Preview: Surrey v Warwickshire, Specsavers County Championship

Director of cricket Dougie Brown will call for more of the same from his bowlers when Warwickshire's Specsavers County Championship programme takes them to Surrey on Saturday.

The elegant Woodbridge Road ground in Guildford will host the Division One game, the fifth time the Bears have played championship cricket there.

And since July 17, 1992, when Andy Moles faced the first ball from Martin Bicknell in Warwickshire's first first-class visit to the venue, batsmen have generally held sway.

On a square on which bowlers invariably find the going hard, several Bears batsmen have enjoyed themselves over the years. Andy Moles ground out an unbeaten 203 in 1994, Ian Bell scored 240 for once out in the match in 2004 and Varun Chopra and Keith Barker each scored centuries as the team piled up 631 for nine last time they were there, in 2013.

So Brown, who made his championship debut for Warwickshire at Guildford in that 1994 game (and scored a half-century from number ten in his first innings) knows that wickets will have to be hard-earned.

But he is happy that his bowling attack can rise to the challenge after their strong performance, led by Rikki Clarke and Boyd Rankin, at home to Nottinghamshire earlier this week.

"Guildford, as a venue, generally makes for good cricket," Brown said. "We had an excellent game down there three years ago we which would probably have won if we hadn't lost a crucial session to the weather.

"It is a lovely ground and normally quite a flat pitch on which you have to bowl well as a team to get 20 wickets. But we are bowling well at the moment. I was really pleased with the way the guys bowled against Nottinghamshire to get us into a winning position that sadly we couldn't push through because we lost the last day to rain.

"Surrey have tended to go down the spin route at The Oval this season where the pitches have tended to favour the spinners. I doubt whether the Guildford pitch will do that I doubt but we'll see.

"The weather is set fair so it should be a really good game. They had a good win against Nottinghamshire in their last game and did not play in the last round of games so will be in good spirit, but so we are we because we are playing strong championship cricket. "We will be looking to get fast out of the locks, get ahead of the game and then stay there."

Warwickshire Squad

  • Ian Bell (Captain)
  • Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Varun Chopra
  • Keith Barker
  • Rikki Clarke
  • Sam Hain
  • Oliver Hannon-Dalby
  • George Panayi
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Josh Poysden
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Jonathan Trott
  • Andy Umeed

Brian Halford

Brian is Warwickshire's Club Journalist and has reported on the Bears since 2000.