By Neil Fissler
Alan Butcher admits his abiding memory of Surrey’s Benson & Hedges Cup defeat to Essex was walking when he hadn’t touched the ball.
Surrey had lifted the Benson & Hedges Cup to win their first one-day trophy five years earlier but were about to see Essex win their first trophy.
Surrey already had a win over Essex in the zonal rounds but, says Butcher, the injury problems had started to pile up.
He says: “It had been a while since we had been in a final, our previous one was also in the Benson & Hedges in 1974 when we beat Leicestershire.
“But that final in 1979 started a run of four consecutive finals for us. I suppose we had more of a history than Essex because it was their first final.
“We had a few problems going into that because fast bowler Sylvester Clarke was injured and our other speedster, Robin Jackman, was pretty much on one leg with a calf injury.
“He was nowhere 100 per cent fit so our bowling resources were a bit down on what they had been earlier in the season.
“Hugh Wilson, who was only a lad at the time, came in and bowled really well. He took four wickets and nearly got himself on the England tour after impressing in that game.”
Essex, who were put into bat, raced to 290-6 thanks to 120 from Graham Gooch off 141 balls as well as 72 off 99 balls from Ken McEwan.
Surrey lost wickets at regular intervals and only a third wicket partnership of 93 between Geoff Howarth and Roger Knight offered any resistance.
Left-handed opener Butcher, father of future Surrey and England star Mark, scored 13 before walking to a catch behind, but says he realised within a couple of steps that he shouldn’t have walked as Surrey went down by 35 runs.
He recalls: “Graham Gooch played brilliantly, he smashed us around the park and so did Ken McEwan, who we probably dropped early on because we always did.
“He always nipped one between the keeper and first slip and then went onto score runs against us. They scored 290 which was a very good score in one-day cricket back then.
“We knew it was going to be a tough ask to get the runs to win and we lost a couple of early wickets.
“I got out caught behind by Neil Smith off John Lever. I started to walk but then realised that I hadn’t touched it.
“Lever had tucked me inside out with some deliveries that left me. There was a noise but as I started moving, I thought, ‘no I haven’t hit that’, it hit my back pad.
“But I was always going to be given out. So there wasn’t any point in stopping.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Micky Stewart: An opening batsman and the father of Alec, was an England amateur football international. Worked as manager of Surrey and England and was director of coaching for the MCC.
Monte Lynch: Hard-hitting West Indian-born batsman ran his own cricket equipment business but then went into coaching in England, Zimbabwe and his native Guyana.
Sylvester Clarke: Fearsome West Indies fast bowler. Carpenter by trade before he died of a heart attack in his native Barbados in December 1999, aged 44.
Hugh Wilson: Seamer who spent 30 years working as an insurance broker for Willis Ltd and also ran a salmon farm near Colchester, in Essex.
David Smith: England batsman who lives in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire. Has worked as an engineer and has been a director of D&D (Windle) Engineering.
Jack Richards: England wicket-keeper who has run a successful shipping company in Holland and is now the director of an international recruitment and crewing agency.
Grahame Clinton: Batsman who becoming master in charge of cricket at Colfe’s School, in Greenwich, London. His son Richard also played for Surrey.
Jack Hill: Was the Surrey scorer between 1971 and his retirement in 1983.
Geoff Howarth: New Zealand batsman who became Surrey’s first overseas captain. Coached New Zealand and now based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and coaches Haileybury School.
Robin Jackman: England seam bowler and useful batsman who was born in India. He can still be heard as a television commentator, mainly with Super-Sport in South Africa.
Roger Knight: Batsman who was headmaster at Cranleigh School and Worksop College prior to becoming MCC secretary and chief executive. On October 1 he became MCC president.
Graham Roope: England batsman who coached Woodhouse Grove School where he was also head groundsman when he died of a heart attack on a cricket tour in November 2006 aged 60. Also a brilliant slip fielder and occasional bowler.
Pat Pocock: The former England off-spinner lives in Surrey and for almost 40 years has run his own sporting events and corporate hospitality company.
Alan Butcher: Played one Test for England as an opening batsman. He went on to coach Essex and Surrey before becoming Zimbabwe’s head coach and is now based near Braintree, Essex.
Intikhab Alam: Leg-spinner and hard-hitting batsman who was Pakistan’s first ODI captain. He went into coaching, helping his country win the 1992 World Cup final against England in Melbourne and has assisted the ICC as a match referee.
Andrew Needham: Went on to coach at Watford Grammar School for Boys and for the last 25 years has been helping run the family hospitality and events business.
David Thomas: Left-arm pace bowler and aggressive lower order batsman. Worked in a sports hospitality business, and lived in High Wycombe until his death in July 2012, aged 53, following a long illness.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday October 16, 2015