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    01 June 2023

    40 years ago – The Historic Day When Essex Bowled Surrey Out for Just 14 Runs

    The Astonishing Day When Surrey Was Bowled Out for 14

    It was a day that will forever be etched in the annals of cricket history. A day when the unthinkable happened, and one team’s fortunes took an astonishing turn for the worse. We’re talking about May 31st, 1983 – the day when Surrey was bowled out for just 14 runs by Essex at the County Ground.

    To put this into context, it remains to date as the lowest ever total by a first-class county team since before World War One. The previous record had stood for nearly half a century until that fateful Tuesday afternoon in Chelmsford.

    The Build-Up

    Prior to this match, Surrey had been struggling with form and consistency throughout most of their season campaign. Their opponents, on the other hand, were sitting pretty at second place in Division One and looking confident after winning four matches on-the-trot.

    After winning the toss, Essex started off strongly with Graham Gooch scoring yet another ton and putting up a respectable score of 287 all-out against a hapless-looking Surrey bowling attack. With plenty of time still left in the three-day game format though, no one could have predicted what would happen next.

    The Unthinkable Happens

    Surrey began their innings late on day one; they lost two early wickets but ended up finishing play at nine without further loss – giving hope that they might mount some sort of comeback challenge or take advantage if conditions improved overnight.

    But then disaster struck! On resumption play on Wednesday morning – within just minutes – everything went wrong for them as seven batsmen fell without scoring (i.e., ducks); Phillip Norbert returned incredible figures of six wickets for four runs in his 5.3 overs, while Neil Foster took the remaining four wickets to bowl them out for a paltry score of just 14.

    It was a truly astonishing turnaround that sent shockwaves through the cricketing world and left everyone scratching their heads as to how it happened! Was it bad luck? Misjudgment? Or simply an irresistible bowling display from Essex?

    The Aftermath

    The Surrey team were understandably distraught and demoralized after this unexpected debacle. Captain Roger Knight made what has been called “one of the greatest understatements of all time” by merely stating that they “didn’t bat awfully well.”

    As for Norbert Phillip’s performance, he would never repeat anything like those figures again in his first-class career; however, he did end up with seven more five-wicket hauls in later matches. Neil Foster too went on to have an illustrious cricketing career beyond that day.

    The Legacy

    Forty years have now passed since that unforgettable match at Chelmsford – but its legacy lives on still today! It serves as a reminder of how unpredictability is one of sport’s great charms and why we love watching these games so much!

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