Whilst events of the past few days have been underlined by the history of the UK from its Protestant days, events at the Oval showed a better class of Pope!
The penultimate round of Championship matches pitches Surrey against Yorkshire and Hampshire against Kent as Surrey and Hampshire battle it out for the supreme prize of the summer. Eight points separate them so each of the last two matches are vital not least in terms of bonus points.
Surrey are inserted on a cloudy and cool September morning as Yorkshire feel this is their chance since their batting last week left a lot to be desired.
With Burns back in the Pavilion for 4, Amla for not very many it looked tense for Surrey but at #4 strides out Pope – these ramblings and the media as a whole has sung his praises before and today was to be another long singing session. Reaching 82/3 at lunch (should have been 82/2) from 4/1 suggested an even morning but it was clear that Pope was in no mood to hang back.
Dancing down the pitch, the occasional lofted drive but so many sublime strokes exquisitely positioned and timed meant no one was going to tame him.
This was an innings to savour.
Some support from Foakes but later from Clark saw the score progress from 136/5 to 246/5 at tea. Over 160 runs in the session with Pope on fire! He passed his fifty in the blink of an eye and before you knew it, he was into the 90s!
Very rarely – if at all – have I taken two consecutive photos of consecutive balls when a bat goes from 90 to 100; so here they are!
The pace continued after tea, Clark goes to a fine fifty but once he and Pope had added 142, Pope tried to cut and goes for 136…almost 50% of the runs scored! Clouds start to roll over but even with the lights on (Will clubs be able to afford them next season?), things got gloomier and play was abandoned at 292/6.
But the talk of the day was the sheer better class of Pope!