire to hit the top of Vitality County Championship Division One.

Ollie Pope's eight catches in the match, equalling a club record set by Tony Lock in 1956, was at the heart of a victory by innings and 11 runs at the Kia Oval.

It took them back to the top of the table – sharing the lead with Essex on 71 points, 16 ahead of the rest – as they seek a third title in as many seasons.

Hampshire were dismissed for 151 on the opening day, after being inserted, three wickets apiece from Dan Worrall, Jordan Clark and Gus Atkinson finishing them off in 44.4 overs with Nick Gubbins’s 45 the top score.

Surrey’s reply was in trouble at 44 for four against an attack which also enjoyed the early-season assistance from a grassy pitch. But they were held up when skipper Rory Burns was joined by former opening partner Ryan Patel (41) in a fifth-wicket partnership worth 75. Burns eschewed some of the more adventurous strokes of his colleagues and underlined just what a valuable player he has been for his county for more than a decade in making his 25th first-class century and first since July 2022.

Dominic Sibley celebrating his century (Photo: Mark Sandom)
Dominic Sibley has been in fine form this season (Photo: Mark Sandom) (Mark Sandom)

His 113 over more than seven hours put the hosts into a strong position which was built upon by Jordan Clark’s thunderous 106 from 102 balls. Displaying a freedom which no one else emulated over the four days, the all-rounder hammered 12 fours and two sixes in an innings which took the match away from Hampshire completely, driving Surrey to 359 all out and three batting points in the process.

Hampshire had arrived at The Oval knowing their previous three visits since 2021 offered little encouragement – two innings defeats plus a nine-wicket reverse 12 months ago.

They limped to 31 for two by the end of day two and although rain delayed Sunday’s play until 4.30pm, the visitors reached the final day struggling at 116 for five.

Pope’s five catches in the first three days overshadowed his modest batting form and the England vice-captain relished the opportunities which kept coming, mostly from seamer Worrall. Ben Brown’s 45 provided the main obstacle but Hampshire were finished off by lunch for 197, the match concluded by Worrall’s five for 47 from 27.2 searching overs being concluded by Pope swooping to his right to catch Brad Wheal.

Surrey bowler Dan Worrall in action (Photo: Mark Sandom)
Surrey bowler Dan Worrall in action (Photo: Mark Sandom) (Mark Sandom)

Surrey now have a week off before hosting Warwickshire and then Worcestershire in successive weeks at The Oval, which will give time for young seamer Tom Lawes to recover from a bruised heel suffered in last week’s victory against Kent. They are due to be joined by Australian all-rounder Sean Abbott

By Richard Spiller